The Coronavirus a Year Later

COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic by the WHO in March 2020. Now, exactly a year later, in March 2021, the pandemic continues to affect the everyday lives for people living in America. With no known end-date in sight, struggles during these remote, virtual times still play a role as students try to maintain academic success and friendships over the course of what has been a very long year. 

There used to be a stage in our lives when screen time was limited in households and socializing time with friends was encouraged. Now, for the last year, screen time became an everyday necessity, and gatherings with friends became limited. In-person classes, which were often dreaded by students, ceased to exist. Most students are now thrilled that classes could be returning to a fully in-person format for the fall semester. This just demonstrates how many of us took normal, everyday life activities for granted until COVID-19 came along and took them away from us.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has been a serious issue for the entire world over this past year, we simply cannot stay locked away in our houses for the next year -- or however long this pandemic will continue -- as our mental health and overall wellbeing will deteriorate. Below are a few COVID-friendly activities, both inside and outside of your home, that allow for some time away from the screen and encourage safety and health during these troubling times.

  1. 1. Outdoor Activities

    Picnic Donuts

    While the weather is not always permitting, it is a great idea to get outside when the opportunity becomes available. Whether this is for walks, jogs and bike rides, or even for a picnic with friends, some time outside with fresh air can always be helpful. Just remember to social distance, and if you’re having a picnic, each party should bring their own food and utensils to be safe from COVID-19. 

  2. 2. Food

    Grandma baking with granddaughter

    If there are ever times that you find yourself looking for something to do, which I’m sure has happened a few times during this pandemic, finding new things to cook and bake can be a great activity. Whether you learn by yourself or make it a new family hobby, learning how to make new types of foods and desserts can both be fun and rewarding. In terms of going out to eat with friends or family, if restaurants are open in your area, outdoor seating and tables that are socially distanced will be the best scenario as it provides safety and can be a good opportunity to get out of the house.

  3. 3. Downtime

    white teacup in fall bedroom

    Even though staying at home during this pandemic might make us feel like prisoners at times, sometimes all we need is some personal downtime away from our busy virtual lives to look after our mental health. Doing things such as painting, drawing, coloring, or reading books are great ways to keep ourselves busy while looking after ourselves and staying safe. Whether you see these activities as your alone time or as something that can be done with a few friends -- with social distancing and/or masks -- dedicating time for lowkey activites can improve our overall wellbeing during the pandemic and even once it ends. 

With over 540 thousand deaths in the past year related to COVID-19 in the United States, there is some light at the end of the tunnel that coronavirus might end soon as the vaccine becomes more widely available so that our lives can return to a somewhat "normal" experience. Although, I don't think that we will ever experience the same "normal" lives again, as our views will forever be changed by all of the events that have unfolded over the last year. Regardless, remember to stay safe, keep yourself healthy and partake in activities that encourages the wellbeing of everyone, so that we may soon all experience the joy of the coronavirus ending together.