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How College Students Can Stay Mentally Healthy During the Pandemic


How College Students Can Stay Mentally Healthy During the Pandemic

Photo : How College Students Can Stay Mentally Healthy During the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone. Obviously, the people who have suffered the most are the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, who are most vulnerable to the virus. They make up the bulk of the approximately 300,000 Americans who have tragically died so far.

In addition to those who have died, there are millions more who have contracted the virus and suffered adverse health effects. While many of these poor souls are from the same demographic as before - the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions - there are tens of thousands of perfectly healthy young people who have gotten very sick and even died from Covid-19.

Families, individuals, and business owners have also suffered financially from the pandemic. As state and city governments issue stay-at-home mandates to limit the spread of the virus, many businesses have been hit hard, some of them even entirely destroyed, and huge sectors of the economy have suffered massive losses. 

Another victim of the pandemic is students. While college-aged students are less likely to get sick from Covid-19, the pandemic has shut down most schools and greatly altered teacher curriculums, not to mention the college lifestyle and social decorum. Let's be honest, social distancing isn't ideal for young adults excited to finally be in college. 

As a result, many young people are experiencing alienation, isolation, and higher levels of depression and anxiety during this time. Let's examine some ways that college undergraduates and graduate students can manage their thoughts and emotions and psychologically survive this pandemic:

Be responsible and protect yourself and others

Now that it's possible to receive a home Covid 19 test kit, you can find out if you're infected with SARS-CoV-2. The test is affordable and issues results within 24-48 hours. Knowing whether or not you carry the virus RNA allows you and others to create safe pods during the pandemic. You don't want to unknowingly spread the virus to others, especially your family and people who already have health problems.

Being responsible will help you in many ways. This isn't a game; we're all making life or death decisions if we choose to go out during a pandemic or not properly socially distance. At the same time, if you're quarantining with a small group that knows they are Covid-free, you will feel less isolated. 

Practice self-care

It is healthy for young adults at any time to practice self-care but during a frightening and alienating pandemic, it is all the more important. 

What is self-care? It means simply making healthy decisions for your mind and body. 

~While most yoga studios aren't open (and if they are open, they should be practicing outdoors and socially distancing), but you can still do yoga in your own space. There are thousands of free online videos to guide you. Yoga helps flush out toxins, stretch muscles, and create harmony throughout your body.

~Meditation is a great way to clear the mind. It has been used for thousands of years to help control the symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you've always wanted to get into meditation but just never took the time, this is the perfect opportunity. It could become a lifelong pursuit that helps you accomplish your goals and find happiness. 

~Get exercise. Just because you can't go to the gym isn't an excuse to not work up a sweat, even in the winter. Jog, bike ride, or do push-ups and yoga at home. There are plenty of options. Exercise gets the feel-good neurotransmitters coursing through your brain and, along with a nutritional diet, is crucial to your health.

Use virtual platforms to hang out with friends and family

Most of us already used tools like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and others prior to the pandemic to stay in touch with long-distance family and friends. But now it's pretty much a necessity, not only for work and school but to see the faces of those you love. It just feels more special than a phone call. 

Studies show that seeing a smile is good for your mental health. So download one of the aforementioned platforms (they're free and very easy to use) and chat face to face with your loved ones. 

Do you have other strategies for keeping mentally healthy during this time? Share them with others. 

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