05 May Seeing the Silver Lining in Trying Times
Tips to Help Students and Parents Maintain Their Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing While at Home
Sometimes Staying Indoors Can Open Up New Doors
Staying indoors for a long period of time can sometimes negatively affect your physical and mental health and wellbeing. It can make you feel sedentary, lethargic or bored. You might feel as if you have nothing to do especially after working long hours on college assignments and not being able to leave the house to see friends or run errands. The silver lining is that this can be a time to focus on yourself, your classes, and your goals!
Let’s Get Physical!
It’s super important during this time to be physically active. The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. Doing so helps clear your head by giving you something to do during days that might seem endless. Although you may not have any gym equipment in your home, that’s OK! There are still many ways to stay fit and active.
There are many fun online fitness classes you can tune into. Through such classes, you may even find a new activity you never thought you’d like such as dancing or Pilates. You can also take a short walk outside and get some fresh air, but when you do so, please remember to stay six feet away from others as part of social distancing. Doing some kind of physical activity every day will improve your mood and boost your attention, making it easier to focus on tasks such as sitting at your computer.
Yoga: For the Mind, Body, and Spirit
If you are looking for specific workouts to help train your body and your mind, then yoga is the workout for you. Plus, it can be done easily right in your home! Yoga is excellent for flexibility, cardiovascular health, and maintaining your metabolism. In the case that you might have gained a bit of weight during quarantine, yoga can also help keep your body in shape.
Nutrition Network, Hydration, and Beauty Sleep
Pairing working out with proper nutrition is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Eating right helps improve your memory, which is essential for the tests and assignments that you have to do as a college student. It really pays to make a dedicated effort to decide on healthy food choices over poor ones. Text your friends to ask what they are having for dinner and organize a “Healthy Eating” Zoom party to watch a movie together. That way, you can build a positive, social nutrition network on your side.
Along with exercise and nutrition, remaining hydrated, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is necessary. While this is definitely harder to do while in quarantine considering that the days all mesh together, your body will truly thank you for getting a solid seven or eight hours of sleep. You’ll notice a difference when you have more energy for the day ahead.
Walls Don’t Mean Isolation, But Rather Creation
While in your home, you certainly have a lot of time to yourself. It might make you feel gloomy to be seemingly trapped within the confines of four walls. But it doesn’t have to be that way! The world outside is still beautiful, and you should appreciate it as much as you can. Self-quarantining doesn’t mean staying at home all day long, especially since doing so will negatively impact your mental health. Breathe in the fresh air outside and look at the clouds passing overhead. Listen to the birds and visualize success! If you do feel safer staying indoors, meditation is also a way to clear your thoughts. Similar to yoga, online tutorials exist for breathing exercises or visualization, and you may do this with a parent or friend via Zoom for some bonding time.
While it’s important to practice social distancing, the American Psychological Association recommends that you shouldn’t socially isolate yourself. Keep in contact with your friends through group chats or FaceTime. Any feelings of loneliness you might be experiencing will ebb away as you continue reaching out to your friends, checking in on them, and talking like you used to do in public. Your friends will appreciate you reaching out and your conversations will create smiles, laughs, and new, fond memories. We are fortunate to have programs like Skype, Zoom, Discord, and other social media platforms that can keep us connected to friends and loved ones no matter how distant they may be. So, make sure to check in with them when you have time.
Parents, These Tips Are For You!
Bonding and Stress Relief with Your College Age Young Adult
Keeping a clear head and remaining positive are also essential for parents. Your young adult has been home for a while now, and you might be feeling the pressure of their presence after all of this time apart. You may not be used to them being in the home for hours at a time, and their presence has more than likely affected your daily routine. While you probably want to scold them for leaving dishes in the sink or playing their music too loud, try to remember that they may be just as stressed as you are during this challenging time. As hard as it may seem, it’s much easier in the long run — and much healthier for both of you — to empathize with them.
Using Prosocial Communication for a Healthier Homestead
You might feel overwhelmed now that your student is back home from college earlier than usual. That’s understandable, but recognize that this time is also difficult for them. You are both “in the same boat” during this pandemic and need to be there for each other. Using prosocial communication, characterized as “a concern for the rights, feelings, and welfare of other people” will ease any tensions that might begin to simmer. Don’t be so quick to respond with your own judgment without considering other perspectives. Consider the other person’s feelings towards any concern instead of having a knee jerk reaction, as that will help curb the prospect of negative communication at home.
Putting the Shoe on the Other Foot
While their classes are still in session, know that this time is important to them. They are still doing their homework and assignments, only with the addition of online classes happening in their bedroom. Take some time away from your work and away from their school work when you have time to walk and talk with them. Doing so will help you both alleviate stress, and help you better understand what they are going through in order to keep a calm energy in the home. But as a student, you should also be aware of your parents’ limitations. If they are feeling stressed, ask them what is wrong, just as they would do for you. Be emphatic towards each other and respect boundaries in the home even if the quarters are tight.
Shared Experience and Joint Exercise
If you have time, try joining in on their exercise sessions. It can be a great time for you to bond with them, too. Online fitness classes are an excellent way to de-stress for you as well. If you find yourself bored or stressed during the day, turn on some old tunes to share special memories with your child, and dance the hours away in your living room. Many families have joined in on online challenges, too. So, ask them what fun challenges are trending and ask to join in!
Affirmations and Gratitude
As parent and child, you should affirm with each other to maintain your mental health. In your home or apartment, use sticky notes and write down what you like about yourself, one another or about the world around you. Positivity resonates and expresses a powerful purpose. Also, write down what you are grateful for and focus on one matter at a time. Physical reminders are tools to keep your mental health constructive and productive. Journaling is also a great way to release your thoughts and bring clarity as well as providing an agenda to help manage all your tasks in a timely manner. Think of the three top things you are grateful for and write about them. When you have time, find ways to engage in them together as a bonding experience, (after you have both finished with your work day).
Reframe Your Routine
Reframe your thinking! It’s all about mindset and your thoughts. This too shall pass. Think of it like clockwork, meaning that eventually, this will end, and normalcy will return. In the meantime, keep yourself energized and healthy both physically, mentally, and socially in order to maintain your routine. Appreciate the small things, and focus on what will make you a happier, healthier person with your family.