Updated: Dec 1, 2020
In a time of uncertainty and endless long days just staring at a screen, it is important that we are aware of our mental health. As quarantine dragged on through March, and then to April, and eventually May, I knew that for me personally in order to get through this long, bleak spring at home, I needed to somehow prioritize my mental health. Sitting at home, it was so easy to become overwhelmed thinking about everything we’re missing, the concern of our loved ones getting sick, and overall the fact that we don’t know when this will all come to an end.
Without even realizing it, running became this outlet for me, that kept me in check, and left me feeling refreshed and positive. I started at two miles a day, and then as days grew longer and online school harder, I worked up to four miles, then six, eight, and eventually even ten. Not only was running outside on back trails through woods and cornfields peaceful, but my constant improvement in running gave me something else to think about than the world that was falling apart around me. Completing a run every day reminded me to stay motivated and kept me feeling accomplished and purposeful. These runs daily got me through quarantine, they refreshed my sluggish computer brain and served as much needed time outside. Without this sort of reset every day, I know my mental health during quarantine would have greatly suffered.
Running is not the only exercise that can be effective in improving your mental health. Any form of fun and enjoyable movement for you can improve our mental health, work ethic, and overall attitude greatly. According to mentalhealth.org, “...a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking increases mental alertness, energy, and positive mood states.” As a person that would have told you I absolutely despise running a year ago, I can’t stress enough to use this time to build new habits such as this one and prioritize yourself. Without quarantine, I never would have found this passion for running that helps me through every bad day, tough situation, and online class.