Updated: Mar 11
This year has been full of unexpected twists and turns, and we never got to experience an adjustment phase to the new life we now live. The alteration to our societal normality can cause discord in how we take care of ourselves, physically and mentally.
In such a state of disarray, it is more important now than ever to ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to incorporate forms of activity throughout our daily lives. Fitness and wellness instructor Maureen Reb wants students to remember the importance of incorporating forms of exercise and simultaneously allowing ourselves room to adjust to our new lifestyle.
Allowing yourself to incorporate modes of physical activity can allow for ease of adjustment, especially after one realizes where we are in society's current state and having to adapt to the newfound stressors.
“Set realistic expectations while being kind to yourself … we are all learning new ways to adjust to our situation,” Reb ensured.
Reb stated that we should incorporate "kind movement" of our bodies when living throughout quarantine. This idealization allows for positive interactions with ourselves while holding ourselves accountable to the American Heart Association recommendation for 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week.
“Incorporating this 30-minute quota can be … ten minutes in the morning, ten in the evening, and ten at night … there is always something [physical activity] we could do throughout the day that is good for ourselves,” Reb stated.
This exercise can be through various activities, ranging from taking a walk around your neighborhood, riding your skateboard, or playing in the backyard with your dog. How we incorporate physical activity throughout our lives does not have to fit within the societal idealization of what constitutes exercise, but rather any way in which you allow yourself to go out and get physical will do wonders for your overall wellbeing.
Guerrieri Student Union member Sarah Stark stated that there is no single way to formulate a healthy diet. However, we must take active measures to ensure we supplement the necessary foods that contain Vitamins A, C, and D while incorporating foods high in selenium and zinc.
Through this state of accountability, Stark stated that it is necessary to remember, “There is no one food that is best to boost your immune system. Rather, a healthy, balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats are the best and easiest way to build a strong immune system.”
Holding yourself accountable for incorporating physical health throughout the pandemic is necessary. Still, we must also take measures to ensure that we are also taking steps to better our mental health.
Assistant Director and Counselor of the Salisbury University Counseling Center Nikki Dyer stated that students must take a step back and objectively examine how one is coping.
“People are having to change up how they are coping, and so many aspects of our daily lives … checking in [on coping mechanisms] and acknowledging the coping mechanisms that are not effective, are unhealthy, or put us at risk. Use that as a time to reach out to somebody such as the counseling center or a mental health professional or even someone that you are close with to assist with the healing process,” Dyer communicated.
Through this state of accountability, we must also formulate connections with the people in our lives to ensure a support system's formability.
“I can’t emphasize enough taking time to focus on connections and being more mindful and deliberate about connecting with people. Very few things that apply to every human being, but I think that’s one,” Dyer continued.
Guerrieri Student Union Facilities Coordinator Susan Rodgers stated that it is equally essential to formulate these personal connections with your professors throughout this time. This form of communication is another step in holding ourselves accountable for the ultimate benefit of our overall health.
“We may be trying to do everything right, but it is affecting us. Just acknowledging that and trying to get help from mental and physical agencies can benefit your overall wellbeing … Don’t be afraid to make that phone call and reach out to others,” Rodgers stated.
On top of that, we are experiencing a mental health epidemic, as there are many stressors within our everyday lives. From the continuous state of political discord and ongoing racial oppression and violence implicit within our society to the stress of finals, it’s easy to find ourselves cohesively overwhelmed at the expense of our mental health.
“If they [SU students] are feeling that they need some help with coping and working through to not only manage the effects of the pandemic but all of these things that are building, we want students to feel comfortable reaching out,” Dyer stated.
Even if you feel that the counseling center is not a place where you can receive treatment, the counselors can assist students in connecting with mental health resources in their hometowns.
Although this state of society feels like it’s never-ending, this is simply a snapshot in time for the entirety of our lives. Through working together to assist each other in benefiting our mental and physical health attributes, we will be able to come out on the other side positively and healthily.
Remember to stay safe, wear a mask and wash your hands often.
BY STEPHANIE RIVERA
Gull Life editor
Photo credit: Salisbury University.