How To Maintain Your Mental Health During Quarantine

How+To+Maintain+Your+Mental+Health+During+Quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of our lives.

The pandemic and quarantine were negative shifts in reality for everyone and big adjustments had to be made. Major life changes can be extremely stressful and traumatic.

Our focus here is the impact it had on our mental health. How did it affect us in that aspect of our lives?

“Our mental health is greatly impacted by the people around us and the social interactions we have on a daily basis,” said senior Gabriela Dominguez. “When we lose that everyday interaction we feel more isolated and it can cause us to think negatively about the life that we are living.”

Humans are naturally social. So, when we take that factor out of our daily lives, it can be soul shattering for most people. 

“So many people were used to communicating with people through face-to-face interactions but also supplementing that with other means of communication like texting,” said psychology teacher Denise Valencia. “With the pandemic, we find ourselves communicating mostly through text and social media, but still lacking that face-to-face component.”

What we are faced with here is grief. People are grieving not being able to see and be around people. No, texting and calling people does not have the same effect as seeing people physically.

When we say that it’s the same thing, we are invalidating the suffering that many have undergone from not being able to see people in the same breath; further elongating the isolation that people have been suffering as a result.

“I think that for many of us the pandemic was hard because it was so sudden and sudden negative things always have a hard impact on our mental well being,” said Dominguez.

The pandemic was an ENORMOUS major life change for all of us, and since it was a negative major life change, it has put the world under unimaginable amounts of stress.

Alongside the uncertainty of what the future has to bring, mixed in with having to find a way to survive in the present, this new reality has affected the meaning of life for most; including a person’s own sense of self.

Despite the world going through a storm, hope for a bright future is not lost.

So, what are some things that you can do in order to take care of your mental health?

“Take a walk, exercise, take up a hobby, read a book, talk to friends, paint your room, play games,” said Valencia. “Just do something.”

To keep ourselves busy throughout these times, you should consider trying new things, things that you have been interested in looking into—only if you want to though.

“I read scripts mainly, I read a lot,” said senior Alondra Chavarin-Meza. “I got into painting, I practiced cinematography and taking pictures, and of course I watched movies and TV shows. I’ve also gotten into exercising and meditation, it’s helped me a lot.”

If you want to start activities that help you understand where you stand within yourself, look into things that may help with your overall well-being.

“One thing I recommend doing is buying a journal and writing down your thoughts and you can also write down your goals for the day,” said junior Angie Aguayo. “This has helped me feel more at peace and more productive.”

Just by taking small steps toward looking into what works best for you, you are already setting yourself up for success which will contribute to maintaining a better state of mind.

Having motivation may be another factor that will play into the journey of self-care.

A lot of people have lost motivation to do anything because they feel alone. This correlates back  to the barrier of communication that the pandemic has placed upon us.

All of this leads back to one question, how can we let our friends and family know that we are thinking about them? How can we let them know that we are there for them?

“One thing that we can do is to check up on [friends and family] and let them talk to you about how they feel because I feel like during these times everyone has a lot on their mind,” said Aguayo.

There is absolutely no shame in reaching out to someone, whether it’s a friend, family member, acquaintance, etc. If you feel that you need someone to talk to, make sure you take the measures to talk about what you’re feeling.

Just talking to people about our emotions is the key to feeling less alone.

“Honestly, don’t be so hard on yourself by asking them,” said Chavarin-Meza. “Reach out to people. If you don’t speak up, some go silent and never open up or we don’t know if they need help or anything. Just simply reach out even if it can feel awkward or weird at times.”

 “I know of students who just stopped speaking to their friends because they don’t see them like they used to,” said Valencia. “Losing friends can make you feel alone and no one wants to feel alone. This can lead to sadness, if not depression. I don’t think any of us realized how much being in front of our friends actually mattered.”

The school also has resources available to students, if you ever need help with anything, or would just like someone to talk to, please contact your counselor and they should be able to guide you in the right direction.

Communication is key.