Let’s face it – waking up every morning to click on the Zoom icon and listen to hours of lectures from your bedroom is not the ideal learning environment. As humans, we are made to interact with others face to face, and looking at our peers (or black squares with their names) through our computer screens just isn’t the same. And yet, we are blessed to be able to pursue higher education and need to show ourselves some love and grace along the way. In the wise words of Hannah Montana, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock!” Today, at almost the halfway point of the fall semester, I’m sharing the practices and daily habits that will help you take care of yourself while maximizing your Zoom U experience. 

1. Plan your weekends ahead of time.  

Add fun activities or adventures to your calendar early in the week so you have something to look forward to after a long week filled with lots of screen time! I’ve been trying to schedule plans with friends or family on the weekends to give myself a much-deserved break from homework/studying. Even during weeks when I have a heavy workload, I’ve gotten better about intentionally planning time to step away from my computer and do something that will bring me joy. 

2. Spend time in nature! 

This point might give you some inspo for #1 😉 But seriously, the earth and the sun have SO many healing properties. I’ve found going on bike rides, walks, and spending time at the beach have been most helpful in helping me clear my mind, breathe in the fresh air, get vitamin D from the sun (which is known to support your immune system), and feel deep gratitude for the beautiful planet God created for us to live on. One great place to start is www.alltrails.com if you’re looking for good hiking spots near you! And if you can take your classes outside, I totally recommend it. Just make sure you charge your computer the night before! 

3. Send relevant articles or social media posts to your professors to show them you were thinking of them and that you are engaged in the course.

This is a great way to stand out, especially in larger classes. This advice holds true even when classes are in person, but it’s a great way to connect with those you may never meet face-to-face. It signals that you care about the class and shows the professor where your interests lie. For example, while scrolling on Tik Tok a few weeks ago, I watched this video that I felt was relevant to the marketing course I am a Teaching Assistant for this semester. I sent it along to the professors I work with, and they were so grateful to learn for the exposure to a very current example! We then exchanged a few emails back and forth about why Charli has gotten so popular among teenagers and why Dunkin’ chose to partner with her, which was a great learning opportunity for us all. 

4. Be patient with yourself!

No matter what you are going through right now, you should be proud of yourself for being right here in this moment. We’re each facing our own challenges and internal struggles during these crazy, unprecedented times. The fact that you woke up this morning is super impressive, and I am happy you are here. Go look at yourself in the mirror and say “I am proud of myself & I love myself” every day until you believe it. The biggest thing I turn to for emotional support is essential oils from Young Living. On days when I am feeling out of it or stressed, I turn to specific oils to promote feelings of relaxation. If this sounds like something that might help you, I’m ya girl! Send me a DM on insta @essentiallybrie so we can chat. 

5. Check in on your friends. 

As I said earlier, these times can be hard for everyone. Don’t be afraid to send those “Hey how are you doing, no really?” or “Can we FaceTime?” texts to those in your circle. I promise they go a long way, whether you’re on the same campus or living states away. 

6. Get yo body moving! 

Exercise is so important. I recently picked up bike riding as an effective and fun way to step away from my computer and get moving. Most days I sit at my desk for more than 8 hours, which usually means I don’t get many steps in throughout the day (who’s with me on that?! 😅). For the second half of the semester, I decided I want to be more mindful about moving my body each day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

7. Eat whole foods. 

I’m a big believer in “Good in, Good out”, which most definitely applies to what we eat in a day. Whole foods are foods that have not been processed (aka put in a bag, box, or can), and they are what our bodies need to thrive. Eating junk food can weaken our immune systems, whereas organic fruits and veggies fuel our bodies and keep us feeling energized and strong. Don’t get me wrong… I love ice cream just as much as the next gal and I do enjoy it relatively often, but I also make the conscious choice to have nutrient dense meals as often as possible. I usually have fruits for breakfast and veggies incorporated into my lunch and/or dinner. If you’re looking for some inspo, Pinterest is a great place to poke around for recipes! 

8. Journal about the things you’re grateful for each day.

“Begin each day with a grateful heart” is one of those quotes I try to live by. I keep a notebook and pen right next to my bed so I can journal about my day, my goals, and what I’m grateful for when I wake up or go to bed. Journaling is a great way to pause and look inside. Some days I only write a short list of what I’m grateful for, while on others I write several pages about my thoughts or my dreams. Whatever amount of time you can spend is perfect!

I hope these tips & tricks will help you make the most of the rest of your semester at Zoom University!  Let’s allll send a prayer that school won’t look like this much longer and we can be back to collaborating, laughing, and learning together in person soon. 🙏🏼 

Wishing you much health & happiness! Let’s be friends on insta @essentiallybrie! 

Saturday adventure to vineyards on the North Fork with one of my best friends!

Yummy tropical smoothie bowl I made for brunch last week

Solo beach trip, chillin on the jetty