Melissa Azofeifa is a senior journalism major.
As entire states, like California and now New York, go into lockdown (shutting down schools and non-essential businesses, and transitioning universities to online classes) a lot of students might be asking themselves how they can stay productive from home.
There is a whirlwind of change happening as the world tries to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19); we cannot underestimate the importance of maintaining good mental health to be able to stay productive as people transition to working from home and remote learning. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following:
- Taking care of your physical well-being.
This includes adopting good habits like getting enough sleep, eating healthy and well-balanced meals, staying active and avoiding drugs and alcohol. Though gyms are closed in New York, there are alternatives to staying active. Whether you live in a suburban area or an urban city, you can take a walk or run around your neighborhood. You can also go cycling if you own a bicycle. If you have pets like dogs, you can take them to your local park and indulge in fresh outside air. Quarantine doesn’t require you to stay within four walls, so long as you maintain physical distance from people.
2. Connect with loved ones.
Although we are encouraged to isolate as much as possible, we are fortunate to have the ability to connect with our loved ones at our fingertips. All carriers now offer unlimited texting while smartphones and computers universally have the ability to make video calls. Social distancing does not mean “ghosting” those most important to us. It is important to voice our concerns with them and maintain communication to maintain good mental health.
3. Take breaks to unwind.
Try to take time to do things you enjoy to blow off some steam. Those things that distract you from the anxiety-inducing thoughts and make it easier to cope and stay calm. Celebrities are doing things like live video chats with their fans on apps like Instagram and Twitter. Take time to tune in and enjoy those. Something I personally have found helpful is coloring or listening to my favorite music or streaming my favorite shows.
4. Stay informed.
Stay up to date with news from officials and reputable sources like the CDC. Be conscious that there will be rumors spreading through social media so always check your sources.
5. Avoid too much exposure to the news.
It’s good to stay updated but it is important to take breaks from the news, as it can become overwhelming to deal with and process. Too much of anything isn’t good, the news is no exception to that.
6. Seek help when needed.
As recommended on the CDC website: “if distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, or doctor, or contact [the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration] SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-985-5990.”
For SBU students, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is also still taking calls should you feel the need for counseling — call 631-632-6720.
Once you are sure you are in a well enough mental state to get some work done, get to it!
Assistant Vice President of Student Health, Wellness and Prevention Services, Marisa Bisiani, recommended students try to replicate their original schedule as much as possible in this week’s university podcast, “Beyond The Expected.”
“Taking aspects of your old routine and adding it, will give you some feeling of normalcy,” she said.
Something that I personally have found helpful is to not do work in my bedroom, couch or living room. Find a table away from the family where it is quiet and where you can set up and get the job done. It is important to also remind yourself that you are still just as accountable as you were while you were on campus for your grades. If you feel like you’re watching too much TV and should be doing work, you probably are. Keep up as much as you can with your assignments.
COVID-19 has shaken up every aspect of life as we, students, know it. While we were on campus, most of us have been in positions where we had to focus and do what it took to do well in our classes. Although this transition is abrupt and will take some time getting used to, we can’t let this be any different.
Despite how scary this crisis can seem and however bad it gets, there will be a day when this is over. As college students, we are in the process of learning what it is like to sacrifice and persevere in a time as chaotic as this one. Staying productive as we work from our homes is just another hurdle that we can and will get through.