Back to the Basics: Childhood Activities to Combat Anxiety
BY: Katherine Gotard
I have personally experienced the stress that social isolation has inflicted upon students in 2021 alone. It has become a default to worry myself over the future when I don’t have a clear picture of what’s to come for my friends and me. And when I was put into quarantine for 10 days at the start of this semester, I felt the effects of this anxiety the strongest. However, these moments of stress and boredom forced me to return to tried-and-true solutions, even though I was previously convinced I had outgrown them.
As an artist, my mind is often filled with creative ideas that I am itching to put on paper. Instead of just committing to these concepts, I allow them to fall to the waste side, determining that I’m too busy to start the project or that I won’t be able to properly execute my vision. While in the quarantine dorms, I could no longer produce a reason why I shouldn’t just go for it. So, I dusted off my set of Prismacolor pencils, drew what I wanted, and forced myself to finish what I started.
It felt incredible to throw myself into a piece of art again, letting all my anxious thoughts slip away as I completely focused on choosing the right color or final touches. I was reminded of how much I used to love just sketching whatever thought popped into my head. My advice – prioritize yourself and your personal goals, no matter how lofty or pointless they seem. Allow yourself to find joy in these hobbies and passions that you had when you were younger and undoubtedly less busy. You won’t regret it.
When the last major snowstorm of the season hit Boston, I decided that I was going to go sledding. No matter if I had to use a plastic tray, piece of cardboard, or concede to purchasing a sled from Target – I was going to take advantage of the powder covering the Commons. Yes, I could have gotten ahead on assignments or finished more work instead of playing in the snow, but all I could think of was how much I wanted to be in the present, to feel the cold snow beyond my dorm room window.
I got to go sledding that night on a pool floaty that took about 20 minutes to blow up in the middle of the park. The Commons were empty except for a few Emerson students who had the same idea as me. We all enjoyed the moment together and allowed our inner kids to flourish on that rather short downward slope. While it may seem like it’s impossible to create those quintessential college memories during this LFA semester, there are plenty of opportunities to do so – you just have to seize them.
You may think you’ve outgrown the simple joys we had during your childhood, like coloring or playing outside, but this is the time to return to them. Right now we’re living in that bittersweet spot between childhood and adulthood. Remember to ease your stress with nostalgia, taking advantage of this transitory phase in a semester defined by uncertainty.