Keeping Sane and Sustainable During COVID

Lucie Scura, Staff Writer

In the age of COVID, we as college students seem to have a never ending list of priorities: maintaining our physical health, working through an impossible courseload, and just trying to make it through everyday without going insane. One of the furthest things in our minds is nonetheless a pressing issue that has been put on the backburner: sustainability.


Contrary to popular belief, it is still possible to prioritize sustainability and environmental stewardship even in the midst of a pandemic. In fact, many vital daily practices go hand in hand with sustainability. You can actually improve your mental and physical health while also improving academic performance. How? Studies have shown that interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress. This same study showed that surrounding yourself with greenery can actually help improve your concentration and memory- in other words, help your grades! At the same time that you are helping reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, you can simultaneously improve your mental health and ace your next test.


Another way to improve your overall health is a practice that is plain and simple: walking. Walking has numerous benefits and is a great activity to do with friends. First of all, walking is great for your physical health. It can prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes as well as keep you physically fit. Walking is also awesome for your mental health, improving your mood and getting you some fresh air. So instead of catching that Uber to your favorite breakfast place, instead consider taking a stroll with your friends.


One other activity to boost your overall creativity and provide a super fun activity is making your own masks. Using old clothes, old tablecloths, or any flexible material that comply with CDC guidelines can be a great DIY and help reduce waste in landfills. Even if you don’t want to make your masks, picking businesses that sell masks using eco-friendly fabric is a necessity.


Lastly, the next suggestion is so simple anyone can do it. It’s as easy as turning a light on and off. As most of our classes and many activities have turned virtual during the pandemic, the electricity grid has been extremely strained by attempting to charge our various devices. During the day, instead of opting for those fluorescent lights, power down by using natural sunlight through the windows. Studies have shown that just by using natural light many aspects of your life can change. Firstly, those working next to windows get 176 percent more white light exposure than do their ashen counterparts, according to a study conducted by Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois. That is equivalent to 46 more minutes of sleep. Just by using natural sunlight, you are more well rested. Getting a headache from the light from your computer? A study done at Cornell showed workers exposed to natural light experienced an 84 percent drop in issues such as headaches, eyestrain, and blurred vision. Cut down that electricity use, your eyes will thank you.


Overall, even though we have many new challenges and issues during these unprecedented times, environmental sustainability does not have to be sacrificed. Many important things for us such as mental and physical health can actually be boosted with taking care of the world we live in. So let’s take care of ourselves and Mother Nature during COVID.