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Ask an Aggie

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The COVID-19 pandemic upended the everyday lives of people across the world.

Suddenly remote school, remote work, Zoom weddings, and even delayed funerals, became the new norm. 2020 was understandably hard. We asked Aggies on Utah State’s Alumni Association social channels @UtahStateAlumni, how they have maintained their health during these challenging times and how they plan on tackling 2021.

a bearded young doctor in a white coat smiles

“Start off the new year maintaining close personal relationships and integrate yourself socially with the people with whom you interact on a daily basis. Research has shown that these two factors are the strongest predictors of longevity in life. As a gynecology/oncology fellow, these are some of the things that I inform our patients about as we navigate their cancer care.”
– Dr. Nnamdi Gwacham ’09

a blonde woman wearing a brightly colored shirt smiles

I get up and workout at 5:30 every morning. I don’t always enjoy waking up so early, but it makes such a difference in my day when I start off the morning with exercise! My day always goes better if I have made time for myself first. Krystal Plott ’04


Funny enough, memes! 2020 has been great to look at memes and laugh. When I need to destress, I avoid all the political and news related items and look or scroll through groups that are about my interests … cattle, crafts, and birding. It’s nice to still be able to view social media but get away from the negativity. 

Nicole Beckstead ’08

Reading and writing encouraging material to friends and family has been my goal through this Covid crisis. If I can just give a little encouragement and sometimes humor to a friend or family member it helps me feel better that day.

– Gary Rawlings ’68
a middle aged man in glasses wears a plaid shirt and smiles

I scheduled a daily team walk. We all join a call and talk non-work items while going on a wellness walk. Keeps us connected socially while getting some steps. – Jeff Johnson ’03

I have been more focused on my kids and my family. I have started working at a high school to help students get ready to go to college and it has been so rewarding to feel like I’m helping them see their options for a great future. – Jenica Bingham Whitworth ’06 

I turned morning commute time into exercise time. I’ve lost 80 pounds! – Ryan White ’01

I had a family member, with whom I was very close, pass away late last year. To honor them, I decided to do a year of grateful on Facebook. Every day for the last year, I have posted at least one thing that I am grateful for. With this year being this year, there were many days I didn’t want to be grateful for anything, and yet I could find something. Sometimes it was something as simple as I am grateful for cold cereal so I don’t have to cook tonight. I think that has helped a lot with my mental health and getting through this challenging year. 

– Amanda Massengale ’16


A woman wearing an Aggie sweatshirt smiles

My best practice is reaching out to someone I can’t see in person and telling them I love them, I’m thinking of them, and something about them that is important to me. It lifts my mood and helps me be positive. I also try to get my steps in and work standing at my desk instead of sitting all day  – Lisa Hudson, USU staff 

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