Staying active can benefit mental health

Frannie O'Shea '21, Photographer

During this difficult time of COVID-19 and being cooped up in our homes, rather than having a normal schedule of school and activities, it might seem like there is no reason to be active and maintain a schedule. However, according to the owner of Detroit Body Garage, coach Terra Castro, it is crucial to get outside to maintain a healthy mental and physical state.

According to Castro, worrying and being scared is okay. We all have loved ones and also ourselves to keep healthy and safe. Fear and the unknown is heavy to carry and mentally will lead to anxiety or sleep issues, while physically it manifests with fatigue, stress eating or drinking and lack of focus.

“We need to allow ourselves to feel and to process, to talk it out or just give ourselves permission to have hard days, to not be productive,” Castro said. “It is okay to wrestle with it all, the key is to not get stuck in that darkness, but to find ways to process, deal and be well during this season.”

According to Dean Therriault ’21, not having a normal routine is proving to have a lot of pros and cons as the days continue. However, he said he is really making an effort to take advantage of this time.

“I’m getting outside a lot more with more free time, which is definitely a pro,” Therriault said. “A big con is not being able to hangout with my friends. Usually when we don’t have school I am with my friends, but now that I’m not able to it’s a lot different in a bad way.”

Castro said that moving daily, whether that be with workouts, walks, runs or bike rides, as well as getting fresh air is essential.

“Hormonally it will help lift your spirits and help strengthen your immune system,” Castro said. “Sitting all day on Netflix, Tik Tok or any other social media will drain your joy tank.”

According to Ellie Kaess ’21, she feels somewhat restricted to go outside. Along with that, school work seems to be piling up.

“If I go outside at all it’s to take a walk or ride a bike, but going to main public places, like grocery stores, is undoable,” Kaess said. “I also feel like I’m flooded with much more work than I would normally have if I were to be in school like normal. I know some people disagree and say they have less work, but I definitely think I have more.”

According to both Kaess and Therriault, maintaining a schedule that balances both homework and time to relax or go outside is really helpful.

“My routine is basically waking up, doing all my homework and hopefully I’m done by one or two in the afternoon. With that I have the rest of the day to relax, play video games, go on runs or walk my dog. Having a schedule has really helped me maintain a healthy mindset,” Therriault said.

“I try to go outside as much as I can because being cooped up in my house is definitely taking a toll on my mental health,” Kaess said. “I can’t speak for everyone, but I know a lot of people are really struggling during this time not having a normal routine.”

According to Castro, it’s important to take time to process and rest, but going outside daily has so many benefits.

“(Going outside) will affect your immune system, your spirit and energy levels. The goal needs to be to get outside daily, to move and find your daily routine,” she said. “Staying inside on your couch all day will drag you deeper into those ‘darker’ feelings.”

Castro said @detroitbodygarage Instagram has daily workouts and @beboldterra has motivational and inspirational posts.

“Set goals, join our workouts on Instagram or Youtube, eat healthy and drink plenty of water, talk to loved ones often, and if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, try meditating or talking it out with a family member or friend,” Castro said.