Navigating Dating Apps in the Age of COVID-19 

The COVID-19 pandemic has halted a lot of things, but not everyone is letting it halt their search for a boo or a casual fling. Dating and hookup apps have risen in popularity in the past few years, and the new norms around social distancing and staying at home brought by the pandemic have made it more difficult to meet someone in person. Many college students use apps like Tinder and Bumble to look for anything from a no-strings-attached hookup to a potential long-term partner. While these apps are familiar to a lot of college students, the unspoken rules of interacting with others through the platforms have changed in the era of COVID-19. Here are some tips for navigating dating and hookup apps in these crazy times. 

Know the Risks  

You likely already know that coming into close contact with someone puts you at risk for spreading or contracting COVID-19. Knowing this, you can decide which activities you’d be comfortable with while on a date or during a hookup and which you’d rather avoid. Virtual dates over FaceTime or Zoom are a great, no-risk option for getting to know somebody. If it’s important to you to meet up in person, staying outdoors throughout the date can be a great way to lower your risk. Things like going on a hike, picnicking at a park, or getting lunch at a restaurant with outdoor seating can allow you to have a fun in-person date with lower risk. Bumble even has a feature for users that allows you to specify in your profile whether you’re comfortable with virtual dates only or in-person dates with or without a mask.  

Keep Open Communication 

Everyone’s comfort levels and the risks they’re willing to take are different, so it’s important to communicate openly and honestly with a potential partner and ask them what they are comfortable with. For example, if you and someone you’ve met on a dating app are planning to meet in person but you would be more comfortable if you both wore masks, let them know ahead of time and gauge their reaction. If they’re resistant to the idea, they may not be the best fit for you right now. Even though it may seem awkward, it’s also a good idea to talk about how far the two of you are willing to go physically, taking the pandemic into account. 

Treat COVID-19 like an STI 

If you and someone you’ve met decide you want to hook up, treat COVID-19 similarly to how you’d treat a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you both test negative and then stay at home and watch for symptoms up until meeting, you’ll feel more at ease and be at a lower risk of transmitting the virus to one another. Talking about where you’ve been and who you’ve been in contact with recently is also important. And while it might seem forward, you should make sure you’re on the same page about whether or not the two of you are seeing other people, which could increase your risk.  

Sex and romance during a pandemic can seem scary, and if you’re just not feeling it right now, that’s totally okay. But if you really want to get out there and meet new people, have fun and stay safe!  

– Sara Kleine, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador  


Journaling: The Power of Written Word 

Why Start a Journal? 

Journaling empowers you to live true to yourself. It teaches you to make more intentional choices, grounds you when you feel overwhelmed or out of control but ultimately, no matter how you format it, journaling is about self-awareness. Think of it like carrying out a research project; youre observing your actions and your feelings so you can get to know yourself better. This self-awareness is the key to getting off the treadmill and living an intentional, meaningful life. 

 Unraveling Your Feelings
Journaling gives you space to work through emotions in a way that leaves you with a feeling of clarity. Use the journal as a platform to process complex or difficult emotions. Don’t hold back, the paper can take it. 

Types of Journaling 

  • Classic Journal – This is simply a diary, and you can write whatever you want in it every day. It can be long or short, you can skip days if you want to, and there doesn’t have to be any structure or specific flow to your thoughts. 
  • Gratitude Journal – A gratitude journal is a collection of things that you are grateful for. You can use a gratitude journal to focus on the positive things in your life and to record the people that you are thankful for. 
  • Goal Planning Journal – Goal planning journals help you focus on your goal and stick to them through a series of prompts and checklists. The trick to these journals is the variety available. The journals are themed to different goals such as academic, career, physical goals, and more! Have a checklist with a small writing area or prompts giving you tasks to complete and thoughts regarding those tasks. 
  • Bullet Journals – Bullet journals are the sandbox of journaling. You can use these with calendars, lists, bullet lists, and task lists. It is all open for you to create and use different methods to arrive at your short term tasks, long term goals or as a record for any thoughts/ ideas you have throughout the day! You can use different symbols for different bullet entries!!  
  • Morning Pages – A great way to begin is to write “morning pages”, which is a term used by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way (a great book for anyone who wants to develop their creative wellness) to describe stream of consciousness writing. The idea is to just start writing whatever is on your mind (even if you write “blah, blah” or whatever). Don’t overthink it—just keep writing! 

How to Start 

First and foremost, relax and let go of any ideas about doing it the “right” way— because when it comes to journaling, there’s no such thing! Your journal is a personal space for you to use however you see fit. If you don’t know what to write about, a great place to begin is by asking questions. Some favorites include: 

  • How do you feel right now? 
  • Why do you feel that way? 
  • How do you want to feel? 
  • What can you do to feel that way? 

Alternatively, imagine you were having a conversation with a close and trusted friend—what would you want to talk about? Try talking to your journal like you would a trusted friend (because I promise that with time, it will start to feel that way!). 

Creating a Journaling Habit 

One of the most important things to know about journaling is that you need to stick with it. The more you write, the easier it will become and the more you’ll notice the benefits. 

 The easiest way to start the habit is to schedule a time for yourself that will be consistent every day. Get a notebook that you love looking at or touching, or if you prefer to go digital, try Evernote or other note-taking apps. Of course, there’s always blogging if you’re ok with being more public with your mental processes. No matter which route you take, journaling is a worthwhile life practice to start.  

Something to Think About 
You’re not alone in practicing journaling as a habit. Some of the most influential leaders, artists, inventors and activists in history have kept a journal. Kurt Cobain. Abraham Lincoln. Leonardo Da Vinci. Andy Warhol; they all kept journals. If it worked for them, who’s to say what you’ll get from the practice of journaling?  

 – Omar K, Student Assistant 

Engaging in Mindfulness Amidst the Chaos

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”. – Angela Davis  

Hello fellow Buckeyes!  

I’m sure a lot of us are feeling the pressure of mid-semester assignments and exams along with the struggle of trying to stay on top of it all. It’s important to remember to stay on top of your mental health as well. Keeping your stress in check is incredibly important, and according to the 2010 American College Health Association, the National College Health Assessment reported that more than 25% of students reported that their stress had lowered their grades, or even their ability to complete a course.  

Take some time for selfcare this week and beyond by pausing to watch your favorite movie, put on a face mask, practice yoga, journal, or whatever else you need to do to relieve stress in a proactive and healthy way. You may even consider finding something new to try! 

One of the more popular ways to relieve stress is meditation, which you can do in multiple ways and in many different places. Take a few moments to yourself and focus on your breathing with no distractions, and once you’re done, you may find yourself feeling a lot less stressed! Never tried yoga or meditation before? We got you covered.  

Join the Buckeye PAL volunteers for a bi-weekly mindfulness practice. Each session will include meditation, mindful movement and reflection. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and bring a journal for note-taking. Sign up for one or both of the next upcoming sessions:  

  • Wednesday Nov. 4,   8:30 pm – 9:30 pm  
  • Wednesday Nov. 18, 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm  

You can also contact a Buckeye PAL volunteer if you need someone to talk to. The Buckeye Peer Access Line (PAL) is a non-crisis peer-to-peer support line that provides a space for students to engage in brief phone conversations in order to gain support and learn about campus resources. The Buckeye PAL Line operates Monday-Friday from 8 pm – 12 am.  

Learn more about the Buckeye Peer Access Line on our website! 

Amber Lukachinsky, Buckeye PAL Volunteer