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Over 1000 students at St.FX were mandated to isolate in their homes upon arrival to the Antigonish this year. Isolation, although difficult, forced students to get creative in the ways they kept active.
We spoke to four students from out of province to get an idea of how students were keeping active during isolation.

Student #1:

Name: Emily Matthews

What year and program are you in? Fourth year student, BA with honours in Philosophy, a subsidiary in Women and Gender Studies and concentration in Catholic Studies.

Do you live On-Campus or Off-Campus? Off- Campus

Did you follow a routine during quarantine? I did, I let myself sleep in because I was not able to all summer. Around lunchtime, I would do a workout with my roommates who were also in isolation using workout videos through an online studio based in Calgary. I tried to end my days with yoga but that was not always consistent. I also regularly watched four seasons of “Are you the one?” on MTVJ.

What did you do to stay physical health? How did you feel afterwards? Staying physically active made quarantine bearable. We did daily workout videos (unless hungover). I did yoga whenever I felt stressed or sad about being isolated, which helped. It provided structure to my day and kept me motivated to get out of bed.

What did you do to stay mentally healthy? How did you feel afterwards? To stay mentally healthy, I kept in touch with friends who were outside of isolation. I made sure to call at least one person everyday. I also had roommates that I would play games with and we spent a lot of time on our lawn, again getting us out of bed. Yoga also helped me stay mentally healthy, I felt less isolated after these activities.

Student #2

Name: Fiona Beaton

What year and program are you in? A fourth-year HKIN student

Do you live On-Campus, or Off-Campus? Off-Campus

Did you follow a routine during quarantine? Yes, I did sometimes.

What did you do to stay physically healthy? How did you feel afterwards? I did at home workouts- inside and outside, stretching and yoga. I always felt great afterwards and more energized.

What did you do to stay mentally healthy? How did you feel afterwards? Hanging out with my roommates who were also isolating, playing games, calling family, cooking and baking, spending time outside everyday, reading and working out outside. I felt super happy and positive afterwards and it was definitely super great having other people in isolation as well.

Student #3

What is your name? My name is Kennedy Nangle

What program are you in? I’m doing an honours degree in biology with a concentration in health sciences.

Do you live on or off campus? I live with three other ladies off campus.

Did you have a routine in isolation? I definitely had a good routine in isolation. I’m the kind of person who needs routine and structure in their life otherwise things don’t get done. Isolation was helpful in this way because it allowed me to settle into a good, new routine before school started. My routine looked like this:

· 6:00am wake up (I’m an early bird)

· Organize and make a to do list for the day

· 6:30/7 am: Work out. I recently got into working out during quarantine and wanted to keep that going during isolation. I did workouts I found on Instagram or from different resources I found online.

· 9am: make breakfast and get to work! During isolation I had three online jobs on the go so there was no shortage of work to be done. My boyfriend also did isolation with me so we were on the grind bright and early together. We set up an outdoor desk to work at which was a life saver.

· 1:00pm was usually lunch time and a little outdoor break (if it was nice out)

· After lunch I would work until dinner!

· Cooking dinner is one of my favourite things so I always looked forward to cheffing it up at the end of the day. Since I was isolating with 5 other people, we often cooked dinner at the same time and ate together.

· After dinner I either played LOTS of board games with the girls + Jack or got a little more work done.

What did you do to stay physically healthy? How did you feel afterwards? During isolation I did a workout usually every day and tried to spend a lot of my day outside. Enjoying the sunshine really brightened up the whole isolation mood! Working out in the morning also wakes me up and gives me energy for the day so this was a priority for me in isolation since you can’t really do much.

What did you do to stay mentally healthy? How did you feel after? To stay mentally healthy during isolation I did a lot of different things:

· I tried to take some time for myself that was laid back and not working.

· I also prioritized exercise to clear my head

· I made sure to spend time outside on the lawn.

Staying mentally healthy for me meant taking time on my own and giving my head a minute to relax, however I thought was the best way at the time. I also love to do art so I actually

made my own planner as a way to be productive and artistic all in one! Afterwards I felt as though isolation has been somewhat of a good thing for my headspace. I had time to reflect and try out new strategies for keeping my mental health in good shape which I know will benefit me during the school year.


Student #4

What is your name? Sarah Paul

What program are you in? Fourth Year Major in Enterprise Systems and minor in Sports Management.

Do you live On-Campus or Off-Campus? I live off-campus.

Did you have a routine in isolation? I was finishing up an online course, so I was in a bit of a routine with studying for part of the day. Most of my days were not routine though.

What did you do to stay physically healthy? How did you feel afterwards? During quarantine I did some form of a workout most days. It always made me feel good afterwards even if it was short period of time stretching.

What did you do to stay mentally healthy? How did you feel after? As I was in quarantine with roommates, I was able to stay positive and in a good mental state. It was nice to be able to support each other during the two weeks and check in on one another’s mental health. I think if I were to quarantine alone it would have been much harder on my mental and physical health. Having motivation from others really helped me.

