Written By: Maeve Ballantine
As students begin to return to school, the stresses of work and class return with them. This year also poses a new source of stress and anxiety: quarantine. The state of the world is still very uncertain and the majority of the population find themselves stuck at home with only their families for company, if that. So here are a few tips to keep yourself physically and mentally cared for during this quarantined school year.
First things first, the basics. Just as with every other school year, a student has to remember to take care of their health by eating, sleeping and showering regularly. Just because we are in a pandemic situation does not mean that students have an excuse to neglect their physical health. Some options for food if you are not on campus is to use UberEats or Doordash to help support local restaurants that may be losing business because of the pandemic. Most businesses are very accommodating when it comes to curbside pickup. Or, if you wish, you can try cooking yourself. There are lots of simple and tasty recipes out on the internet for students who may not have a lot of experience with cooking to try. Finding time to cook and eat may be difficult with schoolwork and figuring out how to meet with professors or group project members, but it is always important to set aside at least an hour at the beginning, middle, and end of the day to get your daily nutrition.
Sleep may also prove difficult, since the stress and uncertainty and from looking at screens all day. For some, turning off electronics for a considerable time before bed just is not possible, since many of us need to work long hours into the night to get our work done or have after school activities that are meeting over Zoom now. Fortunately, the internet also has many ways to help one sleep, such as audiobooks, meditations and relaxing music, all of which can be found on YouTube. There are also ways to improve sleep that do not involve the internet, such as reading a book for a half an hour before bed–for all you English students, this can be one of the books you may need to read for class, since scientists such as the ones on www.chronobiology.com state that studying something before going to sleep causes the brain to remember it more clearly.
Physical health is not all that matters. Stress can take an immense toll on students if kept unchecked, especially now that we are cooped up either inside our houses or inside our dorms. So keeping our minds active is very important. One thing that is especially important is giving your mind time to relax and unwind. As with sleep, meditation can also help reduce stress, giving the mind ample time to process whatever may be distressing it.
Hobbies are also important to keeping oneself mentally healthy. With all the time spent at home perhaps now is the time to pick up a new skill like knitting or painting. Even though it may be frustrating at first, part of the process is developing skills over time and seeing how far you have come is part of the reward.
Perhaps one of the most vital things to one’s mental health is to stay connected. Humans, by nature, are social creatures and spending too much time alone can also take a toll. So be sure to reach out to friends to talk and connect.
Most importantly, stay safe and stay positive. This quarantine and pandemic can only last so long. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not the oncoming train. Stay strong, stay healthy, stay safe.