Advice / all

“A lot of you are students who are now learning from home, which can be really overwhelming,” says VOX ATL’s Aaliyah Bates. “Take the time to take breaks and don’t overwhelm yourself.”

Photo and illustration by Aaliyah Bates

VOX 5: Ways to Combat Hopelessness in Quarantine

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In this really confusing time, a lot of us (myself included) may feel really lost, anxious, or hopeless about a few things while in quarantine. Here are a few of my personal tips that have been making me feel better the more I practice them.

Cry It Out

Cry it out, kid. Crying is no symbol of weakness but of feeling. Allow yourself to feel what is making you upset and release it. Carrying all those feelings around only makes other day-to-day tasks harder.


Sit with it, but not for too long. It may help to concentrate and observe your feelings from a different point of view. As easy as it is going to be to run from all of your stressors, it helps to see them for what they really are and find logical, you-paced ways to tackle them so that you can feel your best. If it’s your first time meditating, you should try it someplace familiar like your room or even your bed. You should normally be in a quiet or peaceful space, but if the quiet isn’t your thing, try binaural beats.


I find it a lot easier to express myself through art and music. Draw, paint, sketch and if you’re not the artsiest person, you can collage, make vision boards, or color to ease your mind. You could also make playlists to express how you feel whether you want to share it with other people or not. Some free and accessible platforms are Gimp, a simple photo editing app (like a simple version of Photoshop), GarageBand for recording music or voice-overs on an IOS device, or iMovie and PicCollage for combining videos and pictures into small projects. Make things for you just to get the feeling out. Keep a small journal of the things you are feeling so you could track your emotional progress over time, using any form of self-expression you see fit for you.

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Take Breaks

A lot of you are students who are now learning from home, which can be really overwhelming. Take the time to take breaks and don’t overwhelm yourself. In one of our Zoom meetings, my friend and fellow VOXer Cayla suggested working for 50 minutes at a time and taking 10-minute breaks. That time could be used to walk around, stretch, have a mini dance party, anything you need to energize. If you find yourself completely overwhelmed, take longer breaks. Plan a day meant just for you: Cook for yourself, go outside in the fresh air, try something a bit different. It is better to play catch up while fully functioning than to give a half-assed effort on work. Breathe, make a schedule, give yourself reasonable times and deadlines for certain things.


Talk to people outside of social media. It can be really tempting to use social media as your main means of communication because it’s easy, but try to make the effort to call or text someone if you can. Or have someone you know you can always call when you really need to debrief your day or just break the monotony and hear about theirs. Having someone who you can call or video chat can really boost your mood or take your mind off of all that is going on and give you a small sense of normalcy to help ease the way things are going. My person of choice is my girlfriend, Heaven, and my best friend, Brianna.

There are so many things big and small you can do for yourself to make this time easier on you and others, but the most important is to be forgiving with yourself. This is new for all of us, and you are not alone in any of it.

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