Mental health as much a priority as physical during quarantine
With quarantine and digital learning in full force, the effects of these measures have given students new health challenges. These challenges that affect both mental and physical health can be hard to deal with if you don’t know what needs your attention. Your health habits are important and aware- ness of what affects your well- being will make a big difference.
Even without the usual motivation of a sport or other classmates, staying physically healthy during quarantine is still worth pursuing. Physical exercise like lifting weights, running, and cycling will always be beneficial to your health, but there are also things you can do if you want to start small. Even doing something as simple as getting a good night sleep or having an apple instead of a bag of chips can make a noticeable impact on how you feel. Also making and following a routine for yourself that gets you physically away from screens can be really beneficial.
“It can make us more productive and make us feel better,” said health teacher Matthew Johnson. These steps have a positive impact on your mental health as well. Karli Johnson, a M. Ed. and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, said, “I think a lot of the mistakes that lead to poor mental health really start with physical health.”
So staying physically healthy not only makes you feel better, but it also has a positive knock on effect towards your mental health.
“I have been mostly trying to keep myself busy whether it is playing outside, I’ve spent many hours on my front driveway playing basketball, I’ve gone for runs, I’ve tried mostly to stay off of screens,” shared Senior Isaac Laddusaw. “My mental health I’ve kinda just been focusing on the good things and trying to stay socially active by communicating with friends.”
With the dramatic lifestyle changes COVID-19 has brought, maintaining good mental health is very important. Now that we are spending so much time online, maintaining a good perspective on what’s real and what’s not can be very beneficial. This includes social media but can also include programs like Google Meet. Still conversing with classmates, teachers or friends is very healthy.
“What it really comes down to is the vagus nerve in our brain, right?” said Karli Johnson, referring to the critical nerve that runs from the brain to the abdomen and helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and speech. “The only thing that really stimulates the vagus nerve is connection with others. Our emotions are directly affected when we don’t connect.”
One of the most important things for students right now is getting quality connections, and video chatting can be a good way of doing that. Offline, there are many things that are positive toward mental health. Having predictable routines in your house can be very positive because it can create a sense of purpose and normality. It is also important to stay flexible with par- ents and siblings and use the time to deepen connections with them.
Another thing you can do is take this extra time and put it toward something that will get your mind off the stressful situation. Whether it’s a new hobby that you want to pick up or something that you dropped before, spending your extra time doing things you enjoy is really beneficial.
“I’ve painted a little bit,” said sophomore Tollef Currell. “I’ve also been road biking more.”
While there might be a few new challenges to staying healthy, everything you do towards your health counts.