Stay home: Traveling over spring break is a risk you shouldn’t take Tuesday, Feb 23 2021 

By Zachary Baker–

It seems insane to imagine that we are nearing the one-year anniversary of when this pandemic began, for many of us it feels as if time just stopped. 

So many of us feel as though the only way that we know time is passing is because deadlines for assignments get closer and closer. It may feel like we all need a vacation, a trip to the beach, or to Las Vegas for a night on the town. It may be tempting with classes online and spring break coming up soon. 

But don’t fall to temptation. Rather, stay strong, stay home and stay safe over the next couple of months.

According to data reported by The New York Times, the 7-day average for new cases of COVID-19 within Jefferson County have been declining since early January.

In February, the rate of new cases dipped below 1,000 on 3 separate days. For a brief period, Jefferson County was considered an “orange county” as the incidence rate dropped to less than 25 cases per 100,000 individuals.

At the time of this article’s publication Jefferson County is back to being a red county.

With vaccinations coming, and many people that we know already receiving them, it may seem as if this is almost all over and we can return to normal. However, being near the end doesn’t mean that the threat of the pandemic is over yet. 

“The benefits of travel simply aren’t worth the risks, yet,” said Scott LaJoie, an associate professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at U of L. “By spring break, too few people will be fully vaccinated, there are new strains of SARS-COV-2 trying to get established, and we could end up giving the pandemic new life if we stop doing what we know works.” 

The threat that a new strain could go around before we are ready to stop our current one is very real, and it is a situation that we see happening in other parts of the world. 

At the same time, you want to go out and do something fun to get away from the same old routine you find yourself caught in. But you do not have to travel in order to get away from our routines. You can find fun at home under current protections. 

One option is to travel to one of the nature trails or parks within the county and get a breath of fresh air and exercise. Another is to have small get-togethers with friends on Zoom for some much-needed social time. 

“With mass vaccinations underway, the end of the pandemic is finally coming into view. We have the tools to keep ourselves and others safe. It is up to us not to stumble at the finish line,” said Ryan Combs, an assistant U of L professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences.

We are close to winning against this disease, and while it may be awhile before things feel normal again, we shouldn’t risk our lives and the lives of others for an attempt to get away from it all. 

Stay home, stay in Louisville, stay safe and let’s beat this thing.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Valentine’s Day looks a little bit different for singles this year Sunday, Feb 14 2021 

By Riley Vance–

As the first Valentine’s Day of the pandemic approaches, many single students may feel relief that they won’t be the only ones at home by themselves this year. 

For some, Valentine’s Day is full of chocolate, flowers, and cards from their loved ones. For others, it’s a dreadful day that comes once a year and couldn’t pass by faster. 

The anxiety or fear of missing out (FOMO) on fun events is a real phenomenon that most people have probably experienced from time to time—especially college students. 

Lalin Anik, assistant professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, analyzed the ways in which FOMO has continued through the pandemic.

“We wanted to see what might happen to FOMO during this time of COVID-19, when people are stuck at home, largely unable to travel, attend large gatherings or do many of the things we would normally do for fun.

“FOMO in the pandemic stems from the difficulty of catching up with all of the things being offered online, far more than we can be a part of or watch all at once,” said Anik.

In the pandemic, this means missing out on social gatherings via Zoom, conversations over social media or other online activities that might only be available for a short time.

This feeling of missing out can definitely be stronger on Valentine’s Day if you’re sitting at home binge-watching rom-coms like a hopeless romantic while simultaneously scrolling past couples posting pictures of their significant others sitting across the table from them at a fancy restaurant. 

This year, however, is a completely different scenario. 

Yes, there will still be a million Boomerangs of people clinking their glasses of wine or champagne together to celebrate their everlasting love for each other. 

There will also be a number of people laying low this year as well, which some people may find comfort in. 

Abby Ebersold, a senior communications major, is spending her night doing just that. 

