The last 18 months have been some of humanity’s most difficult in the past century. In more ways than one, we’ve all been severely and irreversibly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of us may have lost opportunities, some of may have contracted the virus, and some of us may have even lost loved ones. It’s been a truly awful and gut-wrenching period in our history – one that we will never forget. So as you embark on your university journey or come back to LSE for a new academic year, it’s vital you remember to take care of yourself and your physical and mental well-being. If you are not of sound body and mind, then nothing else can follow.
Even in the best of times, being a university student can be a hard and stressful experience. So for those of you studying during the pandemic, it’s sometimes tough to imagine how much more strenuous it has been and can be. That’s why it’s important to have balance in your life and remember to do things that will help you get through these difficult times.
For me, that’s playing video games to help me relax. I had always been a gamer when I was a kid, but I largely stopped laying when I went to university in 2013. However, the pandemic made me realize that I missed playing and that it had been a stress reliever for me when I was younger, so I went out and purchased a PlayStation a few months ago. Since then, I carve out some time most days to relax and game, on my own or with some friends. It’s a nice way to have some “me time” while I forget all the other things I have going on in life and try to relax during the day.
Having this time to relax, refresh, and recharge is so important while you’re a student. I think we all suffer from this notion that we constantly have to be working or studying or doing something “productive” with our time. But relaxing is productive. It is difficult to imagine sustaining work and studying if you don’t have time for yourself to relax and do things separate from those two dominating spheres. But even more fundamentally than that, you don’t always need to be productive anyway. There is something to be said for just lounging around doing whatever makes you happy. It provides balance, perspective, and the ability to focus when you need to. Despite all the progress we’ve made on understanding the importance of mental health in recent years, I think this point is still undervalued in the conversation.
If you take only one thing away from this post, it’s this: your health and your life are your top priorities. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and make sure you are healthy. None of this is enjoyable otherwise.