How Your Drug Use Habits Might Affect Your Susceptibility to COVID-19 

Some view college as an acceptable time to learn about yourself and experiment with your environment (yes, I’m talking about drugs). However, it might be important to consider how your personal experiments or habits effect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know washing your hands, wearing a mask, and social distancing can help to reduce your chance of contracting COVID-19, but with potential asymptomatic carriers on a campus of nearly 50,000 people, COVID-19 is tough to evade.  

If you have done your research and have made the personal decision to try certain substances or if you suffer from addiction, we need to discuss the adverse health effects drug use may induce and how that relates to the current pandemic. Some of these adverse health effects may result in predisposing conditions, which make people more susceptible to things like COVID-19 and is therefore typically associated with severe cases. Predisposing conditions are things like cancer, COPD, heart conditions, type I and II diabetes, asthma, hypertension, liver disease, and immunocompromised individuals (Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness 2020). Please note, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that it is inconclusive if drug use is associated with higher occurrence of COVID-19, but I believe this information may be a beneficial perspective to students on our campus when making individualized and informed decisions on drug use (People Who Use Drugs or Have Substance Use Disorder 2020). Opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, heroin, and fentanyl are known to interfere with our breathing mechanism. Even without COVID-19, this can result in slow and ineffective breathing leading to decreased oxygen in the blood, which can result in brain damage. Stimulants like cocaine, methamphetamine, and ketamine are associated with stroke, heart attacks, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and can cause long term heart and lung damage. Smoking raises your risk of infection, can cause COPD, hypertension, asthma, and other lung conditions. With smoking, it is also important to be aware that sharing inhaled products like vapes, glassware, cigarettes, and joints/blunts can result in transmission of COVID-19. Furthermore, diseases like HIV and hepatitis are common among intravenous drug users and prevent the immune system from fighting off infection to its fullest potential (People Who Use Drugs or Have Substance Use Disorder 2020).  

For each example above, it is clear that side effects from these substances might not allow your body to defend itself to its fullest potential. A definitive relationship between drug use and severe COVID-19 cases is unclear at the moment, but studies have already begun and as the pandemic continues to unravel, more evidence will be uncovered. As a fellow OSU student, I hope this information helps you to better navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and empowers you to be well! 

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please refer to resources below for help: 

-Rachel Ernst 

A Socially Distant Relationship 

Dating during a pandemic can be difficult, specifically because isolation and quarantine guidelines may prevent a couple from seeing each other frequently. Although relationships have developed to the new tech-savvy world, without a consistent physical presence, dating may become harder, but also can have some benefits.

One of the main things to establish in a socially distant relationship is a schedule and routine. Talk to your partner about when is the best time for both of you to set aside time for each other, whether it be facetime or text conversations. By doing so, it can create a healthy amount of relationship time for both of you. With a schedule, it can give both partners a satisfactory amount of time to communicate with each other, but also gives each other the proper amount of space apart. Additionally, this may help resolve future arguments down the road about one partner not receiving enough attention, or even too much. Routines can help a relationship create a healthy amount of time to stay in touch during this difficult time.  

Take this time to further develop your emotional connection with your partner. Being isolated from one another allows you to focus solely on the emotional aspect of dating. This may be an awesome time to further see the compatibility between the two of you. Take advantage of it! Physical attraction is great obviously, and being unable to act on it may be difficult for some couples. But this may be one of the few times that acting on it is not possible, why not build the relationship further beyond that? This could possibly allow someone to truly get to know their partner beyond their dashing looks for the first time.  

This also may be an awesome time to get to learn new things about the person your dating as well. The pandemic has brought about major political debates. You may learn what their political standpoint is, and develop a way to respect their opinions if they counter yours. Additionally, by communicating during the virus, it gives you the opportunity to see how your partner handles difficult situations, and it also allows you to learn how to help them through tough times. Politics and optimism may be important to some, and dating during a pandemic is an awesome time to learn new things about one another.  

By taking advantage of this time apart, it may open new doors and opportunities in a relationship. Isolation is an awesome time for relationship growth, although it may not seem like it. Working hard on the relationship and connection now may be time-consuming, but in the long run, it may be worth it when things return to normal. 

-Ben Nagy, SWC Volunteer

Finding Food Freedom 

Growing up in the diet culture that surrounds us, I guarantee that most of you reading this can name a few diets or food trends from the top of your head. Whether it’s keto, paleo, cutting carbs or intermittent fasting, they are all restricting and it can be overwhelming trying to keep up a lifestyle based on these fad diets. Although there are people who may function well on these diets, for others they can make you feel limited and are often unsustainable in the long term.  

Especially for college students, life can be stressful enough and it’s not worth it to get upset over whether you should have that cupcake on your friend’s birthday or not. For those reading this who can relate, I’m here to tell you that your life doesn’t have to be this way! You can have a healthy lifestyle that honors your nutrition and health needs while still enjoying your favorite foods. You can find food freedom! 

