The COVID Funk: Tips on Staying Healthy

Illustration of a woman at home meditatingWritten by: Maryam Khan

Photo from: Adobe Stock

I would have never thought university would go from homecoming to staying home in only one year. COVID-19 pandemic cut our student life short with online classes and no campus activities making learning impact everyone differently. The pandemic hit at the end of my second year. I still remember getting the email saying that classes will be canceled until further notice, thinking it would only be for a couple of months — let alone a whole year.

My third year would be described as a total funk with a horrible sleeping schedule, asynchronous classes, hours on TikTok, and severe boredom. I missed studying at Weldon with my friends, going out on a Friday night, getting a Spoke bagel in between classes, and just living a normal life. We went from lineups and crowds to empty streets in a matter of weeks, which took a toll on my mental health.

Coming back to Western this year, I felt like I was in my first year again with in-person classes and a lively campus, but it wasn’t the same. As I’m sure many of us would agree, wearing masks for 3-hour lectures, rushing to book time slots at the gym, and waiting in line for hours due to capacity restrictions can be hard to adapt to. Transitioning back to the “old normal” throughout these uncertain times can be overwhelming, especially when considering the anxiety of another lockdown or facing social phobia. However, it’s important to stay positive and invest in self-care.

Here are some helpful tips on how I kept myself motivated and healthy during the lockdown which has helped me transition back into student life.

  • Incorporate physical activity into your routine — whether that’s going to the gym, doing yoga, or just walking to class. Any movement will help clear your mind.
  • Take time for yourself — read a book, watch your favourite show, or meditate. You can’t study 24/7!
  • Hang out with your friends. Connecting and interacting with others can do wonders!
  • Plan your meals. Being able to look forward to cooking meals for the week can really help keep you in a good routine.
  • Stay positive – write in a journal, talk to your friends, or practice gratitude. Whatever you find works to help bring your spirits up.

This might seem hard with piles of assignments and constant stress, but small adjustments are not impossible:

  • Working out for 30 minutes is only 4% of your day
  • Reading for 30 minutes is 2% of your day
  • Meditating for 10 minutes is < 1% of your day
  • Talking a 20 minute break is 1% of your day
  • Doing what you love for 30 minutes is 2% of your day

Little changes in your daily routine can have big impacts on both your physical and mental health as we continue to work through the changing dynamics that the pandemic brings.

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