Like many other Americans, college students across the nation are struggling to maintain a productive and healthy lifestyle while COVID-19 restricts daily life.
Continued limitations this summer mean daily routines aren’t going back to normal, which can make it easy to stay at home and do nothing all day, waiting for the world to reopen. However, according to personal trainer and pilates instructor Rhonda Coe, students don’t have to wait to cultivate good habits and healthy patterns.
Coe said encouraging others to maintain or even start a healthy lifestyle has to start with a plan beginning wherever that individual is personally.
“It is important to remember that it does not matter when or where one starts, but that they start, Coe said. “The benefits of productivity over being stagnant all day end up multiplying and flow into many aspects of your overall health.”
Even something as simple as waking up and getting dressed for a purpose can help one gain the motivation to complete tasks planned for the day, Coe said.
“This little change in frame of mind has personally helped me because if you dress for a purpose, you feel like your actions have more purpose and matter more,” Coe said.
While days can seem to blend together, Coe said waking up with a plan can provide the motivation and encouragement to keep a positive attitude throughout the whole day.
“This self-accountability helps our minds and bodies to remain calm and optimistic because each day is a chance to accomplish something new,” Coe said.
Coe said during these difficult and unexpected times it is okay for individuals to have days where they might be unproductive.
“Mental stress can run you down,” Coe said. “Remember that you cannot do absolutely everything and it is not always going to be picture perfect, and that’s okay.”
Biomedical sciences junior Hope Pattison said college students, like herself, who have struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle over the past few months should start with a few small changes.
“It’s unrealistic to set up so many expectations for yourself and keep up with all of them,” Pattison said.“Starting with the one small change of working out led to a lot of bigger changes that I’ve incorporated into my life over the past few months and proved to myself that it’s possible to sustain.”
For interdisciplinary studies senior Audrey Scott, rewards for being productive have helped incentivize her to take care of her mental health.
“I’m definitely in better spirits when I am productive rather than when I’m not,” Scott said. “Days that I am unproductive I feel more tired and unmotivated. On my productive days I usually reward myself with a relaxing night.”
When struggling to maintain a consistent schedule toward a healthy lifestyle, Coe said it is important that students remind themselves of the end goal or purpose.
“Take a deep breath from time to time and remind yourself why you are taking these steps to care for your body,” Coe said. “Be present with yourself and the people around you because this time will go by no matter what and you deserve to enjoy it.”