Tips to make sure maintaining physical and mental health this school year

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For students coming back to school, it may be difficult to put your health first. Here are nine tips students can use to maintain their physical and mental health.

  • Surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good. Maintaining social contact (while following safety guidelines) with someone can make your community stronger and help individuals feel less isolated/ lonely, especially during a pandemic. 
  • Make time for your hobbies or things that make you happy. People who set aside time for hobbies/activities they like are less likely to suffer from depression, bad mood, and stress. This can also include joining a club, extra curricular activity, or volunteering. 
  • Set priorities and make reasonable goals. This can help reduce stress and lower workload for the future.
  • Ask for help when you need it. This can be as simple as talking to a friend, family or loved one. Resources on campus include teachers, counselors, and several clubs like Pearmount support group. 
  • Focus on positive thoughts. Choose to dwell on the positive rather than the negative. Maintain a sense of hope and remember things you are grateful for. Focusing on the positive can reduce stress and anxiety. 
  • Keep a regular routine. That it is beneficial to have a consistent time for meals, getting dressed, studying, extra curricular activities, and bedtime. Having a routine can make you feel more in control.
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  • Eating a nutritious diet. Eating a healthy diet keeps you fit and is good for your immune system. A healthy diet includes high quality fats (seeds, avocados, nuts), carbohydrates (starchy vegetables, bread, grains, pasta), proteins (beans, legumes, eggs, dairy), and avoiding junk foods. It also helps to start with small changes in your diet and then moving from there.
  • Exercise Daily. During school, most students are sitting for a majority of the day. Exercising can boost the immune system, prevent weight gain, improve sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety. Simple exercises can include stretching, yoga, or meditation. Due to the pandemic, it is safer to exercise in a place where you can practice social distancing. 
  • Take eye breaks to reduce eye strain during online school. The 20-20-20 rule should be used when taking an eye break. This means looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.  It is also helpful to position your light source behind you to reduce light shining directly to your eyes. 

Sources: Mayo Clinic, Nuvance Health, World Health Organization, American Society for Nutrition and Harvard Health.