Article Originally Published by Haley Arnold on North Texas Daily
As COVID-19 spreads across the nation, citizens everywhere are encouraged to stay home in an effort to reduce transmission rates and flatten the curve. With UNT’s transition to online courses and the cancellation of events and club activities, you may find yourself with more free time on your hands, and it can be tempting to fall into the routine of waking up at 2 p.m. every day and scrolling through social media until getting up to eat hot Cheetos for dinner. You probably shouldn’t, though, and keeping up with your physical and mental health will prove vital during this period of uncertainty.
Nothing tanks your energy more than vegetating in bed all day. It’s important to keep moving, and there are still a surplus of ways to get some exercise in spite of gyms being closed. If you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere that allows for you to go outdoors and still practice social distancing, going for a walk or run is a great way to clear your head. There are plenty of workouts that allow you to work your muscles without the aid of machines or dumbbells. One of the quickest ways to improve muscle growth while also getting cardio in is by doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), and YouTube holds a surplus of HIIT videos between 15 and 30 minutes long. If you have weights (or objects in your home that resemble weights), the Nike training app offers a ton of free workouts easy to do in your bedroom or backyard.
Free online learning tools are some of the best ways to expand your knowledge on topics or skills you wouldn’t ordinarily explore in your classes. All UNT students have full access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers courses on productivity, time management, Microsoft and Adobe platforms and more creative skills like photography. Skillshare is a similar platform that offers a free trial when you sign up. YouTube is also a great resource, and one of my favorite learning channels is Crash Course, hosted by John and Hank Green. Crash Course videos explain ideas in roughly ten minutes from a near limitless range of topics, organized into helpful playlists. You can use YouTube for more hands-on, skill-based learning as well — Binging with Babish is great for cooking, and Modern Builds is a helpful tool for home DIY.
Take up an activity that encourages mindfulness
While much of our livelihood has been uprooted, it’s imperative to partake in activities that keep you grounded for the sake of your mental health. Whether it be yoga, meditation or journaling, find something that helps you focus on the present and identify any thoughts or emotions you may have. If you’ve lost your face-to-face therapy sessions or would like to seek out counseling during this time, online resources like Better Help offer virtual sessions.
Schedule in social time
While we can’t go out and see friends in person, technology allows us to maintain our connections with people outside of our household. Instead of just saying you want to FaceTime ‘x’ friend when you’re free, schedule in that call as if you were scheduling a nice dinner together. Setting aside time to be social will help prevent relationships from slipping through the cracks and ensure we’re getting much needed time with friends on a regular basis.
Test out new hobbies
I’m sure we all have something we’ve wanted to try in the past, but simply haven’t had time for. Given the circumstances, you may have to adjust your approach a bit to fit into social distancing requirements, but it’s still possible nevertheless. Test out a new art practice or hone your language skills — find anything that occupies your mind in a productive way.
Make a quarantine bucket list
Entertainment should still be a part of quarantine, and now is a great time to catch up on the movies, TV shows, podcasts and books you may have missed. Making a list of things you want to watch or read will be helpful to refer back to when you’re ready to relax, that way you’re not aimlessly scrolling through Netflix for 30 minutes in search of something that might be halfway entertaining. If you’re looking for ideas, we’ve talked about things like bingeable TV shows on Daily’s Dose podcast.
Remember it’s okay to relax
Yes, this new free time offers us many opportunities for self growth and exploration, but we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. No one expects you to come out of quarantine as a trilingual chef with a book ready for publishing and prepared to run a marathon. You don’t have to be productive every hour of the day. Just take care of yourself is all.
Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas
Source: North Texas Daily