Throughout this pandemic, our priority has been to keep ourselves and the ones around us healthy. Though we have diligently been wearing masks, washing our hands, and staying six feet apart from each other, many of us have not been so mindful about other aspects of our health. Eating healthy may be difficult when we have easy access to the kitchen all day. Coping with stress is difficult already, now add a pandemic, the new challenges it brings daily and managing stress seems even more daunting. Our new routines make it very difficult to focus on these specific aspects of our personal health, but it is vital we are keeping up with sleep, exercise, nutrition, and mental health.
Especially as college students shifting our entire lives online, that sleep, exercise, nutrition, and mental health I mentioned earlier may seem like last on the endless list of essays, assignments, and studying. During this unprecedented time, university students have faced many unique stressors in addition to the tragedies of this year. Being taken away from a campus full of peers and resources, forced into completing courses home left many students with less than ideal learning environments. The isolation and loneliness felt at home affects our mindset. We used to have to rush at least ten minutes to class, but now we stare at screens and sit on our desks all day. These and other individual students’ factors contribute to increased stress, sleeping irregularity, and nutritional deficiencies.
During periods of high stress, our immune system cannot function at its full capacity. Irregular weight gain can worsen existing health problems and even increase risk of COVID-19. Physical inactivity and prolonged stress affect natural sleeping patterns which in turn disrupts the immune system even more. Below are resources to help us focus on these important aspects of our health.