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  • Amogha Koka, Brittany Tran, Carmen Boixo, and Samantha Kwock

Maintaining your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic can be extremely difficult, but there are several healthy methods that can help to manage any stressful, overwhelming emotions. Here is a variety of resources and activities that can help to boost mental health:


EXERCISE

There are many ways to get a workout into your busy day! If you don’t have any equipment, you can regularly take walks, go running, or go hiking. Participating in non-contact sports like golf, tennis, and track and field can also be a great source of exercise. During the COVID-19 pandemic, safety and health have been of utmost importance. Here are various at-home workouts you can try out as well: yoga, Pilates, Zumba, HIIT workouts, and weightlifting! Whatever you choose to do, we hope you enjoy your workout!


MEDITATION AND STRETCHING

There are several calming podcasts and videos that you can watch in order to wind down and relax after a stressful day, including the “Mindfulness Meditation” Podcast and “The Honest Guys” YouTube Channel.


Here is a simple stretch sequence from FitnessBlender that can done for a few minutes each day to relax and relieve stress:










EAT HEALTHY

One aspect of well-being that can drastically affect mental health is physical health and nutrition. Eating a more nutrient dense diet can improve mood and energy levels throughout the day. Try to opt for whole grain carbohydrates, such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or potatoes instead of white starches. Also aim to include at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day. Another great substitute is to switch out red meat products with fish. Finally, try to cut down on saturated fats and sugars including fatty meat cuts, sausages, butter, and cream.


SLEEP WELL

Having a good night’s sleep is extremely important in order to feel refreshed and energized during the day. For relaxing sounds and music that may help you fall asleep, check out the Relax Melodies app and Calm app. To ensure that you’re receiving adequate sleep regularly, you can track your sleep schedule with the Sleep Cycle app.


UNWIND AND RELAX

It is important to take some time to yourself in order to unwind and relax. Some good ways to do this include reading books or listening to podcasts. Here are some podcasts you may want to check out: Headspace app, “Sleep with Me” Podcasts, “Daily Meditation” Podcasts. Additionally, you can use the Libby app on your device to find eBooks and audiobooks. It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all method for relaxing. Do whatever works for you!


CONNECT WITH OTHERS

Connecting with others is essential to our mental health. It’s important to regularly talk to family and friends. Don’t hesitate to seek help if you feel isolated, chances are some of your family and friends may be feeling this way too. There are also online resources and hotlines available, including the Samaritans Helpline at 1-877-870-4673. This hotline provides 24/7 support to any adult feeling isolated, depressed, or suicidal.

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  • Camellia Liu, Brenda Lopez, Sara Sandri, and Karishma Shah

Last week, I drove to perhaps the best place on earth: Costco. The goal of my trip was to discover whether or not they had vegan cheese, but I ended up discovering a rather disappointing fact—people truly do not know how to wear masks properly. As I wandered the dairy and cheese aisle, I couldn’t help but notice the countless number of people who would wear masks in a way which basically defeats their entire purpose. Some were below the nose, some were above the mouth, and some weren’t even on at all. I noticed masks hanging by people's ears and my personal favorite of the day: a mask nearly covering one man’s eyes, leaving his nose and mouth area completely exposed. The worst part? He was a staff member! Though this initially humored me, the risks associated with such tendencies are serious.

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and can live in nasal and respiratory passageways. When a person with COVID-19 sneezes, coughs, or breathes, COVID-19 particles are released. Someone nearby can inhale these particles and become infected. There are many ways that people can be infected with the virus. That’s why we want to make sure that not only are we protected, but others are as well! When we wear masks below our nose, we increase our own risk of getting the virus. And when we wear masks above or below our mouths, we increase the chance that others around us could get infected. Thus, it is extremely important for your safety to wear your mask in such a way that it covers your nose and mouth since these are the two openings by which COVID-19 can enter your body. For the sake of others around us, we need to make sure that when we’re wearing masks, they fit snugly without any gaps.


Masks are able to produce a barrier that prevents your respiratory droplets from reaching others while also protecting you—though the degree of effectiveness varies depending on the material of your mask. To decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission, you should wear a mask consisting of multiple layers of fabric to create a barrier between your nose and mouth and the air in the environment. Different types of masks are available and it is important to wear an effective mask for your safety and the safety of others. The CDC recommends medical procedure masks, cotton masks, masks with inner filter pockets, and masks with two to three layers.

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Anil Chaganti is a 1st year Molecular, Cell, and

pursuing medicine.

What do you wish you experienced at UCLA?

Anil: I was really looking forward to the dorm life as a freshman and experiencing more hands-on opportunities such as in-person volunteering, research, and medical opportunities that I’ve now missed out on.


How does online learning compare to

in-person high school learning?

Anil: Academically, this environment is much better for me to retain information because I am more focused at home and am able to be more organized. I am able to be more on top of it and understand material better since I am only taking 3-4 classes. However, it has also been harder than high school because it’s hard to form study groups and have peer interactions in classes.


What's it like joining clubs and finding friends?

Anil: Personally, clubs have been a big let down since the socials are not really interactive and are stagnant, although I still appreciate the effort. Also, finding clubs that offer what I like has been hard since it’s an information overload and I feel lost. In classes, breakout rooms don’t help and can be super awkward at times since most people have their mics and cameras off. The social aspect of my first year of college has been a let down sadly. However, I have my hopes up for next year and can’t wait to be back in person!


Eric Au, meanwhile, is a 4th year Biology student with graduation just around the corner. He is interested in pursuing either pediatrics or psychiatry in the future.


What will you miss the most?

Eric: The top three main things college provides is community, connection, and independence. I will miss seeing people, walking around school, and just the overall community aspect. In college you are able to grow into your own community, learn about who you are and why you do the things you do.


How does remote learning compare to your previous three years here at UCLA?

Eric: Online learning provides more flexibility, relieves stress of having to be in person. If you have to work, classes are recorded, and you can watch at a later time. However, online class does not provide social connections. In-person classes are way better. There’s a stronger connection to the curriculum because you can actually sit with your friends and see your professor. The computer screen makes you feel less attached to the material.


Is it harder to join clubs and make friends online?

Eric: It is a thousand times harder online. You can probably join organizations, but developing genuine connections is so much harder. In person, you can physically see, talk, and be around people, and all that strengthens your ability to connect. Making friends online feels more superficial. I recommend putting yourself out there. You never know where your best friends are going to come from. Immersing yourself in different experiences can help illuminate who you are and help you realize your whole self-concept.

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