UNC students and alumni share their COVID-19 experiences and provide some health-oriented advice for fellow bears.

On this episode of bear in mind, I wanted to hear from the UNC community about their experiences during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, I wanted to know how are you staying healthy, whether that be physically, mentally, socially, or any other factor. Because during these times it's important to foster a greater sense of community and belonging and to truly represent who we are as bears, which is why I reached out to some of my students and peers to share their personal stories. Some of you even reached out to me, so thank you.

Now, without further ado, I ask the simple question, how the health are you?

 shannon

Hi, my name is Shannon Feeley and I graduated from UNC in 2008 with an education degree. I currently live in Lima, Peru. I'm teaching here and the city has been on lockdown for 13 days. And I'm at home in my apartment and I have not left since Monday. It's now a Saturday and it's a little bit strange but I'm actually really thankful to be here. We're in a country that cannot support a massive outbreak. There's no infrastructure to support what that would mean. The president here has declared a state of emergency and even extended it yesterday. So while that was hard to hear and knowing that I'll be in my apartment for an additional two weeks, I'm really grateful to, to be in a place that takes this very seriously. I'm teaching. We are doing online schooling and that is in and of itself a learning experience. But I have been on the receiving end of numerous supportive messages from both my students, my first graders and their parents. It's really interesting to work in an international school to begin with and I've been here for four years. This isn't the first crisis that I have weathered while being in Peru, but it is the most serious and I am pretty proud to be part of this community. But also I'm very grateful to have those families checking in on me and making sure that my mental health is okay and that I'm hanging in there. They know that I'm single. They know that I'm here by myself and they're concerned for my wellbeing is probably the most touching part of all of this.

It's also illustrated how important my relationships with my friends here and my friends in the States are. I have had countless FaceTime and Marco Polo and Zoom chats with my family. My cousins who I am never speak to, we all got together on Zoom and had a happy hour. It's been pretty incredible and pretty revealing that no matter how far away you are from someone or the people that you love most, it's the times of crisis that you feel closest to them. So I kind of have framed this as, even if even if I was living in Colorado or if I was living at home and I was having to go into this isolation, this social distancing, I wouldn't see my family necessarily. And so the fact that we're all in this similar situation and even though I live in a completely different country, on a completely different continent, I've never really felt closer to the people that I love. And I think that's pretty important. I'm thankful for this life. I'm thankful for this experience and I'm really, really grateful that the entire population of Lima and the country of Peru has really made an effort to make this a serious effort to staunch what could happen and the numbers that could rise so significantly. So my adventure continues here with a quarantine, but it doesn't end here. And I think that's the most important thing to keep in mind.

 Morgan

Hi, my name is Morgan and I'm a recreation, tourism, hospitality Major. So, social distancing... You know, I never thought much of it. I just thought I'll spend some quality time with my family and get things done. It's going to be great. And you know, now that I think of it, everybody has had that exact same thought. Anyways, at the beginning of the whole COVID-19 and social distancing situation, I was supposed to go to Arizona for my last spring break vacation with my family. Then the state went on lockdown and unfortunately we had to cancel our trip. So that was kind of a bummer for our family. But we pushed through and few days after that I get a call from my internship, my dream internship actually, and they explained to me that they were not able to host me for the summer of 2020. And that was very difficult for me because I worked so hard for that internship. I worked for almost a year, probably 11 months maybe to get this internship. My family was amazing. They were able to help me get the right clothes for my interview, helped me make my resume look very professional, and helped me with my mock interview and make sure that, um, I was prepared for what questions that they might be asking me. And for all of that hard work to be taken away in a blink of an eye, that was very hard on me. I didn't know what to do. I was so frustrated and I was like, "seriously, come on. This is my career." I'm not even sure if there'll be able to host me in January of 2021. It's a guess to them that they're hoping that they'll be able to, but they're a hotel company in the hospitality industry is, as everybody knows, has been taken a big hit through this whole pandemic. So I'm hoping that, that they're able to host me then.

So that was one of the big things that kind of took a mental toll on me and this whole situation. And so with that, my mom wanted us to kind of keep ourselves busy and decided let's, let's try to go golfing or doing something every day that's active. So we thought, "okay, let's start with golf." We went golfing with beautiful and great. We played golf decently and then the next day our course got shut down. And so we're like, well, what now what do we do? So then my mom came up with another brilliant idea. She always does and thought, "let's go walk the course, let's walk the 18." And so that's what we did. And I think that's a fantastic idea because it's going to keep ourselves mentally and physically healthy, not being able to stay inside, be all cooped up watching shows 24/7 or snacking on all the food that we can find in our house. So, it's been crazy and that's how I've been doing.