“I’m just spending my Valentine’s Day at home with my roommates. We’re going to watch movies, make dinner, and bake a fun dessert. There’s definitely no shame in having a low-key Valentine’s Day especially during the pandemic,” said Ebersold.

We all fall prey to blaming the pandemic for being lazy, unproductive, or anti-social. Now, you can blame the pandemic for spending your Valentine’s Day by yourself. You don’t even have to feel bad about it, because you’re technically doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re kind of saving lives.

So, this year for Valentine’s Day, order takeout from your favorite restaurant, watch your favorite movies, buy yourself some chocolate and flowers, and have an awesome night in by yourself. Take pride in knowing that you’re not contributing to the widespread transmission of the coronavirus.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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How to spend your rainy day this spring Monday, Feb 8 2021 

By Grace Welsh- 

With spring right around the corner, spring showers and gloomy days may hinder us from doing the things we love, but you don’t have to be bored if you use the time to your advantage. Here are some things you can do in the comfort of your own home to pass the time on a rainy day.

 

Get creative.

Building a puzzle is a great way to exercise your mind. Puzzles have been proven to increase short term memory, visual-spatial awareness, and mental speed.  They are also a great tool to practice mindfulness, patience and relieve stress. 

If you don’t have any puzzles on standby, consider making your own using a picture from a magazine and a pair of scissors.

Baking is another great way to pass the time. Because of quarantines and lockdowns, many have already picked up learning how to bake.

With no one to tell you not to, why not use your free day to make that dream cake you’ve been wanting to bake? One thing you can do is make an iconic dessert from a movie or show. For example, Miss Trunchbull’s chocolate cake from Matilda, Tiana’s honey-glazed baguettes from The Princess and the Frog, or Alice’s shape-shifting cookies as seen in Alice in Wonderland. Invite a friend to come share with you or enjoy your delicacy on your own.

If you’d rather sit down and write, you can always follow a journal prompt.

To some people, writing in a journal may seem arbitrary and too open-ended, but using a prompt to aid what you write about can aid in your own journey of self-discovery. 

Moving your thoughts from your head to a page can help clear your mind and release pent-up emotions in a safe way. Ask yourself questions like: “How would someone who just met me describe me?” or, “when am I most in my element?”

A few minutes of self reflection everyday can make a big difference!

 

Practice self care through good cleaning habits.

The thought of cleaning isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s truly easier said than done. But a rainy day inside is the perfect excuse to crank up your music and deep clean all the nooks and crannies in your home that don’t get enough love. 

Vacuum under that couch, scrub out that microwave, wipe down those windows, and wash those sheets. Try working in 25 minute increments with 5 minute breaks, otherwise known as the Pomodoro method, and it can make time go by faster and increase your productivity. 

But you also need to focus on keeping your body in good condition.

Time spent on self care is never wasted. Your body is your home, and sometimes it can be easy to neglect certain pieces. If you have the opportunity on a rainy day at home, take the time to listen to what your body needs and cater to it. 

Light some candles and soak in an Epsom salt bath, play with some nail polish, try on outfits that make you feel awesome, stretch your bones or try a face mask

Take time to do something fun.

Find a nice movie to sit down and enjoy. Sometimes, all we really need is a day on the couch or snuggled up in bed to make us feel better. Giving yourself permission to release, relax, and consume a comforting film is a wonderful experience. Whether it be a critically acclaimed A24 film, or a Nicholas Sparks tearjerker, whatever you do with your day off is your business.

Dance like nobody’s watching! Getting up and moving your body is a great way to release endorphins and serotonin that boost your mood. Stretch your body, turn on that playlist, dim the lights, and dance like no one’s watching. Invite your roommates/friends to join, or partake in the cathartic experience by yourself. You won’t be disappointed by the results. 

Think of something you’ve been curious about for a while and take some time to learn more about it. 

Going down rabbit holes on Wikipedia or Youtube are fun ways to learn about a topic, but you could also watch a documentary or pick up a book from the library. Some interesting documentaries include Ancient Top 10 on Hulu and 13th, or, Have a Good Trip on Netflix.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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