Five ways to stay active and mentally engaged during COVID-19

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Amy Iheme, Opinion Editor

During these unprecedented times, the last thing on our mind is how to maintain our health, both physical and mental. During the initial lockdown, people were either eager to get started on the stack of books that had collected dust in the corner of their room or were devastated by the deprivation of social interaction. Even though the pandemic is still going on strong, we have been given some freedom to return back to the new normal. Whether you’re a part of the cohort that is limited to their computer screen for remote learning or keeping a loved one safe by staying indoors as much as possible, here are five ways to keep your mind engaged and maintain your mental health. 


Learn a new language                                                                                

What better time than now to learn a language? Learning a new language not only stimulates the brain but allows us to learn about different cultures around the world while staying safe inside. There are many free and fun apps that can help you achieve this goal such as Duolingo, MemRise and Babbel, that will teach you how to speak the basics of each language in a few short weeks (with consistent practice, of course.) Fun fact: Duolingo is a great language tool for beginners. This would be the app to start. Here are a few fun languages to learn on Duolingo: High Valyrian, Welsh and Klingon. 

Text your friend(s)

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More specifically, text all of the friends in your contacts list. Text that girl from chemistry class that you exchanged numbers with for notes. Text that person that you met at that huge party that you never talked to again. Or hey, text your tailor and give them a cool dress or suit idea that you can rock after quarantine! Whoever it may be, chances are that they have probably been waiting to hear from you– or who knows, they may have bought you a gift that they meant to give you before    quarantine and forgot to give it to you and you texting them may prompt them to mail it to you!                                                         

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Make an obstacle course

Since COVID reduces a lot of fun things people do outside of their home, making an obstacle course inside your home would be a fun, interactive experience for you and your family to do at home. Some objects you could use for your obstacle course can be the same ones that you use for the pillow forts that you built when you were younger (or still build). Lay some pillows on the floor and test your agility as you jump over them, and while you’re at it, test your vision by crawling between two chairs with a blanket draped over them. Wanna try a different way of making an obstacle course? Place some painter’s tape on the ground in distinctive patterns and test your coordination. Completing a few obstacle courses will not only keep you moving during quarantine, it also will help you work on your gross and fine motor skills that might have not been used since the initial lockdown.                                                                              

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Many people at the beginning of quarantine took the opportunity to work on their physical health through the means of exercise. Exercising at home will not only keep you in shape while the gyms are closed, but it will also contribute to having good mental health which is essential during this time in the world. Here are different fitness YouTubers that you can watch to start your at home exercise: PopSugar Fitness (HITT workouts), The Fitness Marshall (Dance Workouts), Yoga With Adriene (Yoga Workouts), Les Mills (Cardio Workouts), Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home (Low-impact Workouts), Fitness Blender (Five-Minute Workouts) and NateBowerFitness (Boxing Workouts).                                                                     

Courtesy of Getty Images (Illustration by Janne Harju)

Create a routine

Creating a routine may be the most important way to keep your mind at ease during taxing times. If you are a person who likes to go with the flow, start small. Instead of planning your whole week from start to finish, try to section out an hour of the day to yourself where you get to relax before returning to your remote activities. Then, once you get used to scheduling that hour of the day to yourself, work your way up to dedicating different hours of the day to different activities. This will then introduce you to creating a routine that you will love to follow.                                                    


Whatever way you may be spending your time in quarantine, these five easy ways will be sure to keep your mind engaged and your body healthy during these unprecedented times.