Hi AFSF readers! This is Hannah –– I’m an assistant here at A Foodie Stays Fit. I do lots of things for AFSF, but I’d say my niches are fashion and email marketing. I’m a junior at Samford University in Birmingham, AL and a Winston-Salem native. I am currently home (as most/all students now are) taking my classes online. It’s been a little bit of an adjustment, as #socialdistance has been for everyone, so we thought a blog post focused on tips for college students getting through quarantine was appropriate.
Tips for College Students Getting Through Quarantine
So college is canceled. Now what?
I’m no expert, but after starting to settle in these last few weeks, I’ve learned a few things worth sharing. Here are my tips and ideas for college students (and anyone, really) as we navigate all of the changes due to quarantine/COVID-19.
Cue all sentimental feelings. Back when we didn’t know a pandemic was on the horizon. That’s me on the far bottom left.
Tips for online school success
Go to bed on time
Going to bed at a reasonable hour sounds like the simplest thing in the world when you are stuck at home. However, I’ve found that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to go to sleep before 11:30 PM, which for me, is not reasonable. At school, I would typically go to bed around 10:30 PM and I’d fall asleep by 10:45. I wouldn’t spend hours on my phone because I was genuinely exhausted. Since I’m no where near as tired (due to the fact that I lay low all day), it takes more will power and discipline to make this happen. But going to bed on time instantly gets my schedule back in shape, which makes focusing much easier.
“Go to class” at your usual time
Sounds easy, also difficult. Each professor is handling online class differently than the next, so creating a “normal” schedule can be hard to do. I recommend sitting down to do your work at the same time that you’d normally be sitting in your professor’s class. If you usually meet at 8:00am, then set your alarm and prepare to be ready to go at 8:00. The benefit here is that you don’t have to get ready ;). If you can make yourself “show up” to class on time, the work that you’re assigned (whether it’s due during that time or not) will get completed and you won’t need to give it another thought after 9:00 (or whenever class ends).
Make yourself move as much as you would on a normal day
If you normally walk 0.4 miles to class, try to make yourself move at least that much. Without knowing it, you are moving your body a significant amount during a normal day at your school. I walk 0.8 miles to my first class from my room every morning at school, and then back again after lunch. So we are talking 2-ish miles a day without a normal workout or walk during the afternoon. There have been days where I’ve only walked around the block one time in a day since I’ve been home. And I notice a massive difference in my attitude and focus when I’m moving my body.
Eat at the time you normally would
If you normally have breakfast before class, have breakfast before class online. This will help your body to feel normal when everything in your life feels upside down. And do the same thing for lunch. If you typically have lunch during a class break, give yourself time to eat. Making your schedule as “normal” as possible will make school more manageable.
Do something fun after class, just like you normally would
The best part of college is the fact that you’re having fun, or “playing” as my friends and I say, everyday. I live in a sorority house with 70 girls, so we hang out all night long. Picture a sleepover and then multiply that by 9 months of school. We have the best time together at night, whether it’s watching the Bachelor or making cookies. I recommend coming up with something fun to do in the evenings with your family to help you feel like you are having a normal day.
Tips for staying connected
Zoom dates with friends
My friends and I are having a hard time not being together, as you can imagine if you are used to living with 70 of them! Something we’ve been doing recently to say connected is planning a “Zoom date”. Zoom is essentially like Facetime, but made for a massive group pf people. We all get on a call at the same time and catch up. It’s so helpful to see everyone’s face and hear what they’ve been doing. We like it better than Facetime because Facetime moves the screens around the whole time which is distracting. Zoom calls are free for up to 40 minutes as long as you have fewer than 100 people on.
My sorority’s semi formal was supposed to happen last week, so we had a virtual semi on Zoom. I won’t forget that memory any time soon.
I have a few friends who sent me letters over the last few days and it’s been such a fun surprise in the mail. I recently found out about an app called Ink Card that is having a promotional deal where you can choose a postcard from their app, fill it out, and they will ship it for FREE to your friend. I’ve been using this regularly since I found out about it and I’m loving it. Note: only the first postcard you send is free; after that it costs $2 (including postage).
Start a bookclub
It might sound like something you though you would start in your 30’s, not when you’re in the midst of college, but it can be a really fun way to connect with your friends over something mutual. My dear friend Eliza has a blog post with her favorite book recommendations. Even though Amazon’s shipping has changed a little due to the corona virus, Barnes and Noble is doing curbside pick-up at select stores, and you can always download audio books from Audible.
Download Marco Polo
Marco Polo is an app that lets you send short videos to a group of friends and it saves the videos so you can re-watch them. It’s like having a conversation in real life! My friends (97 of us, actually) have a group chat going on now and it’s so fun to hang out on.
Tips for staying healthy and active
Pick up a new sport/activity
For me, this is Pilates. I’ve always been a runner, and at school I go to a boxing class 5 times a week that I love. I’m used to fast-pace and sweaty workouts. Pilates is realllllly different than running or boxing, but it’s been so good for me. It’s making me slow down and focus on specific muscles. It’s also improving my posture. My mom and I decided to do 1 pilates class on the Aaptiv app every day of quarantine. So far, so good. If you don’t have Aaptiv, definitely look into it. It has 1000’s of workouts and the music/coaches are really fun.
