With the sudden lockdown from COVID-19, everyone is forced to stay home. This can be quite frustrating, not being able to leave the house or see friends. Those with mental health problems may have an even harder time during this isolation. The fear and anxiety of the disease and being forced to stay inside can be very stressful.
People with anxiety disorders have to face the fear of the illness itself, and those with other illnesses, such as depression, could fall back into bad habits without a normal schedule to help them. Without the clutch of going to school and being able to get your mind off things, there is nothing to do and without these distractions your mind can take over. Good habits, like eating healthy and exercise, may be replaced without the motivation. People begin to sleep too much, and over eat or don’t eat at all. Those who fall back into bad habits do so because there is no normal, clear schedule. They are now isolated to their house with the challenge of bad habits resurfacing.
The best way to avoid these bad habits is to try to find some sort of schedule. It can be hard because living in this isolation is not “the norm,” but making a routine of getting up and eating at the same times as before may help.
One Waterford High junior explained her struggles throughout this pandemic. She explained how her mental health is not doing well at the moment, “It’s making me feel lonely and pretty isolated…It is causing me to overthink and distance myself from others emotionally.” Without being able to see friends and distract yourself, it can take a toll on your mental state. But there are ways she is coping with the distancing and distracting herself. She mentions taking walks when the sun is out and partaking in activities she enjoys, like art, as a good distraction. Even though she has these distractions, things aren’t always going to go well, “Overall this is pretty hard for me since I’m a very extroverted…”
Another Waterford junior explained how the isolation affects their motivation. Without the consistent schedule, “I am having a hard time having any motivation to do anything.” It can be hard to find the motivation to continue your normal tasks. Things like school work can be hard to focus on without the motivation of going to school and seeing your teachers. Now with online classes “class time” is only once a week and not very consistent. Without this daily consistency it can be hard to get back into the groove of things and a schedule.
Waterford is providing resources to help students during this tough time. School counselors are providing content on their Google Classroom pages. Waterford Youth Services is also providing a main line at (860)444-55848 for free counseling over the phone. Additionally, school counselor Leah O’Connor mentioned a document with support sources for students, “resources for students mostly in the way of mental health… we’ll be posting it or sending it out this week.”
The best thing for us to do during this time is to try and find the normal during these hard times. It is important to distract yourself and to indulge in some of your favorite hobbies. Taking walks outside or playing video games can be a great source of distraction. Another thing to keep you feeling better, is to try to keep a schedule. Even though everything seems out of whack it is important to keep a routine.
Remember to just focus on yourself during this time and do not be afraid to reach out for any help.