The Importance Of General Wellbeing During Global COVID-19 Pandemic

Sanjay Gurung. Photo/Partap Limbu.

l ike many of you, I had some great plans and personal goals for the summer of 2020 that I wanted to cross off my bucket list. Unfortunately, due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, all these preparations continued to fall apart.

With some poor diet choices and lack of activity during the winter season, one of my top priorities was to be healthy mentally and physically. Over the course of last winter, my academic ambition consumed much of the time as I wanted to finish my senior year of college on a high note. Living in New England during winter meant shorter daylight and longer nights. While studying comfortably inside a cozy heated room during freezing temperatures and snowy days, I wasn’t going out much and soon became an indolent student. 

The importance of physical and mental health in a person’s life is very well understood to most adults. As most of you have undoubtedly heard this many times, “healthy life means a happy life.” Proven by scientific evidence, I have also experienced this to be very accurate. 

With the addition of COVID-19 and being locked down on quarantine, my mental and physical health was steadily deteriorating. Closed gyms and parks meant I was stuck at home with limited space and equipment to exercise. My body had limited mobility compared to being out on the soccer field or at the gym with friends. 

Looking at my unhealthy body in the mirror, I became more insecure and lost self-confidence and self-esteem. Over time, I knew I had to get out of my room and shift my negative thoughts to positive to change my lifestyle.

Watching youtube videos and listening to internet influencers such as Gary Vee and Yes Theory, they gave me a ray of hope during the dark times. It was challenging to start, but following fitness trainers, motivational speakers and watching videos inspired me to eat healthily, perform bodyweight exercises, and run more often. After a few weeks of hard work, I started to notice positive results in the mirror. My sad, gloomy days became clearer and happier, and I fell in love with myself. 

In addition to feeling healthier mentally, engaging in physical activity improved my lifestyle quality and enabled me to be more stress-free. As good as I feel now, I intend to maintain this routine and do my best to remain physically and mentally healthy. 

I know it can be daunting to start, but If you feel like your health is mentally and/or physically exhausting, I encourage you to take a baby step, one day at a time. To distract your mind from stress, you can exercise at home, go for a walk/run, read books, watch sports, or whatever. You can alter the standard of your lifestyle over time by preserving consistency. Of course, please do this while wearing a face mask in public spaces and maintain social distancing for yourself and others’ safety.

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Sanjay Gurung recently graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training. He is a former Nepali speaking Bhutanese refugee who resettled in the United States in the summer of 2008. Adjusting into a new life was challenging for Mr. Gurung as he faced a language barrier, cultural shock, and identity crisis. As time passed, he gained unique experience and learned many lessons to adapt to a new environment.

Along the journey, Mr. Gurung found a new passion and hobbies. With the difficult background of growing up in a refugee camp, his passion for helping others by serving the community became one of the first priorities. At a young age, he volunteered and participated in multiple community events by fighting against hunger, fundraising for the cancer society, make a wish foundation, and after school programs. In this journey, he also gained leadership skills through his hobby of playing soccer by representing teams as captains at high school, club soccer, and in Bhutanese soccer teams. This sports platform also allowed him to play at a state, regional, national, and international levels.

In college, Mr. Gurung provided educational training to designated students as a teaching assistant. He was a TRIO scholar and a mentor to low-income and first-generation students. He was involved in multiple clubs and organizations as a secretary and a member such as; Athletic Training organization, Multicultural Student Affairs, UNH Connect Program, Asian Coalition, and Black Student Union. These clubs helped him to provide community services, promote equality and diversity, and fight for social justice issues by spreading knowledge and awareness.