The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all of us in ways we could have never predicted. Throughout the past couple of months, ISO has heard first-hand from international students how it has caused them stress, anxiety, and a lot of uncertainty. While there are circumstances that we might not be able to control, the journey as an international student continues and there are always new opportunities that will arise.
Whether you are still in quarantine, taking summer classes, working from home, or in a job search process, it is important to take care of your mental and physical health. Here are some free, low budget and easy to do activities that will help you to relax and increase your energy/mood so you can stay focused on your goals this summer.
Exercise is one of the greatest stress relievers. Even taking as little as 15 minutes a day to get a workout in can make a difference. Although gyms and fitness studios are closed, there are many ways to exercise daily from your house through free virtual classes. There are a variety of physical activities you can test and try out to stay active, release some endorphins and improve your mood.
- Nike Training Club: This app gives you access to more than 185 free guided workouts (cardio, yoga, training programs, etc.).
- Peloton: Free 30-day trial for thousands of stretching routines, running, cardio workouts, and more exercises.
- 305 Fitness: Free cardio routines, movement classes and many digital events all based around dancing.
- Yome: The site catalogs hundreds of YouTube videos from yoga channels that can be easily filtered by style, level, etc.
We also suggest checking with your local fitness and yoga studios since currently many are offering free online classes through their websites or Instagram.
Explore new activities and have fun
While having extra time at home could feel overwhelming, it is also an opportunity to explore new activities and be creative. Coloring, painting, drawing, or creating something new can lead to a calm state and help to reduce anxiety. These are some ideas that you can do at home:
- Coloring: from mandalas and geometrical patterns, there are many online coloring books from up to $7.00 that you can get.
- Build puzzles: while it is highly recommended to do a physical puzzle, there are online puzzles that will help you to relax.
If you feel like you need to get some fresh air and enjoy the summer weather, there are opportunities for safe outdoor activities as well.
- Biking: Riding a bike is not only a good alternative to public transport, but it will also allow you to feel the summer breeze, get some vitamin D and discover new routes around your city or town.
- Hiking: Nothing better than nature for additional stress relief. Many parks remain open and offer plenty of space for social distancing. It is also a great opportunity to take pictures in beautiful sceneries.
- Camping: Some campsites and private parks are open for camping. Even if it is in your own backyard, setting up a picnic and gathering around a firepit could make you feel like you are on vacation.
Disconnect and take time for yourself
Sometimes all you need is to slow down and take time for yourself in peace.
- Meditation: Meditation is one of the best ways to reduce stress and focus on the present, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day. You can find a quiet place either at home or outdoors, sit down, close your eyes, and focus on breathing. UCLA and Head in the Clouds offer free guided meditation exercises.
- Go for a walk: studies have shown that walking can make you more creative and happier. It is also a great way to enjoy the warm weather and explore new interesting places around your neighborhood.
No matter what you choose to do, remember that well-being also includes doing the activities you love and enjoy. They will not only help you to de-stress but also cope with life’s challenges.
For outdoor activities always remember to stay at least six feet from other people and wear a mask. If you will be staying in the U.S. for the rest of the summer, ISO Student Health Insurance is here for you to offer summer coverage so you can make the most of your U.S. experience. Happy summer!