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Heath and Wellness During Social Distancing

By: Ms. Dickerson and Natalie Neuhaus (Reporter ‘21)

Since social distancing began, schedules have made major shifts and caused us to develop new routines, which, for many, include far more unscheduled time. Although we may leave our houses less, social distancing has opened up opportunities for healthier habits, more exercise, etc. Focus sent a wellness survey to the FCS community to see how students’ and teachers’ wellness has been affected by social distancing. 

Focus wanted to see how both Friends’ Central students’ and faculty’s eating habits have been affected by the long amount of time spent social distancing. Some people reported no change: “I still eat food,” one response read. In contrast, others have started to pay closer attention to things that may have not been a major priority before, such as eating. Oftentimes the hustle and bustle of life can take over, causing us not necessarily to think about eating because there are so many other things going on, like lots of homework or sports games. 

Since social distancing began, however, many people expressed that they have been eating healthier and have had more time to prep meals. Many have also been baking to pass the time and experimenting with new sweet creations. Creativity was something many people commented on, saying that more time has opened up opportunities for more innovative ideas and originality in the kitchen, as well as some fun games. Someone responded saying, “My family has started to play the game of ‘what expires first,’ in which my parents are always trying to make sure that we are not wasting food, and so we use things, whatever they might be, in dinner before they go bad.” A different person shared, “Cooking from the pantry has made for some creative moments!”

Another common response we received was that many people are either forgetting to eat, eating less because they are not exercising enough, or simply skipping meals all together. This is a troubling trend. Regardless of whether or not you're participating in a sport everyday, your body still needs energy to function and focus. When you don’t eat enough, your body does not have enough glucose to break down into nutrients, and this stops your brain from working at full capacity. This lack of energy makes it harder to focus and can take an extremely negative toll on your body, so it is very important to continue to eat three balanced meals every day along with some snacks throughout the day. Taking a snack break can also provide a break from staring at a screen for extended periods of time. 

Sydney and Eva's Instagram Page

Another activity some FCS students have begun to take part in is running a food Instagram. Sydney Bendesky ‘20 and Eva Bendesky ‘22  have started a health and wellness Instagram. Eva explained she and Sydney started their health and wellness account because quarantine has given them more time to experiment in the kitchen, try new workouts, and focus on mindfulness. When we asked Sydney and Eva what has been their favorite thing they have made so far, Eva said, “One of our favorite meals we have made so far was a vegetable bowl with ginger-miso-glazed eggplant. In addition, we’ve been making a wide variety of desserts, and we especially love our recipe for cinnamon roll muffins.” 

Juliette Schad 23’ has also started up a food Instagram since we have begun social distancing. “I've always wanted to make a food account on Instagram, but I never had time before,” Juliette said. “I wanted to make an account so that I could share my favorite healthy foods and learn from other people. It's also a fun way to keep track of what I'm eating and my favorite recipes.” We also asked Juliette what has been her favorite dish she has made since starting her account, and she told us, “My favorite food I've made is probably granola. I love making granola because you can make it with so many different ingredients and flavors. It's also one of the simplest recipes to make, so I can make it anytime and change the recipe whenever I want to.” 

Sydney, Eva and Juliette offered helpful advice for healthy eating while social distancing. All three touched on the importance of healthy eating, and Sydney and Eva also mentioned how important it is to maintain a schedule and workout routine while also practicing healthy eating. 

In addition to asking members of the FCS community about food, Focus wanted to know about exercise habits. When asked how social distancing has affected people’s exercise routines, one person shared, “It has ended it.” Others expressed similar sentiment. “I used to go to the gym every day, but now I can only exercise outside when the weather is nice,” one person said. A few people mentioned how they aren’t feeling as motivated these days: “It’s made it harder for me to want to exercise and just do things in general. For some reason, squeezing in a run after school was easier because I only had so much time to do it.” 

Juliette's Instagram Page

On the other hand, some people reported that their new schedules allow them to exercise more than they used to. As one person shared, “[Social distancing] has improved [my fitness routine]. I’m able to walk in my neighborhood every day and still make it to my pilates and yoga classes without conflict.” Many people talked about how walking or running has become their main form of exercise. One person even reported a strange but helpful side effect of social distancing on their new workout routine: “It has kept me more mindful of my surroundings as I zigzag on my running routes to avoid people.” 

Whether they’re exercising more or exercising less, many students have one thing in common: they’re missing their regular team sports. Hallie Bender ‘21, a gymnast, said, “I am very, very sad to not be at the gym all the time, and I miss everyone there and the sport so much. It's virtually impossible to stay in the same shape as I normally am in during quarantine, and I wish we could start practicing again! Our state championship was supposed to be in mid-March and obviously that was cancelled. It's very sad to not be in the middle of competition season right now.”

Julia Beyer ‘22 expressed a similar sentiment about crew. “It’s been a real bummer missing out on what would have been my first racing season, but that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to train and look to the future,” she said. “As crew is something I want to continue doing for the rest of my high school career, and maybe even in college. I know it’s important to come out of this quarantine stronger than I was going into it.” Julia explained how she’s making the best in her time away from the water: “I’m kind of in a lucky spot in the way that a lot in my sport depends on your strength on land as well as on the water. When quarantine started, I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow an erg from the boathouse, so that I can train on it at home. I try to urg every day, and my coaches send workout schedules for me and my team to follow. I’ve also been participating in Virtual Regattas with my team, which are essentially online races where you send in your erg score and are ranked amongst the other rowers who enter. I recently placed 3rd in the Cooper Cup Virtual Regatta, a race my team would normally race in on the water, but given the current situation, it’s better than nothing! Having these online races to look ahead for has really helped me stay motivated. Aside from erging, I know it's important to switch up how you train on a daily basis to avoid stress related injuries, so I’ve also been running alot, hitting the trail for some longer bike rides, and doing some hiking when I can.”

Focus also asked for people’s favorite workouts, which we’ve linked below. In addition to YouTube suggestions, one student shouted out FCS’s own Sammy Burman, who shares his fitness routine on @burmgrinds_. 

During these uncertain times it is easy to feel out of control and overwhelmed. However, it is important for self care to be your top priority. Caring for your body through regularly eating and mindful exercise can also improve your mood and allow you to feel a sense of stability. 

Other Workout Suggestions: 

Yoga with Adrienne:

Chloe Ting Two-Week Shred:

Workout with Jeanette Jenkins:

25-Minute Home Workout (No Equipment):

Tired of Making the Same Dishes Over and Over Again? Give One of These a Try! 

little carton of heirloom or cherry tomatoes (halved)

tablespoon olive oil

teaspoon salt

fresh cracked pepper (as desired)

fresh basil

mix all of the above in a bowl

garlic bread:

3 tbsp olive oil

4 minced garlic cloves

1 tsp dried basil

salt and pepper

mix the ingredients above in a small bowl and then brush onto a good loaf of bread and put in the over for 8 minutes on 350


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