Student #5

What is your name? Madison Lawrie

What program are you in? year? I am a 4th year Human Nutrition

Do you live on-campus or off-campus? Off campus

Did you have a routine in isolation? Not so much a routine but each day but I knew that I wanted to some form of physical activity and, I have school work and volunteer work to complete online. My days where lightly structured.

What did you do to stay physically healthy? How did you feel afterwards? Physical activity is very important to me. Some of the things that I did during quarantine was workout with my other quarantine buddies doing body weight exercise and yoga, and taking part in throwing a frisbee or football around to each other. After being physically active I always feel better! The first reason I feel better is because I feel like I have accomplished something with my day. Another reason I feel great is because I feel like physical activity is a great way for me to relive stress and let out built up anxiety, which both come with being trapped inside a house.

What did you do to say mentally healthy? How did you feel after? During quarantine I was very thankful to be quarantining with 5 of my friends who made the time go by faster and definitely helped with the mental health challenges that I am sure many go through while quarantining. Together we played lots of card games and board games and there were a lot of laughs to be had. I also spent a lot of time self-reflecting and journaling which always helps me and my mental health. The final thing that I did to stay mentally healthy was to called family and loved ones and just chit chat and catch up. Quarantine was definitely hard with the thought of not be allowed to leave your house but these things all helped me during those two weeks.

Beyond Isolation: Life at home during quarantine

To see how students at St.FX got active not only during isolation, but during quaratine in the early months of the pandemic, we spoke to Maya Lowe.

Name: Maya Lowe

What year and program are you in? I am in my fourth year of the Honours BaScH program (majoring in Biomedical Science)

Do you live On-Campus or Off-Campus? I live Off-Campus

Did you have a routine in quarantine? In quarantine I was working part time and studying for the MCAT. I found that making time to go for walks, workout, and socialize with friends was a great way to decrease my stress and increase my productivity at work/while studying.

A typical routine on a day that I was studying would be:

6-6:30: wakeup & get dressed

6:30 -7: Run 5km around my neighbourhood

7-7:30: Strength/Resistance training, since my gym was closed I paid for online workout classes so I would pick an area of focus either abs, legs, glutes, or arms and do 20-30 minutes worth of videos

7:30-8: Get ready for the day

8-8:30: coffee/breakfast and to-do list

8:30-12: study

12-1: Lunch and rest

1-3:30: study

3:30-4:30: walk outdoors

4:30-7: study

7-8: dinner

After 8PM I would try to do something social, whether it was Facetime a friend or see someone in person socially-distanced, play games with my family, or some days I would just rest and watch TV or read. I would work usually 2 days a week from 9-5 but otherwise would retain the same schedule, I would study for a bit before and after work.

I found maintaining a routine helped me feel like life was still somewhat normal and helped me stay productive and keep my mind off of the pandemic and other issues. I felt lucky that I could physically go into work, and somedays my boss would allow me to study at our workspace which was a nice change of scenery.

What did you do to stay physically healthy? How did you feel afterwards?

I took up running, in May I decided to challenge myself to run 100km throughout the month. Running was a great way to decrease my stress levels and give me a positive attitude for the rest of my day. I tried to run every other day and to also strength train to ensure my body could handle longer runs. As for my mental health it was useful to exercise to cope with my busy schedule and the stress of what was going on in the world. My physical health did suffer a bit because my body was not used to running this much, I did end up with a knee injury but after completing my 100km's I took a rest and focused on building up my leg strength and ease back into running.

I bought a membership to Obé which is an online platform for workout classes/videos. They had live classes that were really fun to take because they would say your name while you were participating to help form a sense of community. I felt like I was a part of something which was nice during such an isolating time. They had a great variety of class lengths and types as well as an affordable price so I really enjoyed their website. I mostly took Barre classes but often used individual 10-15 minute classes focused on Abs or Arms as well.

What did you do to stay mentally healthy? How did you feel after?

At the beginning of the pandemic I felt very alone and anxious about what was going to happen. I quickly learned that Facetiming friends was a great way to stay connected with others and to talk candidly about my worries and get support. I had to stop reading the news some days because it was a lot to handle. A few things that helped me feel better were meditating, yoga, running, journaling, walking, and talking to friends. Getting outdoors whether it was a walk with my sister, meditating in my backyard, or reading a book on my front porch really helped ease my stress and put my problems into perspective. Getting back to school and having so many new changes due to Covid protocols was a hard adjustment, so I started talking to a therapist once a week over the phone which has been really stressful. It is nice to have someone to talk to who is removed from my situation and is able to offer really great advice. Overall I have taken a lot of time to focus on my mental health over the past few months and this has helped improve my mood/overall wellbeing so I feel a lot better than I did at the beginning of the pandemic.