Dear Abby, I am struggling with my mental health during the quarantine, how can I have more of a positive mindset during this uncertain time?

Hi Sweetheart! I am so sorry that you are having a hard time with your mental health during the pandemic, but just know you are not alone in your struggles. Quarantine is certainly taking its toll on so many. While there is so much that is out of our control in this uncertain time, we do have power over how we react to this stressful situation.

My advice to you on how to better your mental health would be to do small things that make you happy! For example, journaling can be such a good way to release all the stress of the day. Yoga and mediation is also such a wonderful way to clear your mind and set your intentions for a happy and positive mindset for the day! I am also a big believer in "treating yourself" because buying yourself a pair of new shoes feels so good! So overall, whatever puts a smile on your face no matter how small or silly it is, go do it!  

Click here to read the latest issue of The Town Crier online!

Dear Emma, How can I better my senior year while still following social distancing guidelines?

It can be difficult to accept that our senior year of high school is not going to be as we had pictured it to be. Although it is upsetting, I think it is a good idea to remind ourselves of everything we have to be grateful for. I also think that it is also important to have self-empathy and remind yourself that it is ok to be feeling down in our current situation. However, just because this year is different from the rest it doesn't mean that there is nothing we can do about it.

In order to try and find some normalcy in daily life, I have thought of some great tips to help better the year. First and foremost, it is important to keep in contact with friends and family. These times can be very lonely, but I can guarantee that whenever you're feeling down, talking to someone you care about will definitely lift your spirits. Also, maybe you can meet a few friends outside and throw a senior year party with everyone 6 feet apart and wearing masks. It can be helpful to make sure you keep up with self-care: getting out of bed, getting dressed, making healthy meals, getting exercise, etc. You can also try and help your community, take pictures for our senior yearbook, start new hobbies, etc. Although our circumstances are not ideal, it is important to have resilience and know that things can always get better!

Click here to read  the latest issue of The Town Crier online!

Dear Arya, how can I overcome some of the obstacles of virtual learning?

Learning exclusively through Zoom and Canvas can be difficult at times, especially with the expectation of having a full school day each day, but fortunately there are lots of tips you can use to ensure success during this crazy time. It can definitely be tough finding the motivation to complete assignments and turn things in on time in the comfort of your bedroom. Routines may become boring and there might be lots of distractions around you (aka TikTok). 

Try changing up your location, whether it's moving to another part of your home or somewhere outside. A change of environment definitely will definitely help you to keep engaged in learning. Don't forget to take breaks, hydrate, and grab a quick snack in the 10-minute breaks between Zoom classes. It's definitely good to step away from the computer once and a while, even if it's for a bit. Take a walk or go for a drive—you'll come back with a fresh pair of eyes and a mind that's ready to learn!

Even though it's not your typical school year, remember that grades and teacher expectations are the same. It may be tempting to slack off, especially as a senior, but you're only helping yourself by managing your time wisely and getting assignments done!

Click here to read the latest issue of The Town Crier online!

pencil drawing of three girls with text that says PW advice column with Arya, Abby & Emma

Illustration by Zoe Hoang