5 Scientifically-Proven Ways to Lift Student's Lockdown MoodAugust 25, 2021

Lockdown mood was an issue until the roller-coaster of emotion brought by events these past weeks. Jessica Fox (finally) winning an Olympic gold medal. The Matildas falling short. And Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitting that Australia can't welcome too many Afghan refugees. The last one angered your father, who opined that so much money (and lots of soldiers) were used on building a democratic society (in Afghanistan). For nothing. You were about to cite "A Thousand Splendid Suns", where (author) Khaled Hosseini would illustrate that the problems in Afghanistan, the military unable to defend the country among them, would be more complicated than the images shown by local news. Did the West let Afghanistan down? It was a question that you wanted to ask your father (and willing to argue), but you became forgetful, confused and a bit cranky lately. Are there some scientifically proven ways to lift lockdown mood? Yes.

Your lockdown mood changed for the worse after recalling your admissions essay. It was an analysis of Italo Calvino's "Our Ancestors" trilogy, where the Italian writer and journalist analysed what it meant to be free. It seemed strange that he would use the Middle Age as a setting, when Italy was nonexistent, and how a nobleman relished his freedom after spending some days in the trees (and then his entire adult life). It made you wondered if walking on a beach, without the usual crowd, would be called freedom. It could apply to a weekend, if not a week, in the Outback, but some might find it offensive. Your tutor was impressed, and you felt that you haven't written a paper like that. Were you overthinking? Maybe. You read Neil Gaiman's "Coraline", one of your favourite books, one more time. It made you recall your visit to Loch Lomond not so long ago - surreal yet too good to be true. Your brother suggested reading short stories, which won't require a day. It surprised your coursemates. (What could you learn from a three-page, Anton Chekhov short story?) You surprised yourself when one author assured budding writers (and university students) not to worry too much. Another writer discusses draft zero, which offers complete freedom from finesse. (You got it right away.) And one more writer dared would-be authors (and college essay writers) about taking risks. You did take a risk on your health (by eating too many slices of pizza and drinking too many cans of soda). Your mother didn't like it, but you assured her that the end of the term was near. All of these didn't improve your lockdown mood, though. There's a lot of bad stuff about Covid, but your tutor pointed out that it gave a sense of community. It didn't cheer you up.

Here Are Some Decisions on What You're About to Do Now

Move (or force yourself to move). It took you almost a year to figure out that it would be normal to feel unmotivated about exercising. It's a good thing that spring is around the corner, so walk. You must push yourself, walking for an hour or two, which would do wonders on you. (Try to write the draft of your next assignment afterward.) Motivation is a mindset.

Have a chat. You're getting tired of Zoom parties, but you can't give it up. If you become too isolated, it would affect your mood. Your way of thinking should be next. The implications of the Taliban's return to power may be too heavy (for a conversation), so focus on trivial things instead. One of your coursemates confessed that she brought some ridiculous things during the pandemic. You were hesitant to admit the same thing until you recalled a (short story) writer's advice (to take risks). You're trying to choose your words (at the moment).

If every day feels the same, then make them different. Your parents encouraged you to stick to a routine, but it couldn't help you finish your essays ahead of their deadline. The pandemic would reinforce the need to follow a routine, but you need motivation. A few changes should solve the problem. For instance, read another book. (But not a novel of six hundred pages or more.) Message an old friend, whom you haven't heard for a long while. And you might try to rearrange your room. It could give you a new perspective, which might be useful for your next assignment.

Lift your ( lockdown ) mood with small pleasure. Napping? Yes, but don't do it often. Indulging in your hobby? Of course. But allot an hour or two to it. Watch a beloved movie? Do it. Keep in mind that pleasure is an operative word. In other words, don't do such things to excite you. It might disrupt your focus on the coursework.

Take control of what you can. The pandemic frustrates you, as the uncertainty and stress result in your lack of control over many aspects of your life. It may be far from perfect, but it doesn't mean that you can't do your tasks. Don't be too hard on yourself. Be forgiving (on yourself). Accept that the pandemic might last longer than you think.

Introducing Variety

There are so many things to do, which could lift up your lockdown mood. It can be samba, also solo spot volta, both of which show that creativity would be required. It should create a positive impact. (The more, the better.) As for topics of conversation, some might be planned out; if it's Kevin Rudd (and his part on the West's miscalculation of what happened in Afghanistan), then you might want to ask your coursemates about a bare-bones home gym instead. How about walking your pet cat in the front garden? They might be intrigued by this daily ritual. Is a bath the best part of your day? Tell them. The list goes on (and on).

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