I remember the bittersweet joy and pain of waking up at 5:30 am to crush a morning workout at my school gym, eating the overnight oats I had prepped the night before, and rushing to class with the beautiful scenery of my school’s campus around me. The adrenaline, stress, and excitement of living a college life was something most students complained about. But many say you don’t truly appreciate something until it is taken away from you, and I can attest to this statement. 2020 has tested the world's ability to adapt and cope, and establishing healthy habits in quarantine has become one of these challenges. 

Quarantine has changed college students' lives in so many different ways: less walking to class, less social interactions, more time to eat, and more time spent online. For some, social isolation might have been a positive change and allowed individuals to focus on living healthier lifestyles. However, for most people, quarantine has created less opportunity for daily physical movement and a more sedentary lifestyle more conducive to bored snacking or excessive unhealthy eating. This new "normal" has brought new ways to adapt but also a challenge to find that healthy balance overall. To keep yourself mentally sane and physically healthy this fall, here are some of my tips to create healthy habits in quarantine.

1. Give Yourself Space 

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The Coronavirus pandemic has not only affected college culture, but it has also impacted the world on a global scale. With dire news in the media, it can be difficult to live in isolation with all the pent up stress and anxiety. If you find yourself binge eating on snacks or eating more than usual, remember to forgive yourself, avoid the feelings of guilt, and reflect before moving on with your day. If you are feeling more stressed or anxious than usual, allow yourself to feel those emotions, and then find some coping mechanisms that work for you. Getting outside for a breath of fresh air, taking a "social media day cleanse," or doing some form of physical activity are great ways to add a bit more color to the monotony of our new normal. 

2. Get Your Daily Movement In

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With classes, meetings, and most social interactions now taking place online, physically moving to and from different locations is practically nonexistent. Coronavirus or not, sedentary behavior and physical inactivity have been part of a global pandemic for years. Although social distancing is essential for public health, moving your body and staying active are equally important for personal health. Between your Zoom classes, don't forget to stretch out your legs, go on a quick walk, and take a break from the screen. With home workouts becoming the new norm, schedule time for a quick home workout or try going on a run before or after a long day of classes. The quarantine life has opened up more free time for some individuals, so do your best to devote some of that extra time towards physical movement whenever possible. 

3. Stock up on Nutritious Foods 

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Whether or not you have a bad habit of binge eating snacks, filling your kitchen and fridge with wholesome and nutrient dense foods is never a bad idea, especially during a pandemic. According to recent scientific research, nutritional deficiencies in calories, protein, and specific micronutrients can contribute to a weakened immune system, so it is important to fill your fridge with different fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.  

#SpoonTip: Some of my favorite healthy food items to load up on are sweet potatoes, avocados, kabocha squash, leafy greens, and salmon. 

2020 has been a wild year for everyone, and you are not alone. Experiencing college in social isolation is a challenge that we all must face, but maybe we can look at it as a time to take better care of ourselves, to spend more time at home, and to appreciate the things we have in life. From this article, I hope that you will be able to stick to the basics, give yourself grace if you deviate from your normal eating or exercise habits, and remember to implement healthy habits in quarantine that will benefit your overall health during this pandemic.