Self-Care during a pandemic is important to maintain

Mariana Vasquez, staff writer

We are now seven months into a national pandemic and it is not getting any easier. Covid-19 has been a crazy time and it feels to be dragging on for months and months. Besides the obvious setbacks and problems that we are facing because of  Covid, for example not having places open, having to no longer go to school, and doing it at home remotely; Covid has caused a significant increase in depression, isolation, loneliness, and increased stress.

Emotional and mental health is important because it’s a vital part of your life and impacts your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Being healthy emotionally can promote productivity and effectiveness in activities like work, school, or caregiving.

I reached out to John Randich Jr., one of the deans at Joliet Central to see some of the things he recommends that students do along with something the school is trying to put into regulation during this pandemic. This is what he had to say to a few questions that I asked him. What students can do to take of themselves?  Research has shown that any physical activity enhances in a positive way a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. He said  “Many students that I talk with that are struggling have been “stuck” in their homes.”  My suggestion is to get out and at least walk for thirty minutes a day.”  Another item I would encourage teens to consider is to limit time spent on or in front of electronic equipment.  Many adults I know to do this and are struggling so I can only imagine how teens are doing.  I call it “escape the grid.”  Because technology has addictive qualities to it this can be very hard to do.  Another suggestion is to safely meet up with friends.  In most cases, this would mean virtually, but use platforms like Zoom to schedule regular meetings with friends.  It will never replace in-person hangouts but it is second best. As a school and a community, We will continue to ask teachers to check in with their student’s well being.  During this pandemic, it is more important now than ever.  We have support staff (counselors, deans, social workers) that are making phone calls to parents and students.  Sometimes, school staff is unaware of the needs of students, with that being said, I would suggest sending an email to your best teacher or one that you are comfortable talking with and make that suggestion.  In most cases, the teacher will listen to the student.

Here are some suggestions on what you can do to help yourself during these stressful times and or help others. Remember you aren’t the only one feeling this way and theft even the adults in life right now are in the same boat as you are. 

  • Take care of your body– Attempt to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly(go for a walk, do a 10-minute workout), and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Even if these substances seem more accessible for you as you are stuck at home avoid them.
  • Connect with others– Share your concerns and express how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system. A lot of people are in the same boat during these times you are not alone.
  • Take breaks– Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. This is an important set-aside time for you to do whatever you want to do and like to do.
  • Stay informed– When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous, because of the uncertain future. Watch, listen to or read the news for updates from officials. Do not let random social media be your only source of news, check for credibility. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. 
  • Avoid too much exposure to the news– Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. Over reading about Covid and the images out there will cause paranoia after constantly looking at them and hearing about Covid. 
  • Seek help when needed– If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, or doctor, or contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-985-5990.