The key words in finding this solution are intuitive eating. For those who have not heard of this before, an intuitive eater is defined as a person who “makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honors hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.” If this whole idea sounds appealing to you, here are some tips on how to start:  

  1. Listen to your hunger cues. This may sound obvious, but your hunger and fullness cues are there for a reason – to tell you approximately when to start eating and stop eating. Diets can make it seem like there is a very exact amount of calories that your body needs, but in reality, your metabolism changes from day to day based on a variety of factorshormonal changes, physical activity, how much you ate, sleep, etc. Listening to your hunger and fullness cues can help you appropriately respond to these changing needs. 
  2. Develop a healthier mindset about food. So many diets put “good” or “bad” labels on food and it can become ingrained in our thoughts surrounding food. Although certain foods may be more or less nutritious, these choices do not reflect your morality. Try to be aware of what foods you tend to label and instead of attaching words of morality, empower yourself to make decisions based on what feels good for your body in that moment.  

These are just two steps to get started, but there are links to other useful websites containing more information on this topic below. It’s all about finding what works best for your health and remembering that food does not determine your worth or value as an individual! 


-Sierra Schwierking, Nutrition Wellness Ambassador 

Improving Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Wellness through Yoga

Yoga is an ancient wellness practice rooted in Indian and Egyptian cultures. For thousands of years, the practice has been proven to positively influence individual’s holistic wellbeing. Developing a yoga practice can positively benefit multiple dimensions of wellness.  

Let’s learn about the many benefits of yoga below:  

Physical Wellness:  

The physically well person gets an adequate amount of sleep and a balanced and nutritious diet, engages in exercise for 150 minutes per week, attends regular medical check-ups and practices safe and healthy sexual relations.  

Yoga benefits the physical body through:  

  • Increased flexibility  
  • Increased muscle strength and tone 
  • Improved respiration, energy  and vitality 
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism  
  • Influences weight reduction  
  • Improves cardio and circulatory health  
  • Improves athletic performance 
  • Increases protection from energy  

Folks interested in yoga for their physical wellness might consider the following yoga styles: Ashtanga, Power Vinyasa, Vinyasa, Slow Flow Vinyasa, Hatha  

Emotional Wellness:  

The emotionally well person can identify, express and manage the entire range of feelings and would consider seeking assistance to address areas of concern.  

Yoga benefits emotional wellness through:  

  • Restoring energy, stimulates blood flow and releases endorphins 
  • Helping relieve depression  
  • Can help relieve anxiety by increasing resilience and stress-coping abilities 
  • Reducing stress and can increase a sense of control 
  • Creating better mind-body awareness 
  • Can enhance the mind-body connection, improving positive body image 
  • Increasing positive outlook on life 
  • Helps manage and decrease feelings of hostility  
  • Can improve social skills  

Folks interested in yoga for their emotional wellness might consider the following yoga styles: Ashtanga, Power Vinyasa, Vinyasa, Slow Flow Vinyasa, Hatha, Restorative, Yin 

Spiritual Wellness:  

The spiritually well person seeks harmony and balance by openly exploring the depth of human purpose, meaning and connection through dialogue and self-reflection.  

Yoga benefits spiritual wellness through:  

  • Increasing consciousness of self
  • Teaching you to be okay with stillness 
  • Increasing connection to the universe and a higher sense of being  
  • Can lead to a broader sense of hope, well-being, love and inspiration within us 
  • Developing a stronger focus on the present  
  • Can increase individual and collective sense of purpose  
  • Improving intuitive wisdom  

Folks interested in yoga for their spiritual wellness might consider the following yoga styles: Hatha, Restorative, Yin, Yoga Nidra, Meditation  

Whether you are initially interested in yoga for the physical, emotional or spiritual benefits, over time it can improve all 3 of these dimensions in wellness in your life. If  you’ve tried yoga and the past and it didn’t seem to work for you, maybe consider a different style of yoga.  


-Ivory Levert, Program Manager

Working from Home:  A Checklist to Support Your Mental Health

Create a space dedicated ONLY for work  

Avoid working in your bedroom if possible. Doing work in your bedroom can interfere with sleep, as your body will learn to associate that space with being alert, awake and switched on. If your workspace is limited to your bedroom, create a cue to yourself indicating when it’s time to work and when it’s not. For example, using a desk lamp cue, only turn the lamp on when it’s time to work, and anytime the lamp is off, no work is allowed. 

Create boundaries between ‘work time’ and ‘home time’ 

Recognize and avoid the pressure to work 24/7. Set a routine as if you are going into an office for a day job, with a regular start time, finish time, and structure for your day, making sure that breaks and exercise are scheduled in. This will help you maintain a strong boundary between work and home life, minimizing the chances of work intruding into personal time. This can also help you switch off from work at the end of the day. Creating cues, such as changing into your work clothes at the start of the day and changing back at the end of the day can help with this.  

Try a digital detox in the evenings 

Technology makes it easier to stay connected, but the downside is that it can make it difficult to switch off and separate work and home life. A full workday in front of computer screen is more than enough screen time for one day. In the evenings, try picking up a downtime activity that doesn’t involve screens, like reading a book, playing a board game with family, or practicing a new craft.   

