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Students still have many options for activities during the COVID-19 lockdown--By Sarah Yuen

When Principal Lemaster first announced a 3-week school closure in response to COVID-19, many classrooms jumped for joy. But as restaurants, stores, and beaches closed down, many students soon came to realize the limits of their newfound freedom. Now it looks like the school district will be closed for the rest of the year, and for some, the months ahead look long and monotonous. Whether you’ve been itching with cabin fever or you’re only just starting to feel the boredom creep in, these are some unique activities that might help improve your spirits during this time:

  • Dedicate some time and gas to becoming a “shopping angel.”

Just turn on the news and it’s likely you’ll hear news reporters urging high-risk groups (seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions) to stay home as much as possible. This makes it harder for these groups to take care of essential needs such as grocery shopping, as they require closer proximity to other people and objects other people have touched. Although social distancing guidelines have inhibited many volunteer events, students can still help these groups by becoming “shopping angels,” drivers who deliver groceries to seniors and families in need. Meals on Wheels, ElderHelp, Mama’s Kitchen, and It’s All About the Kids Foundation are all local organizations asking for volunteers. For students who have more time on their hands than activities to fill them, helping others deal with the COVID-19 crisis may be a noble and fulfilling option.

  • Cultivate your mind and pick up a leisure book.

Remember when you used to read books in elementary school? Then homework and extracurriculars may have gotten in the way, and you haven’t picked one up since. Now that you have more free time, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by some of our staff writers’ favorite books. For sci-fi lovers, senior editor-in-chief Polly Fitton recommends Ender’s Game, which follows a war between mankind and a race of hostile aliens called Formics, and Dune, which follows the power struggle between two noble houses over a planet with the rare spice melange. For some high-fantasy romance, the A Court of Thorns and Roses series retells beloved fairy tales such as The Beauty and the Beast in a land of faeries. Senior staff writer Nina Gerardi’s favorites include The Book Thief, a historical fiction about a girl who steals and reads books to find comfort in the oppressive Nazi Germany, and The Foxhole Court, a sports fiction about a talented “Exy” athlete who must balance his high profile with hiding from his crime-lord father.

The physical locations of San Diego’s public libraries are all currently closed, but digital books are still accessible through the internet. For reading on your mobile device, you can download Libby, a free app that allows you to borrow e-books and audiobooks from your local library.

  • Challenge your body by taking on a new fitness goal.

Many students who are (or aren’t) usually active have taken to at-home workouts or runs around the neighborhood, but without access to gyms or the school’s facilities, variances in exercise routines are limited. Challenging yourself to some unconventional goals like mastering complex yoga poses or the handstand can keep you interested in fitness. Yogajournal.com has a catalogue of yoga poses from beginner to advanced as well as step-by-step instructions on how to learn them. Once you’ve mastered the advanced poses, many of which require you to shift most of your weight to your hands, you might feel ready to take on the handstand. You can start by putting your feet against a wall and your hands on the floor and holding for 30-second intervals. Each day, add more intervals, inch your feet higher up the wall, and finally, lift your feet into the air. Before attempting this exercise, it’s important to do warm-up stretches, especially for your wrists and shoulders. For a more detailed guide on how to master the handstand, you can visit nerdfitness.com.

  • Improve your spirits by finding unique ways to interact with friends.

Although Facetime or social media allows you to keep in touch, you might still miss the energy of going out with a group of friends. Getting creative can allow you to bridge at least some of that gap. You could put together a gift and drop it off at your friend’s door: homemade pastries, a care package, a painting, a blank envelope full of badly photoshopped pictures, or anything else fun and unique. You could also grab a chair and a blanket and have a conversation from window to front lawn. While you’re there, some fun non-contact activities could include charades, recording TikToks, or doing DIY projects.

COVID-19 came suddenly and unexpectedly, and some students may have had difficulty adapting to stay-at-home life. Many of the activities we usually do are off-limits, but this also grants students more freedom to try things they hadn’t considered doing before.

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