By Leila Piazza
Wellbeing Diaries is a weekly series featuring different PSU community members sharing their perspectives on practicing and understanding wellbeing. This week, a student talks about combating Zoom fatigue and how her mental health has changed since the start of the pandemic.
I’m Leila Piazza, my pronouns are she/her/hers. I am a junior pursuing an Arts and Letters bachelor’s degree with Arabic and Writing minors. I am a peer mentor and member of the Honors college and I love the education I’m receiving at PSU! I’m getting ready for my senior Honors thesis, a creative thesis exploring shared cultural connections within the Syrian/Syrian American community. When I’m not studying, I love gardening, playing with my cat, and napping in the sun. (Go Phils!)
How do you move your body/practice joyful movement?
Yoga is my go-to movement practice. During the pandemic, yoga has become even more important because of its versatility. In the morning, I need joint lubrication and stretching to release all the kinks. During the day, I work on strength and endurance with standing postures and arm balances. In the evening, intuitive flow with music or yin postures on a bolster can help calm me down and prepare me for bed. Walking is another important part of my day. Being out in fresh air, saying hello to neighbors, and watching the plants and flowers bloom improves my mental and physical health.
What is your routine for getting ready for bed?
I study in the evenings, so some winding downtime is super important for being able to sleep. When I’m done studying, I watch a little TV. Lately, I’ve been streaming a Syrian soap opera called Dabour. Also, Modern Family and Firefly. After some evening yoga, I heat up a rice bag heating pad and slip it under the covers. I get in bed in my jammies and listen to a Buddhist metta loving kindness prayer. I practice this or something similar whenever I worry about someone. I just change that worry into prayer.
How do you combat Zoom Fatigue?
I make sure I get lots of non-screen time every day and try to space out my Zoom meetings, rather than going back to back. When I have a break between meetings, I close my computer, go outside, stretch, play piano, or do anything else that is non-computer related. I also make sure I take a break between my daytime computer activities and my evening homework time.
How has your mental health changed since the start of the pandemic? Are there ways it has improved and/or declined?
While we’ve all been experiencing the pandemic, I also experienced several other personal life-changing events. Major shifts in my life led me to tools for improving my well-being. I’m working on letting go of old patterns and learning some new ones. The side benefit has been a lot of strategies that help me manage the stress and anxiety of the pandemic. Some of the most important tools I use are ideas like:
- Take responsibility for my choices, not for the choices of other people.
- Live in the present.
- Remind myself to HALT. Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. If the answer is yes, I can immediately stop whatever I’m doing and attend to that need.
Are there any new books that you have read or are currently reading? What is it about, and why did you choose that book?
I’m reading Trevor Noah’s book, “Born a Crime,” and next up is “Caste, The Origins of Our Discontent,” by Isabel Wilkerson. “Born a Crime” is about Noah’s experience growing up mixed-race in South Africa (which was literally, proof of a crime – interacial sex). “Caste” is about the hidden caste system that exists today in the United States. Both of these books were gifts from friends and well-timed. As an Arab American, it’s important to me to learn more about the system of white supremacy and to understand its effects on others. I hope this is a conversation that keeps growing.
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