Written by QCMHA member, Owen Vandenberg
There’s no doubt that this school year has been unlike no other. Our whole world has shifted and eliminated the majority of the quintessential parts of our days, like going to class, going to the gym or being able to see large groups of our friends. Essentially having different daily/weekly events cut out of our lives.
We’ve had to adapt and tailor our life to fit the restrictions put in place, and it can be a difficult process. With the format of classes being online, it provides the opportunity to plan our days around when different class times are available in the week and choose to watch the pre-recorded sessions if we prefer. This can be a great asset, but it can be easy to put off work and leave it for later. Staying focused on studying can be a difficult task while being at home, as it can be easy to get distracted and lose focus while working.
One significant way this has impacted my life is that staying active has changed from the traditional “go to the ARC reality.” Be it to workout out or play pick-up basketball; this was a pretty regular event in my schedule. These are also ways to socialize with other people apart from doing schoolwork, and not having this has been a big change.
So, where did that leave me? I have found it so crucial for my mental health to be active in my day throughout my life. It’s a time to not think about the different stresses in life and focus on the activity at hand. Exercise has been shown to have positive influences on mental health and well-being. Even modest amounts of exercise can help with common mental health issues but can also improve memory, improve sleep and boost both physical and mental energy.
Not having access to the ARC in the ways I desired made me find new ways to be active and pick up new habits. This year I have been running and going on walks quite a bit. I use them as a way to not only stay fit but also to de-stress my mind from things like schoolwork, and I’ll take breaks in my day from studying to do so. Taking breaks has been a key resource for me in my studies. Personally, working for hours on end isn’t the most efficient method and can be really draining overall. The breaks I use whether it’s to go on a walk down and around the pier, a 20-minute run or a quick at-home workout, are moments in the day to enjoy the moment and work on bettering myself.
It can be very easy to be caught up in schoolwork and stressful settings. Having changes in setting in the day and incorporating them into a daily routine can be hugely beneficial. Staying active can contribute heavily to personal gain in one’s mental and physical health and is a staple in my daily routine.
I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the semester!