By Canela Castro ’23 & Ava Tourgeman ’23
With online school, maintaining mental and physical health is a challenge, but it is essential that students do so. We interviewed two key Immaculate Heart mental health professionals who offered some ways you can improve your well-being.
Quarantining with your family can be very difficult, not to mention the seven hours of online school and additional homework you have to complete on top of it! It can be extremely stressful and draining, and with all this pressure it is vital that you keep up your mental and physical health. Some might think that your mental and physical health are two separate things. The fact is, they are one; if you are physically ill, your mental health is affected and if you are too stressed out, you can get sick!
To really understand how to stay healthy during quarantine, IH freshman academic counselor Rachel Hirshberg and IH science teacher Lisa Hellinger, who teaches the freshman health class, provided some tips on staying happy and healthy during this new school year.
For example, both said students should not be glued to their screens all day. Instead, they suggested that during breaks, students should trade activities, such as watching movies for taking a bath, going on a walk, or starting a hobby that will take you away from the computer screen. Ms. Hellinger shared that she has begun painting after school as a way to relieve stress. Her students, she said, have taken up knitting, sewing and even skateboarding.
Ms. Hirshberg also suggested taking “patio lunches with your dogs, listening to your favorite songs to transition from your five-minute break into your next period and, DIY self-care ideas online during lunch.”
Both Ms. Hirshberg and Ms. Hellinger stressed the importance of engaging our other senses after school and even during the day. They suggested that you “prioritize your work, take breaks, and make sure you are setting exact time limits for each subject and to ask your teachers how long a certain assignment should take you.” Ultimately, both Ms. Hellinger and Ms. Hirshberg believe it is best to discover by “trial and error” different methods of studying and different hobbies in order to find out what works best for you!
Interviewing these two mental health guides made us realize that there are not only specific things we can do to get by during this quarantine, but that these strategies can actually be advantageous and make us feel better than we did before.
For all students, especially the freshman and transfers, we advise you not to be afraid. Reach out to Ms. Hellinger and Ms. Hirshberg, along with any other faculty member, about concerns or feelings you might have about this pandemic. Students need to understand that mental health is extremely important. If not managed correctly, your mental health can negatively affect your physical health!
Featured graphic from National Institute of Mental Health.