Studying abroad was a dream I had for a long time, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to make that happen despite the difficult circumstances surrounding the pandemic. I am someone for whom change and uncertainty has always been especially stressful, and I knew that I would face this challenge while studying abroad. These expected changes coupled with the constant uncertainty surrounding coronavirus have made this albeit rewarding experience one of the most stressful times of my life. Having said that, I have found some ways to destress that have helped me greatly.
1. Taking Walks and Spending time Outside
One of the great things about Rennes is its many parks! I have been enjoying these parks ever since my arrival. Right now, parks are especially enjoyable because France is in a partial lockdown and many things are closed. Despite that, parks are open, and I have been visiting different parks when I have some free time. Taking walks and spending time in nature has been good for my physical and mental health. Because of all the walking, I’ve actually been more physically active here than I sometimes was at home! Plus, spending time in nature always helps me feel calm and at peace.
2. Talking to Family and Friends Back Home
For me, it’s very important to keep in regular contact with my family and friends back home. A Facetime call with a friend helps take my mind off of stressful situations and reminds me of things I have to look forward to next month when I’m back home! It also helps me maintain a sense of community. On Sundays, my family often gets together to eat lunch. Sometimes, I call them when it’s their lunchtime and walk with them for a while. Just yesterday, I facetimed my friend and we played a game together over the internet. It’s little things like this that help me stay connected to everyone back home and remind me that there is a world outside of Rennes to which I will soon be going back.
3. Listening to Music and Podcasts
I have always found this to be an excellent way to deal with stress (not just during study abroad!) Many studies have shown that listening to music helps reduce stress, and I have found this to be true for me. Personally, I also enjoy listening to podcasts. A lot of the podcasts I listen to are funny, and I can always count on them to make me laugh!
4. Keeping Things in Perspective
Especially during Covid, studying abroad can be chaotic. There are times when I feel very overwhelmed by everything that is going on in my life, whether that be exams, new covid restrictions, or adjusting to a new schedule. It always helps to put things in perspective. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to feel stressed at times and that it’s only temporary.