Ib

My name is Ibrahim and I am currently a fourth year student and my last semester here at UNC. My major is criminal justice and I'll hopefully graduate in may with no ceremony in sight - What can I do? ,Currently I'm maintaining as much physical health as I can by remembering to run my apartment stairs and open areas as much as I can. I'm also remembering to do different body weight workouts throughout the day. Another key to my success will be drinking more water and eating more balanced meals on a daily. For my mental health, connecting with my counselor via zoom, going on hammock trips and reading books and listening to podcasts have been key to my sanity at the moment, so more of that will be needed. Remembering to use this quarantine time to stay calm and learn the correct information about the Corona virus will also help my sanity. Socially, I'm utilizing more virtual ways to talk to friends, calling and video chatting sessions have been a must these past few weeks. I am currently quarantined with the best quarantine team in the game. I hope this epidemic passes and we are still in good health. I hope you and fellow bears are keeping safe, maintaining social distances and washing hands and drinking water.

Trayvn

Hello everybody. My name is Trayvon Musgrave. I'm currently a junior at UNC studying business management. Some of the ways that I've been trying to stay on top of my physical health is I've been doing weekly competitions with my girlfriend to see who can do better in certain physical exercises. It started out with a plank contest and then pushups. As far as staying healthy for mental health, we are both going outside regularly, going on walks and things like that. Just making sure that we're not bound into the house or anything like that. And then for social health, we actually found an app that allows you to watch Netflix with your friends on all your own computers and there's a local chat bar on the side. And we've been using that to be able to watch shows kind of with our friends and still interact with each other and things like that.

This COVID-19 experience has definitely been hard for me. One of my jobs basically laid off their employees until future notice. And the other job that I was working at actually closed down for good even after this is over just because they've lost so much money. So I'm definitely excited to be done with all of this. Thanks. Have a great day.

Kaela

Hi, my name is Kayla Lawson and I'm a senior at the University of Northern Colorado. I'm a journalism major with an emphasis in strategic communication, which is just fancy for public relations and advertising. It's kind of a weird time we're living in. You know, a few weeks ago I was taking the gym for granted and hitting 15,000 steps a day without even trying. My original goal was to work out three times a week and run a longer distance than the week before, but I did have to adjust them due to recent events. So I adjusted my running goal and making sure I walked at least one mile a day while we're all inside sheltering and home. And this goal is embarrassingly like a little harder to reach than I thought it would be since I don't have anywhere to walk to except the kitchen.

I've been reading some articles and the stair workouts from class that I read about kind of inspired me. So my dad and I FaceTimed the other night and we both did some stair workouts and like it was fun and I hit my goal and you know, this really inspired me more. But mentally, this has been a bit of a struggle since it's hard not to feel lonely at all during this time. And it's also hard to not feel anxious and scared. You know, every morning I would wake up and read the morning morning news, update the afternoon news update and then the night news update and just surrounding myself with all the news that honestly it's not, wasn't very positive. So, I really just had to like kind of step back and realize that I only need to do one news update a day just so I can stay informed but not overwhelmed.

I really think the hardest area that I have been hit is in the social aspect because I went from waking up at 6:00 AM every day being in meetings by eight. Then going to class, talking to people and doing my group projects, hosting events for my professional club and just like, so then seeing my friends at night and now there's none of that. There's not really a better routine or a structure. So I'm still figuring out how to deal with that aspect. And I've been doing a lot of Zoom and FaceTime dates with my friends and that's held but I need to, I need to figure something else out as well before I do something crazy and quarantine like give myself some bangs. Cause we've all seen the videos, they don't look good. But I really think the hardest part of this is that like at this time last year I was envisioning how spring of my senior year would go. So right now and I was envisioning that I'd be running a strategic campaign for my capstone class, ordering graduation dress, helping my family coordinate travel plans so they could see me walk across the graduation stage, participating in the senior ceremonies my sorority would be putting on, wanting to see where I'm being living and working next. And that's what I was envisioning for this time. But I mean, I think it was according to plan and obviously now, so, I've been looking at like what winter coat to wear to the December ceremony for May, 2020 graduates and helping my family cancel their travel plans and getting rid of my furniture because I can only take what fits in my car now that my job interviews have been canceled here. I now have a 17 hour drive back to California and a little less than a month.

My experience beginning of this was not positive because I was kind of grieving everything that I was losing and that I wouldn't ever get to experience. And in those few weeks I kind of realized it's okay to be upset, but I didn't necessarily want to be upset the whole time, you know, there has to be something positive about this. I want to learn something and I realized that it will, like it may feel that I'm stuck here, I'm not, I'm always stuck inside. Like there's nothing preventing me from learning and making progress. So I'm still running the campaign for my capstone. My portfolio is going to work great because now I have time to polish it and perfect it and update it and really edit the things that are in there. And I'm still getting a stole for my sorority that I can walk with in December and we're still doing the senior events that we can do from a distance, like sending letters and gifts and then I'm still graduating. Like I'm still making progress. So I will continue to make progress and Zoom and FaceTime my friends and my family and really just put my portfolio together and figure out how to move my dresser that's bigger than me out of my room. But you know, it's all gonna be fine cause we're all in it together and I hope you were staying healthy and safe inside. And I just also wanted to be a big thank you to all the essential workers and to my professors who are really stepping up to do their best for us. So thank you.

