A yoga teacher leads a community class in Los Angeles.(Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)
Valencia High School

Mindfulness Matters: How to practice mindfulness during school closures

Mindfulness Matters is a column by Vivian Wang that highlights the simple ways that she maintains mindfulness and self-care through the treacherous, life-changing journey of high school. In this week’s article, Wang provides some ways that high schoolers can maintain their mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

With the exponential growth of the novel Coronavirus, many schools, especially in California, have shut down to practice social distancing and prevent more cases of Coronavirus. Social distancing, as delineated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), means “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible”.

The Coronavirus has impacted millions of students in California and across the nation. In my school district, students are to learn from the safety of their homes, but many students are already facing boredom from being stuck in their houses for a two-week period.

In the span of these next two weeks, try these activities to practice mindfulness, care for your mental wellbeing, and take care of your overall health.

Start journaling:
Journaling is one of the best ways to express your emotions and share what’s been going on in your life, especially when we are facing a time of confusion and chaos. Journaling about your mood, goals, and aspects of your life that you are grateful for helps to reduce your stress significantly. One of my earlier articles, outlines how journaling has affected my mindfulness.

Dive into a book:

A typical week of school moves along so quickly with piles of tests and homework, so a relaxing way to spend these next two weeks can be through reading. Place your phone in another room, turn on some relaxing Lo-Fi music, put on some fuzzy socks, and curl up in your bed and enjoy your favorite book. You’ll find that this precious moment to yourself will allow you to live in the moment and reset your mind.

Start a bucket list:
Since it’s difficult to explore the outside world during this pandemic, why not use this time to make a bucket list for when it’s safe to travel the world again? Think about where you dream of attending college, what you want to do over the summer, where you want to travel, what adventurous feat you would like to complete and who you would like to meet in your lifetime.

Pick up some basic yoga poses:

As cliché as it sounds, yoga is the epitome of mindfulness. In middle school, I took my school’s yoga class in physical education (PE) class; yoga was the best way to start off my day because it allowed me to press the reset button and clear my mind for the long day ahead of me.

Sleep:

Sleep, sleep, and don’t forget to sleep. There are no more excuses for late-night cramming since school is online for the next few weeks, so try and catch up on those Zzz’s! Maintaining a reasonable sleep schedule is crucial for your overall health and you will find that your productivity the next day will be better than ever. I shared my perspective on sleep for high schoolers.

Now, what are you waiting for? Find a book that you have been eager to start, take out a pen and paper and start journaling, or even head to YouTube and become the next Yoga expert.