So much has happened since Winona’s spring break started. Many of us left for break thinking we’d be back on campus in a week. It seemed like overnight, the pandemic suddenly became real and significantly changed our daily lives.

Change is stressful – especially when that change is a novel virus sweeping the globe.  Whatever you may be feeling during this time, know that is it valid.  It’s normal to be frustrated with this new way of living.

So what does wellness look like during these uncertain times? Wellness is multifaceted, so it requires a multifaceted approach.

Stay Fit Mentally

Student writing out a to-do list.

Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21

My mental/intellectual wellness has definitely been stressed with the switch to online-only classes.  It can be hard to stay focused and motivated, and it’s easy for the to-do list to get long and feel overwhelming.

The key thing that has helped ease the burden of academic stress for me the most: checklists! I make a checklist of everything I need to get done in a given week and divvy it up between the days of the week.  This helps the workload feel more manageable.

Be flexible though – you can’t always predict how long assignments and classwork will take, and sometimes you have to shift the to-do lists around to make everything fit.

….and Physically

Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21

Physical wellness has been a struggle for me as well. Being stuck at home all the time doesn’t motivate me to work out. However when I’m active, all other aspects of my life improve.

It uplifts me emotionally, makes me feel accomplished and ready to tackle other tasks, and it puts me in a better mood so that I can love and support the people around me. But where to start?

If your goal is just to move your body and get fresh air, going for a walk can do wonders. A lot of us are probably doing more sitting than usual and walking on a regular basis will loosen up tight muscles and can help with low back pain.

If you want to find the zen in these crazy times, yoga is awesome. Two of my favorite online yoga resources:

  • If you have an Amazon Prime account, check out 30 Days of Yoga to a New You with Jess Timsit. Most of the videos are between 20-30 minutes long and Jess provides a lot of helpful cues. She does throw in advanced postures pretty early on, but she provides modifications – make sure not to push yourself too hard and get injured!

If I’m not feeling like committing to a whole video, I’ll do a quick flow by myself.  I always incorporate some slow neck circles, down-dog/up-dog and some sort of lunge.  And some days, I just plain don’t feel like working out – and that’s OK!

As we adjust to all these changes and new stresses, sometimes we need days where we just chill and do nothing.

I’ll be checking out some other fitness resources – CorePower Yoga has released some free classes, and Vertical Endeavors (a climbing gym) has posted several free yoga videos on youtube for their Online Unwind series. You can also search online for bodyweight WODs from crossfit gyms that range from moderate difficulty to pretty extreme, so there’s something for the high-intensity folks as well.

–Margaret Treichel ’21

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