The pandemic taught Eileen Martinez to take care of herself.

“You see all the devastation that it caused. The last thing I wanted was for it to happen to me or my family,” said the junior majoring in Biology and Health Science. “That definitely pushed the idea that I should make some changes.” 

The pandemic was a wake-up call for Martinez.

“Before all of this, I used to have extreme workaholic habits. My schedule basically consisted of me, you know, going to school, then … homework. Go out with friends and do a lot of things with my family,” said Martinez. “But now that all this is happening, we’re all trying to stay a little bit safer. 

“I try to avoid a lot of areas with a lot of people,” she said. “I haven’t been going out as much anymore. Just out of safety reasons.”

Martinez said the pandemic taught her to find more balance in her life.

“Now, I have a lot more time to focus on myself,” she said. “so I was able to develop … healthier habits like exercising, eating better foods. I try to exercise four times a week. Instead of having three cans of soda, I will have one. I give myself more free time now.”

Martinez can feel the difference.

“I feel really good. I’m not lethargic. I got more energy,” she said. “In terms of health and staying healthy, I won’t get sick as often. I am able to handle situations, like COVID, a little bit better. I’m able to make a lot of better decisions and take situations a lot more calmly.”

As many students struggle to recover from a year of COVID-induced isolation, Martinez thinks it made her a better person.

“I feel like now I have a lot healthier mind space,” she said.