As we continue to adjust to life in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, many Columbia and Barnard community members are also in quarantine, which can be particularly draining to physical and mental health. If you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself to complete assignments or to go to sleep at a reasonable time, Spectrum has some advice to keep you physically and mentally healthy during quarantine.
You’ve probably heard this already, but it’s important to add a bit of extra movement to your day, especially if you’re not currently working and have to stay indoors. Even if you never used to work out back on campus, you may no longer be getting the exercise you usually get when you’re rushing to your next class or from walking around the city. This means it’s important to make sure you still have some exercise in your daily routine to keep your body healthy.
If you’re a beginner looking for some less intense form of exercise that doesn’t require any equipment, you can find workouts to follow on YouTube. Blogilates and the Body Project are some beginner-friendly channels to check out if you want to get started.
If you’re looking for something more hard-core, or if you simply just want to try out one of those intense group workout classes people are raving about, you should check out Barry’s Bootcamp and Rumble’s Instagram pages. They are both very popular group workout gyms that offer free daily live workout classes on Instagram with one of their coaches.
If possible, you should try and take your workout outside if you have a garden to get some sunlight, or simply open up a window to let the sun stream in. If you can, take a walk around your neighborhood and get some fresh air. Since you’re not going outside too much, it’s important to take advantage of any vitamin D you can get, especially since the sun isn’t setting at 4 p.m. anymore like it did a couple months ago.
Clean your space
Making sure you have a clean space can help with your mood and productivity. Not only will it add movement to your day, but a clean space can also help alleviate any stress you might have with school and motivate you to catch up on some work. You can either go full Marie Kondo on your room, or just set some time to make your bed and get your things organized for the day.
Manage your information flow
The Columbia University Medical Center, in collaboration with New York Sen. Robert Jackson, hosted a virtual town hall on mental health during quarantine on March 27. Panelist Matt Kudish from the National Alliance on Mental Illness stressed the importance of managing the information you might see online and on TV. He explains that constantly refreshing the news will only exacerbate your anxiety and recommends checking official reports and statements from health and city officials once or twice a day to avoid information overload and unnecessarily increasing your anxiety levels.
Maintain a routine as much as possible
Another important piece of advice given during the town hall by Kudish was to try and maintain a routine as much as possible—and no, sleeping at 4 a.m. and waking up at 1 p.m. isn’t the type of routine they were talking about. Difficulty sleeping and concentrating is a normal stress response, but you should try and adopt a similar routine to the one you had back on campus. If you usually go to Butler after your last class of the day to study for the day, then you should set some time aside to study at home after your last Zoom lecture. Of course, this is assuming that time zones aren’t making you go to class at 10 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. If this is the case, then you should take your late night Zoom lectures into consideration and adopt a routine that allows you to be productive and attend class at the same time. Taking a midday nap before class or after a study session in the morning could be a beneficial practice to incorporate into your routine
Take time for yourself
These are not normal times we are experiencing, so you shouldn’t set the same expectations you usually would when we’re not in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s very easy to feel pressured and unproductive because you’re not learning a new language or ‘making the most of quarantine’ like everyone seems to be boasting about on social media. Productivity can be what you define it to be, whether it’s making it out of bed just to watch TV on the coach or finally starting that problem set you’ve been putting off.
Take time to wind down by trying out new activities like painting, meditation, or yoga. It doesn’t even have to be something you’ve never tried out, you can just take a nap if you feel like it. You could also finally sit down and watch those movies you pretend you’ve seen to sound interesting to your friends, or try out that “Tiger King” documentary that everyone seems to be talking about so you can also start arguing with others about Carole Baskin and whether she fed her ex-husband to the tigers or not.
Remember, try and maintain a routine as much as possible, because not having one might increase any feelings you might have of loss of control.
Stay inside, stay safe, and take care of yourself.