Courtesy of Jessica Behan
Due to the nationwide quarantine, we are all staying inside trying to keep ourselves healthy and away from the virus. Instead of getting in a car or bus to go to school, we now just have to travel to our desks and open up our computers. Staying at home and relaxing all day has its benefits, but making a point to prioritize your health is now crucial.
Mental health is an issue that drastically impacts teens. Some teens have found themselves over indulging in unhealthy foods or spending way too much time in front of screens thinking it will relieve their stress. Teens need to find ways to cope with their mental health that is both mentally and physically beneficial for them.
Physical activity helps both the body and mind. Aiming for at least 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity a day is ideal for healthy teens.
“One way I have tried to stay healthy [and]active during quarantine was by dancing,” said sophomore Jessica Behan. “My dance studio started teaching classes on Zoom in March. It was a struggle at first, but now I’m used to it.”
Try to add more activity to your workday by standing up or stretching at your desk. Making it a habit to exercise everyday will bring physical and mental health benefits like sharper focus, more energy throughout the day and an increase in endorphin levels. Going on a short walk, while maintaining social distancing, will not only keep you active but also give you some fresh air.
Now that school is online, we are staring at our computer screens for hours each day. Additionally, we are given homework that is usually also online. According to a report by Common Sense Media, teenagers were already spending an average of seven hours and 22 minutes on their phones a day before the pandemic.
“ I think the school should give us less homework because almost all of our homework is online, and all of our classes are online,” said sophomore Laela Dayan. “On the school days I try to do all my homework. I end up spending up to nine hours on a computer because we have six hours of class and about 30 minutes to an hour of homework each class.”
Students should be using their breaks to walk away from their screens. Looking at a computer screen for a long period of time can cause eye problems like blurred vision, eye strain, and nearsightedness, according to an article by EyeQue. Screens also emit blue light, which can cause problems with trying to sleep at night.
Something as easy as going to bed earlier can be extremely helpful. Having a set time that you go to bed and wake up has been proven to improve both your mental and physical health. According to SCL Health, getting your full eight to nine hours of sleep can boost your immune system, strengthen your heart, improve your memory, and increase productivity. People who go to bed late and wake up late often are more susceptible to mental illnesses and have a higher risk of heart disease.
Eating well and keeping a balanced diet is an easy way to stay healthy. Making sure you eat enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plants, animal proteins, and healthy fats is the best way to get all the essential nutrients that you need.
“I try to eat foods that are rich in protein and fiber,” said sophomore Amen Abebe.
Keeping a balanced diet will help improve your mood, prevent illnesses, and boost your energy and immune system. Drinking water is also very important as it regulates your body temperature, prevents infections, and keeps your organs functioning properly. Teens should be drinking at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day.
While it is tempting to lay in bed every chance you get, keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy is very important during quarantine. These simple alterations can have a big impact on your life and benefit you not only in the moment but also in the long run.