By Kaylee Cogbill, Texas A&M Student
It’s hard enough to feel like we are taking good care of our health as college students. Add a pandemic on top of that, and it becomes even harder. When the novel coronavirus outbreak first started, it was hard for me to keep up with academic and social responsibilities. Classes were moved online, I was barely leaving my apartment, and I wasn’t able to eat on campus as much as I normally did. It took a couple of weeks for me to adjust to these changes, and I still am adjusting every day, but these are some tips I gathered to help take care of my health as a college student during a pandemic.
1. Exercise Every Day
There are so many benefits to working out, including that regular exercise boosts your energy. Spending most of the day in front of the computer and sitting on the couch streaming TV shows was a habit I quickly picked up when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Physical activities became harder and harder, so I decided to go out and do something active every day. Fun things I found to do around College Station include playing disc golf at Wolf Pen Creek, walking or running on trails around John Crompton Park, and working out in the Cain parking garage on campus. If you’re looking for a little day adventure, I recommend checking out nearby Texas State Parks like Huntsville, Lake Somerville, and Stephen F. Austin.
2. Have A Routine
The health benefits of having a daily routine include reduced stress levels and improved overall health. Most online classes will allow you to complete the work whenever it is convenient for you. However, it is still important to keep a calendar and plan out when you are going to work on assignments for each specific class. When it comes to my daily routine, I like to plan out everything from when I’m doing classwork to when I’m going to eat meals to when I’m working out.
3. Get Outside
If you start to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, getting outside should become easier. Spending time outdoors helps raise vitamin D levels and improves concentration. So, if you’re struggling to focus on classwork or other responsibilities, take a break and go for a walk. Then come back and get to work.
4. Declutter Your Space
After spending hours upon hours in my apartment, I realized that I had more stuff than I actually needed or used. Choose one part of your room, like a closet, and spend 30 minutes cleaning it out and sorting through the items into “keep,” “trash,” and “donate” piles. There are blue drop-off boxes located all over the Bryan-College Station area where you can donate your old clothes. Various Goodwill locations are also open and accepting donations.
5. Have Intentional Conversations
Whether you are living with other people or not, you should be having intentional conversations with the people you interact with about what makes you feel uncomfortable. With roommates, it is important to establish house rules with safety precautions that could include wearing a mask in common spaces, not allowing people to come over, or washing your hands before touching shared items.
6. Get Enough Sleep
I’ve learned that a good sleep schedule forms when I stick to my daily routine. At first, you may need to plan when you put your work away and start to wind down in order to build a good sleep schedule. Soon it will become habitual. Typically, adults should be getting 7 to 9 quality hours of sleep each day.
7. Take A Step Back
Don’t forget to relax. A pandemic brings on new stressors that we never knew we had. Take a step back from everything and validate the emotions you’re feeling.
If you start to feel a little under the weather or notice any symptoms of illness, schedule a televisit with your St. Joseph and Texas A&M Health Network primary care physician. This feature allows you to receive medical help from the comfort of your home via phone or computer. Here are some frequently asked questions to help with any concerns you may have.
Healthline | Self-care tips during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Reach Out .Com | 10 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During Coronavirus
Healthline | How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need?
Harvard Health Publishing | Spending time outdoors is good for you
Healthline | The Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise
Psychology Today | Helping College Students Cope With COVID-19
Headspace | The secret benefit of routines. It won’t surprise you.