Wooden clock sitting next to a spiral calendar with colorful tacs.

If you’re feeling stuck in a pandemic slump, you’re not alone. 2020 has been a rough year, and it can be hard to break away from the monotony of all things virtual. Here are 5 tips you can try to find things to look forward to.

1: Create small-scale special occasions

If you feel like the pandemic has warped your sense of time, you’re not alone. Without our typical built-in structure, many of us have found ourselves wandering away from our usual routines. While this can give a sense of freedom, it can also make the days blur together. One way to practice mindfulness and break up the time warp is to create special occasions that you can look forward to throughout the week. For instance, Monday may be the day you go out for a coffee before class or Friday may be the day you FaceTime and catch up with friends. Setting a routine and allowing yourself to savor moments can help you look forward to the days ahead and give you peace of mind that good things are coming.

2: Use your calendar

Keep track of fun things that may be coming up. It could be as simple as a movie or book release, a live stream of your favorite artist or a weekly meetup with friends. Find things that you are excited about, and add them to your calendar or planner. This is a great way of reminding ourselves of all the little things we have to look forward to.

3: Plan for something in the future

While it’s hard to make plans when things feel uncertain, it can be helpful to have something to look forward to down the line. It may be helpful now to think about what you want to do when the pandemic is over. Do you want to have a reunion with friends or family you’ve missed? Do you want to take a trip? Think about something that you want to do and plan for it in the future. For instance, you may look into places you want to visit, create a list of people you want to see or think of the activities you want to cross off your bucket list. Whatever you want to do, it’s never too early to plan or dream about what it will be like when that moment comes. 

4: Send snail mail

Anyone else get excited when they receive something in the mail? Sending (and receiving) mail can be a great way to connect with friends and family, especially when you’re feeling “Zoomed out”. Consider exchanging letters, books, care packages or photos with your loved ones. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Encourage your friends and family to keep the letter chain going so you all have something to look forward into the future.

5: Treat your weekends like weekends

Between online classes and online events, it may start to feel like the week never ends. If possible, take a mental break and spend at least one day away from your desk on the weekends. It could be for a few hours or the whole day. Either way, it’s important to make time to really enjoy yourself. Consider going for a hike, visiting a museum, watching your favorite movie, cooking a new recipe or making time for your hobbies. Choose something that brings you joy or makes you feel energized. You’ll be happy you did.

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