• Clarissa Del Rio

Self Care During a Time of Isolation

This year has been filled with change. From how we socialize, pick up our groceries and attend school and work, change is all around us. Everything we do is adjusted to keep us healthy and safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking care of our physical health is of great importance; however, it is essential to keep up with our mental health and well being. If your self-care routine has seemed to have slipped through the cracks during quarantine and social distancing, or if you are feeling burnt out with everything going on, it may be time to reevaluate your personal care patterns. Things are not going to return to “normal” anytime soon, so if you are feeling drained, here are some tips on how to put yourself first in 2020.

Many people assume that you need to have “something wrong with you” to see a therapist or counselor. This stigma could not be further from the truth. Just like you go to a doctor or dentist for a checkup, your mental health also requires frequent checkups. Just like the rest of your body, the same standards should be applied to your mind. After all, would you go 20 years without seeing a dentist? Do you only see a doctor when you are experiencing a medical emergency? Therapy can give you the tools needed to cope with the stress of everyday life, not just traumatic events. In fact, people see therapists for a plethora of reasons such as stressing situations, navigating big life choices, expressing oneself in a healthy way, reflecting personal patterns and building better relationships. Here at USF there are both in-person and online options to receive therapy. And yes, it is included in your tuition!

You may have heard of the “freshman 15” but how about the “quarantine 15?” One of the most important parts of our self care includes getting adequate exercise and having a balanced diet. With gyms being closed, us being stuck at home and the opportunity to overeat, many of us have inevitably put on a couple of pounds. Do not panic! There are thousands of resources online to get you up and moving. For instance, there are pre-recorded Zumba sessions on YouTube to stay active during quarantine. On top of this, Pinterest also provides endless ideas for healthy recipes and workout routines. The best part? Both of these platforms are completely free and work around your schedule. Even if you did not gain weight during quarantine, exercise and diet are still critical in improving sleep quality, energy levels, and brain health and memory, according to Healthline, a health information website. You have nothing to lose and endless positives to gain from setting aside 30 minutes to break a sweat and adding some more fruits and veggies to your diet.

To say that 2020 has been a difficult year would be an understatement. After all, we are in the middle of an election, a worldwide social movement for racial equality, a pandemic and even murder hornets are roaming the Earth. And to be a student during all of it makes it even more challenging. The circumstances of the time will affect our mental well-being. As much as we want to stay in the loop of these important world-wide events, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is unplug for an hour or a day from social media and the news. The most important thing you can do for your mental health is to be kind to yourself. Also try to keep in mind that we are all trying to figure out this chaotic year. We are in this together! USF senior Denise Lopez encourages us to "Take that nap. Everything else can wait.” Remember that it is perfectly okay if all you did today was breathe. However, it is not okay to put your well-being and mental health last on the list of things we have to grapple with in 2020. Take care of yourself first! The rest will follow.

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