By Jenna Shelton
When the order to stay at home was set to begin Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m., there was a panic that rolled throughout the state. People rushed to stock up on essentials, and most students celebrated an extended spring break and the possibility of canceled classes. After a couple of days of binge watching Netflix and sleeping, the boredom set in and a lot of people started going stir crazy from the cabin fever, hoping the end of this time of self-isolation is near.
Now reports are showing that the stay-at-home orders will most likely be extended until at least the end of April. This is an extremely stressful time for anyone, but college students already face stress as they encounter everyday life as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. It is important for everyone to practice self-care on a normal basis to help with everyday stressors, but especially during this novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Oxford Dictionary defines self-care as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular, during periods of stress. Of course, in a pandemic like this, self-hygiene is very important, and everyone should be taking precautions to not spread germs. One must also take steps to keep their minds and spirits healthy during periods like this. Here are some ideas to help perform self-care while we are all stuck in our homes.
Enjoy the outdoors by taking walks or bike rides on your street, but make sure to continue to practice social distancing! Sit outside and read a book or set an alarm and get up about 30 minutes before the sun rises and go watch the sun greet a new day with a cup of coffee and a blanket to ward off that early spring chill. On the other side of the spectrum, go outside for the sun to set and watch the beautiful colors in the sky as the sun says goodnight. Spend these times being aware of your surroundings and of your breathing, using conscious breathing techniques like those taught in meditation. Make sure to exclude the electronics, like the cell phone, even if the sky is Instagram perfect.
Make a date to pamper yourself by taking a long, relaxing bubble bath. (Shampoo works great if there is no bubble bath.) Make a DIY face mask, paint your nails or fix your hair like one might if they were getting ready for a night out. Even if there is nowhere to go, sometimes getting out of those three-day-old sweats will make anyone feel better. Exercise even if the gym is closed by making up a home routine. Grab a couple of the big soup or vegetable cans and use those as weights. Walk up and down the stairs multiple times for some cardio.
Take a notebook and start a journal, writing all of the things done in a day or thoughts and emotions. Journaling allows an opportunity to keep thoughts organized, set and track goals, relieve stress, allow self-reflection, and can even inspire creativity. Starting a journal or any other hobby that one is passionate about is a great way to keep busy while relieving stress and anxiety.
There are times when the cellphone is helpful in practicing self-care. There are many wonderful applications that offer meditation and yoga, and other activities that are helpful in reducing stress. Make sure to check if there is a subscription price or any additional charges before downloading any applications, though. There are options to continue or start therapy or counseling via video chat or over the phone. There are resources available through L&C to help with stress and anxiety on a normal basis or now during this time. There are Counseling Services that assists students with counseling on an appointment basis, as well as in the case of an emergency. Counseling Services can be reached at (618) 468-4121 or (618) 468-4125 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is the organization called Active MInds, a national nonprofit that supports mental health awareness and education for students. For more information on Active Minds, please contact Alice Bunjan at email@example.com or by leaving a message at (618) 468-2730.