Since March 14, all JCPS students have been off of school due to the evolving presence of coronavirus in Louisville.
Beacuse Manual students are used to a rigorously-paced schedule and a considerable workload, the sudden absence of structure may cause anxiety or depression, and being distanced from friends could also accentuate these feelings. On Saturday, RedEye asked Manual students on Instagram how they have been preserving their mental health in this unforeseen break from school.
The Instagram users’ answers fit into five different categories: indulging in hobbies, not taking care of their mental health at all, exercising or doing yoga, scheduling their day or practicing mindfulness through meditation or another method of their choosing.
Some hobbies Manual students listed were: spending time outside, laying in hammocks, listening to music, drawing, practicing an instrument, playing video games, eating, doing puzzles and reading. Indulging in a hobby can help manage a student’s mental health by adding structure to their day and giving them something to which they can look forward. Practicing a constructive hobby during the extended break could lead to it becoming a permanent habit, which could improve a student’s lifestyle over all.
Exercise or yoga
A great way to improve your mental health is to exercise. It’s beneficial to your body as a whole, not only your brain. Students who were involved in spring sports prior to the break are doing workouts administered by their coaches, and even Manual’s athletic trainer, Taylor Zuberer, is jumping in on the action by sharing workouts on Instagram
Sticking to a schedule
Incorporating a schedule into every-day life during the coronavirus break can improve mental health significantly. For some, a schedule works because it emulates the feeling of going to school everyday, and for others, it simply sits with them well to follow a routine. A routine can be something as simple as getting up at the same time every day, practicing a hobby every day or doing homework at a certain time. This gives the brain something to look forward to and provides a sense of security.
Mindfulness and meditation
A small number of Manual students wrote that they were meditating to keep their brain healthy. However, meditating isn’t the only way to practice mindfulness. Simply being aware of the current situation and keeping yourself informed can help you feel at ease. Whether this means following the news or keeping in touch with your friends, it works the same. Mindfulness can bring forth a sense of calm, and it can be achieved by doing anything that brings you peace, like journaling, drawing or listening to music.
In a situation that no current Manual student has dealt with before, it’s vital to check in with your friends and prioritize your well being using any of these tactics or one of your own. Mental health is as important now as ever, so anything you can do to keep yourself healthy should be a priority.
Not managing mental health
23% of Manual students surveyed claimed they were making no effort to manage their mental health. Since there is very little structure during breaks off school, it is difficult for some people to stay positive. Students who are dealing with this problem may benefit from taking a look at the way other students are handling the coronavirus to improve their day-to-day lives. It is important to remember that this, too, shall pass. If you’re feeling lonely, reach out to a friend. Even if you aren’t lonely, reach out to a friend anyway- there’s no telling who could use it.