Staying healthy⸺and not just COVID-19 free

Sujata Gandhi, Reporter

COVID-19, novel coronavirus, respiratory virus, global pandemic, “just like the flu”. It seems like this is all you hear, every direction that you turn. Almost every headline, post, and conversation these days seems to revolve around this. Of course, this is a serious global crisis. However, disregarding all other aspects of one’s life and focusing only on the pandemic isn’t healthy either. 

First, worrying isn’t going to stop the virus. Continually stressing about what’s going on only hurts you, both physically and mentally. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, constant stress can increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular illness, depression, anxiety, and more. Some suggestions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers for coping with stress from the pandemic include exercising, talking to friends and family, meditating, and, if needed, seeing a professional. To do this, you can take a walk or work out at home, connect with friends that you can’t see in person using technology, or find a meditation online (onlinemeditation.org has some that you can use). Some other things that can help with stress are cooking, painting, doing craft projects, starting to learn a new language, cleaning or reorganizing the house, volunteering with an organization (justserve.org has many great suggestions), and finding other ways to be creative and remain productive. Also, the Department of Health and Welfare has a COVID-19 Behavioral Health Distress Line (open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) that can provide confidential help at 888-330-3010. 

The whole country is stuck at home, but, on the brighter side of things, everyone has an opportunity to spend more time with family and work on the projects that they’ve been putting off. Also, you can still talk to friends over the phone, with video chatting apps, and, if you don’t have access to technology, with just old-fashioned letter writing! Staying connected and busy can help you feel better during this crisis and help you be more prepared for life when it ends. And it will end.

Overall, despite the coronavirus, there are many things that you can do to keep your life somewhat normal. Whether it be calling a friend, going for a walk, or simply making your bed, you’ll start feeling better about what’s going on around you.