 Get Outside! 

Try to get outside at least once a day. Go for a walk, ride a bike, jog; anything to expose yourself to some fresh air and sunshine. Expert tip: call a friend when going on your walk, even schedule it so that you both go on a walk at the same time every day! 

-Joseph Doherty, Wellness Coaching Coordinator

Meal Prep Made Easy 

Figuring out what to eat, and shopping and cooking your own food can seem daunting at first but breaking it down into simple steps can make it much more manageable. Research shows that meal prep not only saves time, but is also associated with a more nutritious, well-balanced diet. It can help remove the stress and uncertainty of figuring out what to eat.  

 Figure Out the Basics 

  • How many meals do you want or need to prep for the week?  
  • What meals do you want to prep for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner?  
  • What day works best for shopping and preparing food?  
  • What is your budget?  

Nailing down a schedule can help you stay organized and on track. This will also help when considering what to buy at the grocery store, saving time and potentially money by sticking with a grocery list instead of making impulsive purchases. Check out these meal planning apps which can help you organize and prepare what to eat for the week! 

Find Recipes 

A common misconception with meal prep is that it gets boring. It’s the same food over and over again. It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some great tips to spice things up: 

  • To structure meals, aim for a mix of macronutrients and include a fruit or vegetable for a source of fiber. Check out these meal ideas and consider ways you can mix and match the foods you like to create well-balanced meals. 
  • Identify recipes and foods you like and would be excited to try.  
  • If you really enjoy cooking, pick a more advanced recipe. If not, go simple! If you don’t enjoy being in the kitchen, there are some great recipes that keep it short and sweet. 

There are many great websites, apps and blogs that have fun and creative recipesHere are a couple of websites and apps for additional recipe ideas! 

Websites Apps
Budget Bytes  Yummly
Dinner at the Zoo Tasty
Hummusapien All Recipes
Positive Health Wellness   SideChef

Create a Shopping List 

Now that you know what you’ll be making for the week, create a shopping list based on the food and supplies you need. A shopping list will keep you focused and more likely to resist temptation while shopping. Take an inventory of the ingredients you have and can use. If you notice anything missing or need more of, add it to the list.  

Prepare Food 

There are a few ways to approach this. Personally, I like to prep my fruits and veggies first. I often found that if I left strawberries, for example, whole, unwashed and in their container from the store, I either wouldn’t eat them or I was less inclined to grab them on the go. Prepping food ahead of time can help to save time throughout the week and decrease the likelihood of food going to waste or dining out instead.  

  • Consider 1-2 days per week when you have time to grocery shop and/or prep food and carve that time into your calendar. 
  • After grocery shopping, store any perishable food into the refrigerator or freezer right away.  
  • Consider cooking larger batches of food at one time and/or prepping some food ahead of time (e.g. chopping all the veggies or a salad or sandwich). This way, you can have food already prepared, saving time throughout the week. 
  • You can either pre-portion each day’s meal ahead of time or keep all the components separate and portion them as you go through the week.  
  • When stored properly, most food can last throughout the week. 

Remember, this isn’t set in stone. As you go, you will start to figure out what works and what doesn’t, what you like and don’t like. Use these insights to tailor your meal prep for you. Individualize it and get creative.  

-Audrey LeMaster, Medical Dietetics intern

Secure Your Credit Score with a Secured Credit Card

In my sophomore year of college, I was a volunteer financial coach teaching fellow Buckeyes about the importance of building credit early without having a credit card myself. The hypocrisy! So I decided to change that, but how could I get a credit card without a credit history or a steady income?  

If you said, “Get a secured card!” you would be correct! Secured cards are a great option for college students who do not currently have a credit history and are looking to build their credit score (which can affect things down the road like approval of loans, interest rates on those loans, employment, and more!).  

A secured card acts like a security deposit that you may have already placed on your off-campus housing. You know, that one-month’s rent that your landlord holds onto “just in case” you wreck the place? And they always take at least some, or all, of your deposit for a hole in the wall that was there when you moved in? Trust me, this works much better in a credit scenario! 

I schedule an appointment with my bank and asked if I could get a secured card, so they told me to put $300 down as a “security deposit” that they would take from if I ended up missing a payment. That $300 also became my credit limit, or how much I could spend on that card per month (keep in mind that you should only spend up to 30% of your credit limit, so $90 in my case!). They told me that if I kept up good habits for a year, I could get my $300 back and then exchange the secured card for a credit card with a higher limit. 

So that’s what I did! I made sure to only put a few purchases on my secured card per month to stay below that $90 and used my debit card for my other purchases. I paid everything off in full at the end of the month and ended up with a credit score in the “very good” range, even though I had only had it for a year! Because of this, I was able to go back to my bank, get my $300 back, and exchange my secured card for a credit card with a $1500 limit. 

This is a great way for college students to start building credit while building good spending habits as well! I recommend checking out the options at your bank of choice or going to, where they can break down all of the secured card options out there for you. I am available by email ( if you have any questions as well. Go build that credit! 

Bryan Moriarity, Scarlet and Gray Financial Coach