I’m also going on more bike rides than ever before!
Challenge yourself to hit a steps goal
Like I said earlier, this is something that I noticed right away. I was not moving even CLOSE to the amount that I do at school. Keeping track of my steps humbled me pretty quickly. Now that I know how little I’ve been moving, it’s encouraged me to take more walks (which my golden retriever loves). Moving has also been helping me get to bed earlier since I’m more worn out.
Add a new recipe (salad, for me) to your day
Teri laughs as I type this because she knows I don’t like salad. We always joke about this because I work for the biggest salad lover of all time. I’m growing in my appreciation, though. I’ve started incorporating a simple salad into my lunches almost everyday and It hasn’t been to bad. I’ve found that adding a ton of nuts and croutons really helps mask the “yard” taste. 😉
Teri has an entire e-book filled with salad recipes here!
Here’s a photo of the best salad of my life (not in quarantine).
Buy a new book and read a chapter in bed at night instead of scrolling through instagram
I’ve been re-breaking in my Kindle this week. Since Amazon isn’t shipping as quickly as they used to, I decided I’d buy the books I want on my Kindle so that I could read them at night with my lights off. So far, I really like this new habit. It’s making me fall asleep much faster than my phone does. Before splurging on a Kindle, save some money and re-read your favorite book that’s already on your shelf!
Set a time limit on your social media and abide by it
This is one of those rules that I feel guilty writing, because I can’t remember the last time I actually obeyed Instagram’s time-limit prompt. I’m always guilty of pressing “15 more minutes”. However, I know for a fact that If I actually started obeying it, I would be so much more productive and probably happier, too! Especially these days, when social media is flooded with stressful, anxiety inducing content about COVID-19.
Set a bed time and an alarm to get up to daily
This is an easy one, but will make a huge difference If you aren’t doing this already. Get 8 hours of sleep (a perk of quarantine if you aren’t used to getting good sleep) and make sure you start your day on time.
Make your water goal achievable
I have been chugging water now that I’m stuck at home. At school my excuse for not drinking enough water is “But I always have to use the restroom and it’s so annoying!” Well…at least now the restroom is convenient? My skin is clearing up (which also might have to do with wearing much less makeup) and my digestive system feels really good.
Similar to my new found like (not love quite yet) of Pilates. I literally never have time to stretch at school.
Try not to eat late at night
I am ALL for a dessert run at midnight to sonic with my friends at school. But I’ve found that eating a midnight snack is one of the contributing factors of me staying up late. It’s hard for me to fall asleep after a brownie…wonder why…
Tips for college students getting through quarantine: Other fun ideas
We all know that we’re having to get creative with fun things to do around the house. I’ve started enjoying things I literally NEVER would have enjoyed doing now that I’m stuck. Like mowing the lawn…I’m obviously getting desperate. Here are some ideas that I’ve tried or seen others doing.
Fancy dinner at home
I made focaccia bread from scratch one afternoon which led to the idea of having a special Italian night outside. It was really nice to set the table and light candles. And a perfect distraction from quarantine.
Or in my case, mowing the lawn. I never thought I’d be into yard work, but I also never thought I’d be living through a pandemic…! I’ve been noticing beautiful yards much more often now that I’m going on so many walks. I never really appreciated that until now!
Clean out your closet out with a podcast
This is actually something I wish I could do. Almost every single piece of clothing I own is in my dorm room at school. Once I get that stuff back, I’m excited to clean it out and re-discover my spring/summer clothes. I love listening to podcasts like American History Tellers and The Thing About Pam while I clean.
Unfollow toxic accounts on social media
There’s no better time than the present to deep clean your social media accounts! I also recommend asking some friends which accounts they love to follow for inspiration or a good laugh. A few of my favorites are Julia Engle and Olivia Beth. And of course, A Foodie Stays Fit!
Support your local businesses
For real, y’all. This is a really good time to show some love to your local coffee shop and restaurants. It’s been so encouraging to see so many people supporting their local businesses. They need us – and honestly we need them too. If you haven’t already, order take-out or get something delivered if possible. It’s so hard for me to not be in Birmingham to support my favorite places there, but I am definitely loving on my Winston-Salem peeps.
Face mask and bath
This is the thing I imagine doing while I’m at school and bogged down with commitments. And all of a sudden I’m able to do have a bath any day I want! I recommend Beautycounter’s Charcoal Face Mask or the Sugar Body Scrub.
Start a Happy List
This is something I’ve been doing for years and I LOVE it. You can see mine here. It’s gotten really long, in a good way! Start one on your phone or in your house.
If you have any other unique ideas for quarantine, please share! We are ALL in this together. Here’s a virtual high-five from me until we can give then in real life. I can’t wait for that.
You can follow along with me during this season over on Instagram.