The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Mental and physical health and safety


Our responsibility towards self-care

For our last print issue of the semester, we want to remind students of the importance of protecting their physical and mental health, especially now during this time of stress as we transition from school to home. 

There are many factors that played  into the struggle of remaining mentally and physically healthy this semester, between the looming presence of COVID-19 and our time on campus cut short. And, of course, the national reckoning with systemic racism. 

This semester has been stressful for everyone, with Zoom fatigue, COVID-19  fatigue and limitations on our social interactions. While focusing on our physical health and that of others, it’s easy to forget about the importance of our mental health. Mental health seems like one more thing on our checkboxes of never ending things to be mindful of in 2020. But, mental health and physical health go hand in hand, and if we want to finish the semester on a strong note, we have to keep both in mind. 

Mental health and going home

The idea of going home for Thanksgiving break and not coming back until late January is sad for many of us. Although we are happy to see family members, friends and pets, remote learning through the rest of the semester is one more challenge we face. Some students find going home to be extremely stressful, and the idea of adding remote school work to that makes it even more daunting. Many of us are having flashbacks to our extended spring break last semester. It’s important for us to remember to prioritize our mental wellbeing when going home. 

From COVID-19 anxiety to seasonal depression, generally referred to as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, this period is a difficult adjustment for many. In the midst of all of this, remember to take mental health breaks and check in on friends who might be struggling. There are many online resources to watch movies and play games with friends despite being apart. Some of these resources include the app Bunch, where you can play games and FaceTime with friends, or the Disney+ group streaming feature. Keep these things in mind as we approach more possible isolation. 

Physical health and planning to go home

The often reckless behavior over Halloween weekend, has resulted in a rise in COVID-19 cases on campus. With the SJU Dashboard reaching daily numbers higher than we’ve ever seen before, it’s important that we realize what is at stake as we prepare to return home. It is noteworthy that these data mirror the national trend. 

A lot of students are concerned about taking the virus home to their family members, and are consequently taking precautions to limit their risk of contracting the virus. However, some students are not realizing the amount of people they are putting at an unnecessary risk by continuing to party and congregate with others, without social distancing and without masks. Although we cannot control the behavior of others, we can control our own behavior.

Some students are taking a COVID-19 test before returning home and then taking another test a few days after they arrive home in order to be sure that they are not spreading the virus to their families and communities. Others are choosing to self quarantine before they go home, and thereby limit interactions, so they are able to lower their chances of getting the virus and then becoming spreaders. 

We recommend continuing to follow health and safety guidelines promoted by the university, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Although we cannot guarantee that we avoid the virus completely, especially due to the high numbers we’re seeing nationally, it is important that we take as many steps as we can to avoid becoming spreaders of the virus.

Ultimately, it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves and others, in line with the Jesuit mission of St. Joe’s. Remaining mentally healthy is equally as important as remaining physically healthy. Although the next few months seem daunting, prioritizing our health and safety and that of others will make for a much smoother spring semester.

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