When you’re in college, living on campus can feel like a right of passage. It’s a great time to gain independence, have fun, and develop friendships you’ll have for a lifetime while enjoying the convenience and benefits of living where you go to school.
Unfortunately, campus life looks a bit different this year. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges across the country have suspended in-person classes and have required students to leave campus.
Some schools have closed their doors temporarily, while others will be shut down for on-campus living for the remainder of the school year. While the goal of the shutdown and the encouragement for social isolation is to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spread, it can be a difficult transition. You must head home or go somewhere else for now.
Whether you return to campus before the school year is over or you’ll be back next semester once things calm down, this is a good time to reflect on your health and wellness and what you can do to keep yourself safe, strong, and healthy.
Managing Your Mental Health
Mental health is one of the biggest concerns facing college students today. Since many students across the country are being forced to stay home, issues like anxiety and depression are becoming more prevalent.
Making your mental health a priority is a key factor to get you through this pandemic, but it’s also important when you return to campus. While college is an exciting and fun experience, it can also be overwhelming at times. Learning how to manage your stress levels can prevent you from getting sick.
There are simple, everyday habits you can start to reduce stress:
- Get more sleep
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
- Talk to someone about your stress
- Manage your time
- Keep a journal
You can keep up with those habits as you get back to school and use them for the rest of your life to manage stress..
If your current stressor is being stuck at home, online learning might feel like your biggest hurdle. If you’re trying to adjust to online learning and having a difficult time, there are a few tips to make the experience less stressful:
- Create a designated learning space
- Stick to specific hours of the day to study
- Avoid distractions
- Set personal goals
Give yourself permission to stumble. This is a learning experience for everyone and a time of great uncertainty. Don’t put pressure on yourself, and eventually, things will begin to fall into place and feel less stressful.
Developing Healthy Habits Now
Exercising is a great way to stay healthy when stuck at home. Thankfully, there are no rules or regulations in place about going for a run outside or working out at home.
Exercise can give you more energy, boost your mood, and reduce stress. Get into a daily routine that you can keep doing once you get back to campus. Adding a workout to your day has many benefits and can keep you focused when you’re back in school.
It’s also a good idea to watch your diet while away from campus. It’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits when convenience food is so easy to come by, and apps like GrubHub and Postmates will deliver food right to your door. Making healthy nutritional choices will improve your mood and energy levels and lower your risk of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Being stuck at home means it’s the perfect time to brush up on your cooking skills! Practice making healthy meals for yourself that could be made in a dorm room or communal kitchen. Making quick, easy meals that are also good for you will keep you motivated when it comes to making healthier food choices on campus.
Reducing Your Risks
The Coronavirus can impact anyone, but it’s most deadly among those with pre-existing conditions or with lung and respiratory issues like those who regularly smoke or vape. Vaping has become hugely popular across the country, but the chemicals in many vape solutions can cause serious lung problems.
Smoking has also been a health concern for years. It can contribute to lung cancer and heart disease. With the spread of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to quit cigarettes and vape pens. Keeping your lungs healthy and clear will reduce your risk of being seriously impacted by Coronavirus if you happen to contract it.
Developing healthy habits and staying away from vaping and cigarettes will help you build a strong immune system, which, in turn, will help you combat the disease. This is why it’s so important to keep these tips for general health and wellness in mind. Now is the time to start taking your health seriously so you can make better choices for your mind and body. Starting these habits now will make them easier for you to stick with once you’re back on campus.
BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.