Ashley

Hello everyone. My name is Ashley Crouse. I'm a senior here at UNC and my major is elementary education with a minor in special education. Overall, the Corona virus has actually not been terrible for me. I think I can think that to being at home with my family and not stuck in my tiny apartment at school, so I don't feel so cooped up. I have a backyard here, so I'm not just cooped up in my little basement apartment. I just wanted to talk about my overall health as far as what's been affecting me. As far as physical health goes, we have been doing Facebook live workouts five days a week. My mom's a fitness instructor, so that has been just a blessing of giving a sense of purpose and also getting me to work out five days a week, a hard workout and not giving up because you're on camera and can't give up mid workout when someone else is working out with you from their house. Beyond that I've also been going on an extra run or something over the weekend, which has been awesome. So yeah, I'm really proud of myself for that because as far as when I was in school, I generally could only make it to the gym four times a week. And that was really like purposely getting myself there.

As far as mental health goes, I think the working out piece and the physical health has really helped my mental health. We do it at 7:00 AM every day, so by eight I am ready to go. I'm ready to write my, to-do lists and ready to be productive, which has been awesome. I had a week where I was kind of in a funk. After dinner, I'd kind of get in a funk, but that's gone away and I generally have positive days every day, which has been awesome. I really try and not be on the couch though. I try and sit at the kitchen table or on our table outside and get my stuff done and don't watch TV till after night. And then as far as social health goes, I think zooming with my friends has been a lifesaver...Or, not a lifesaver but has really helped. Yeah, I miss my friends a lot. I'm such an extrovert, but I think just purposely spending time with them as much as I can, texting, calling, zooming has been awesome. I think being around my family, I'm lucky, that my family and I get along really well. And we've been making some great memories, which I think I'm really thankful for during this time. But I'm definitely missing my friends, so I'm ready to get to hang out with my girls again and do our hikes and our girls nights and all that. But overall it hasn't been too bad of an experience. I'm definitely ready to have my normal life back, but overall we're doing pretty good.

Katherine

Hello, my name is Katherine Li and I'm a fourth year. This is actually my last semester at UNC and I am a major in Asian studies with a minor in Chinese and multicultural anthropology. And before the pandemic known as COVID-19, I was in a club sport at UNC in order to stay physically active. And right now we are practicing quarantine and social distancing for the safety of us and others. And this is what I do to stay healthy indoors. Right now a really popular platform is Zoom and my significant other's martial arts class actually holds their classes on Zoom now instead of having face-to-face classes. So what we do is get into our uniform and with a designated time we all get on Zoom and we follow our instructor for a at home exercise. And I find that it's really a better motivation to stay physically active with other people, and getting into the uniform really gets me into the mindset and more motivated to work out. And this is how I stay physically active. Alongside with that, I always pace surround by apartment or take small five to 10 minute physical activity breaks in order to give my mind a short break.

For my mental health, I think guiltily playing a lot of games (Nintendo Switch) and more games (Nintendo 3DS) and I feel that it's really important to find hobbies indoors to keep yourself sane, especially when you're a social distancing. And that brings me to my second point on how I say stay socially healthy. So in other than I'm only seeing the people that I live with. How I maintain my social health is that I chat with my friends using an app called Discord while we play games together so that I do have that social interaction. It can be really hard to not be able to see any of your family or friends that you do not live with. But I understand that it's really important that we quarantine and social distance in order for the pandemic to passover quicker. Thank you.

Jubilee

What up! I'm Jubilee St. Louis I a UNC bear and I love all things outdoors. So, I thought, a)this is going to be a breeze. But it turns out I liked doing that with my friends. So this has been a big challenge for me, this whole pandemic thing. To be honest, I think I realized how much I love people and how much I love people when they're not on the other side of my phone. I guess that's hard to say cause it's not like it's a different person, but I just encourage you to stay steadfast, stay home as much as you can and let's just wait it out. Let's see the hope at the end of the tunnel. Let's wait to have the greatest adventures next fall and then beyond. I think in reality it's taken me a while to, to find my routine, to find my system. I still don't think I've found it, but I guess I'm getting closer. I'm getting closer to remembering what was part of my schedule at UNC and how I can bring that back into my life here as well as embracing the new freedom of wearing slippers all day. Anyway, have a great day. Bears. Sko-Bears.

Ty

Hey everyone. My name is Ty Sherman. I'm a graduate student in the program of biological education. And my tips for staying sane during this lockdown where we all find ourselves stuck indoors is number one, make sure to laugh often. I've been doing this by going on YouTube and looking up funny animal videos. There's some 10 minute compilations that guaranteed to get a couple yucks. And then number two, practice some meditation. Um, so we're forced to slow down here with our bodies. Um, we can also choose to slow down with our minds. Set aside five or 10 minutes and see what it feels like now that you have no other obligations to just practice a little mental peace.

Stay well out there!

Music:

Komiku - The road we use to travel when we were kids

Blue Dot Sessions - An Oddly Formal Dance

Komiku - Friends 2018

Blue Dot Sessions - Li Fonte

Blue Dot Sessions - Molly Molly

Blue Dot Sessions - The Zeppelin