Staying healthy in quarantine

MVRHS alum Emma Baldino stays active by strength training. —Molly Baldino

As the nationwide quarantine continues to alter our natural rhythm of life, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) students are adjusting to their new schedules and routines by dedicating more time to practicing self-care. 

The high school initiated remote learning with a formal schedule last Monday, giving students a sense of structure in their daily lives with classes being held (many through the Zoom platform) from 10 am to 12 pm, Monday through Thursday. Even though schooling has transitioned from the classroom to online, that hasn’t affected the workload students are given. 

Creating a personalized schedule to stay on task for schoolwork deadlines is crucial for freshman Teagen Myers to get his work accomplished. “I have been assigning days to do different homework for different classes,” Teagan said. “So, say Monday would be English, Tuesday Earth Science, Wednesday Biology — and I think it really helps.”

A struggle that many students face during the quarantine is maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. With online classes starting at times later than what students were accustomed to while attending school, there’s a temptation to stay up late, which in turn causes students to feel groggy and sluggish the next morning when they meet for class. 

Sophomore Katie Freeman, who enjoys waking up early, tries to maintain her sleep schedule from when she attended school. “I’m very much a morning person, so I like to go to bed early, then wake up and get a head start on my morning. I fall asleep around 9 every night and then I set my alarm for 5:30 or 6, usually 5:30 on a school day, but now I’ve been waking up at 6,” she said.

The interruption of the spring sports season at the high school means students have had to find another outlet to keep their bodies moving. Sophomore Anabelle Biggs recognizes that maintaining motivation to exercise during this unprecedented time can be challenging. “I’m not as active as I’d like to be, but I think it just depends on the day and how motivated I am,” she said. “Especially being stuck inside all of the time, sometimes I’m like, it’s been too much time spent inside. I want to go out and get exercise.” 

Katie has stayed dedicated to her pre-season training during this time of uncertainty. “I do three seasons of sports, specifically running. It’s really important to keep in shape for training for the next season, and if there’s a possibility that there could be a small season for spring. I’ve been cross-training a lot, taking a little break from running,” she said. When she’s not training, she can be found using coloring books as a way to relax.

Freshman Cali Giglio has spent a substantial portion of her quarantine outdoors when the weather permits. “I try to get outside every day, but of course it’s hard when it’s raining,” she said. She relishes her time outside, walking the trails and beaches with her family. The locations she enjoys going to include Menemsha Hills, Tisbury Meadow Preserve, and Peaked Hill Reservation.

Some students have found that being home all day can lead to changes in eating habits. Cali is discovering new healthy eats such as vegetable and tofu stir frys, vegetable quesadillas, and homemade oatmeal peanut butter cookies. She has also been drinking water frequently throughout the day in order to stay hydrated.

Katie sees exercise and healthy eating as essential. “Fitness and what you’re eating, it’s really important to keep your immune system good,” she said.

Junior Emily Anderson is a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) club, whose aim is to spread awareness about mental health and to provide resources for relieving stress. She said, “It’s really important to still have a schedule and go about your daily routine so that you feel like you’re still in the real world. [It] grounds you and makes you more aware of what’s going on.” 

NAMI has been reaching out to schools and families to talk to anyone who has anxiety related to coronavirus. They’ve been holding online classes on Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 pm in order to relieve stress about coronavirus as well.

“Everyone has to [practice social distancing],” Emily said. “In the end, it’s to help everyone so that we are be able to see our friends and family sooner. If [people] need to talk to someone, reach out because everyone’s going through it, so everyone kind of knows how to help or give advice.”

Guidance counselor Amy Lilavois, who is also the faculty advisor for NAMI, has a simple piece of advice for those who are struggling during this time: “Conversation is the most helpful when people are struggling, but I understand that doesn’t always work for people,” she said. 

Amy and guidance counselor Matt Malowski are available every day from 9 am to 4 pm to talk to any kids that are struggling. They can be reached by email.