Five Healthy Habits to Start Amidst a Pandemic
By Christina Corbisiero
The year 2020 is taking a mental toll on all of us. In September, many of us went back to college with a lot of uncertainties. Will I be here for the whole semester? Will there be a COVID outbreak? Will students be following the guidelines and safety protocols? While others are doing all of their classes over zoom in their hometowns, nothing has been easy for college students (along with the world as a whole). Here are five healthy habits to start doing amongst these troubling times.
1. Start Writing in a Journal
Journaling is extremely helpful for getting your inner thoughts and turmoil out. Writing in a journal is very healing to me because if I had a rough day, I can write all about it and then turn the page. There’s no right way to journal, you can write your inner dialogue, phrase it as a letter to someone, make it a prayer (to God or a higher power, if you’re religious or spiritual), draw or sketch, and even write in poems. A journal is completely for you. It’s also a nice way to keep track of events in your life from the people you meet to major events. I use my journal to recount my day and my feelings, but I also use it for ideas for stories I want to write, blogposts, things I need to do, and fun stories.
2. Find a new hobby or continue the one that you picked up during the quarantine
I started roller skating during the quarantine (stay-at-home order), and for the entire summer was going 3-4 times a week. When I got back to college, I became significantly less active, and really missed going skating. Once one of my roommates and I found the perfect parking lot to go skating, it made my day so much better. Even if it’s for 15 minutes, I can put my skates on usually at night) and skate for a little bit. You can do this for any hobby though! I know some people picked up writing or making clothes or earrings during their time home, and once school picked up again couldn’t find the time to continue their hobby. Having a hobby as a stress reliever will be more beneficial than you think. As I said before, even if you can only work on your hobby for a few minutes, get back into it. You won’t even realize how much you missed the hobby until you do it again. As for new hobbies, pick up something that doesn’t involve a lot of training to do in your free time. Some ideas I’ve noticed while being on campus are people learning how to run, yoga, learning how to crochet/knitt, painting, digital drawing, reading for fun, and picking up spike ball.
3. Start Your Homework Early
I personally struggle with getting my homework done early in the week. Usually, you can find me procrastinating on Tik Tok with all my homework out in front of me. If you get all your work done earlier in the week, then you have more time to watch your favorite show, but also study for any upcoming test and catch any topics that you may not understand. Personally speaking, I’ve left too many assignments to last minute, and need to work on getting them done so I know I can turn in my best work. Also, having your homework done earlier will cause less stress, and you can even...go to bed earlier (it’s not like there are parties to go this semester, so there’s absolutely no FOMO).
4. Drinking lots of water, and eating fruit and vegetables
Being in lockdown has made me justify all the junk food I eat. Although it feels like the world is ending, you still have to take care of yourself. Yes, my roommates and I have a cabinet filled with everything from flaming hot cheetos to saltine crackers, but we do remind each other to eat fruits and vegetables, and drink water. When the pandemic first started, I would drink a litre of water every morning, and my body would feel great. Bringing healthy eating habits to college will help your overall well-being. Small changes in what you eat can affect your overall mood. When I started college, I ate mac & cheese cups and pretzels with hummus for half my meals, and it took a toll on how I physically felt. It’s really hard to eat healthy in college, but making sure you drink water and have some form of vegetables is a start. Potato chips and spiked seltzers are so good, but just remember to not use them as a replacement for a meal.
5. Check in with your friends
The pandemic is very isolating to everyone. Checking in with your friends can mean anything from talking to your roommate for twenty minutes about their day to sending a text to a friend from home you haven’t seen in awhile. We have to be there for each other amongst times such as the ones we’re living in. A fun idea might be to send written letters to your friends at different colleges or who are are at home. My freshman year, the girl I used to babysit used to send me monthly letters of what she had been up to in school. Most recently I sent a small gift of rose quartz crystals to my friend who was having a really rough week; small surprises can bring people so much joy. You can also small plan small gatherings to watch a movie or a game night with your friends (depending on the guidelines of your school) or plan it over zoom. Socially distancing doesn’t have to mean being alone all the time.