Zooming By: Taking Care of Your Health in a Virtual World

By Kaitlin Foo

[4 minute read]

Editor’s note:

If you are looking for things to keep you occupied during quarantine, look no further than this article! If you have your own perspective on how you cope with quarantine or any other topic you feel strongly about, you too can share these thoughts on our blog. We are opening the ALI Life and Times to any USC student who is interested in contributing. If you would like to submit a blog article for potential publication, please email hacco@usc.edu -Natalie Grace Sipula, Editor

Right now, many of us are working and attending school virtually. During this time, the fatigue of being stationary all day can have a negative effect on both our bodies and our mental health. I’m here to show you how to switch up your routine, try something new, or even get back into a hobby you may have quit a long time ago!

Take a break from your screen
Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

When we are on our laptops or phones for long hours at a time, our eyes make micro-movements, which put more strain on our eyes than necessary. To combat this, I do an eye exercise to “stretch” my eyeball. Make sure that your face is still; it is just your eyes that are moving! First, look up, look down, then left and right for 2 seconds each. Then I like to draw a circle with my eyes in a clockwise direction, then again counterclockwise. 

When I do this exercise, I find that my eyes feel less strained, and I can quickly jump back into my work. This is a simple, fast, and effective way to tend to your eye health.

Pick up a new hobby (or revisit an old one)
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

I know, I know. A hobby? That’s soooo first-two-months-of-quarantine! But hear me out: I, like many others, fell into the trap of wanting to do everything I’d never had the chance to do when we were just starting to quarantine. However, this ended up backfiring and I ended up half-learning a bunch of hobbies (sewing, sign language, baking). 

This time, I want you to commit to just one doable hobby that you will see to fruition. This could be an entirely new hobby, like learning how to make lattes at home, or an old hobby (I recently picked up piano again because I realized I had never gotten to the level of proficiency I’d wanted as a child).

The important part of fully completing a hobby is to choose something that is feasible and then set a goal. You want to learn how to make lattes at home? That’s doable. Now set a goal: you might want to learn specifically how to make a matcha latte and a caramel latte. This ensures that you have a tangible objective to fulfill and having that end goal will propel you to complete this task. 

Start Journaling
Photo by Mathilde LMD on Unsplash

It’s easy to push your mental health on the backburner while trying to keep yourself from burning out. During this pandemic, I found myself dragging up old memories, inspecting them closely and over-analyzing them. With no outlet, these new revelations and analyses constantly bounced around in my brain. 

For me, the most effective way to have a sort of mental release is to journal. I find that physically writing my thoughts and feelings out on paper is a very cathartic experience. By releasing all the thoughts in my brain onto paper, it helps those thoughts become tangible and more manageable. It relieves my stress, allows me to self-reflect, and keeps my thoughts organized. It can be difficult to deal with your own feelings, especially when you feel that it is hard to talk to someone about them. If you find this to be the case, journaling may be an effective release for you.

I know what you’re thinking. Many of the above suggestions seem incredibly cliche! Everyone has suggested these, how unoriginal, yada yada. And I get it. I really do! But stick with me here; these are simple and achievable action items that have helped me throughout the past 6 months, and they might help you as well.

The pandemic has put a lot of strain on everyone the past 6 months, and you may find yourself more fatigued and exhausted as time goes on. It can be difficult to find motivation and take that extra step to take care of your health. But don’t worry! There are always small and simple actionable steps for you to take to ensure that you can be your best self. 

Featured Image by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Kaitlin is a senior majoring in Business Administration. She grew up in Southern California and interned in Singapore this past summer. She spends her free time visiting new boba shops, streaming Netflix, and searching for the best spots to study on campus. She likes kayaking and good food – ask her for some recommendations! Kaitlin is looking forward to getting to know you; she can help with conversational skills, English slang, editing essays, career and interview preparation, and anything else you need!