Confined in your mind

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, it’s more important than ever to keep in mind our mental health. The monotony of finishing each weekly assignment after the next, sleeping into slippery hours, staying inside with only a phone in our hands and eating whatever leftovers there are in our fridge after months of no outside contact — it’s a lot to take in all at once.

A lot of the behavioral patterns people have experienced during the coronavirus quarantine have been akin to habits of depression, anxiety and various other mental illnesses. The coronavirus outbreak, though it may seem like a far-away fantasy that has not yet touched our world, is a stressful time for everyone. There is so much unprecedented activity around us, like layoffs and furloughs, extreme disruptions from everyday life and a total cutoff from physical interaction.

Instagram: @h.ladyelaine

It is far too difficult to fall into a pattern of wanting to be productive without a purpose to be productive, especially with the overload of online schoolwork that students have suddenly received. Without all the important events like competitions, proms and graduations that we have been looking forward to, people have often found that there is no goal or checklist to complete. We are forced to cut ourselves off from basic get-away activities we’ve taken for granted — going to the mall, taking a long walk outside or grabbing a quick meal. It’s made even worse by this total isolation we feel from the outside world, stuck in our rooms, typing on a computer.

I know personally, that I have struggled with physical and social inactivity. There isn’t much for me to do, besides stressing out about ten-page English essays and rushing to go to online meeting after meeting. I’ve personally had a really difficult time maintaining a proper sleeping schedule. On the first Saturday of quarantine, I slept a total of twelve hours, and the day after, I took a six-hour nap. With an understocked fridge and a severe limit on the activities I can do, I haven’t been able to take up anything productive, like cooking, cleaning or painting. 

Thus, for people like me, it is more important than ever to practice the standards and procedures that have been suggested to us. In order to ward off anxiety and stress issues, there are options to plan out our schedule carefully, including what time we work, what time we sleep and what we eat.

Slipping into a cycle of oversleeping and overworking can occur without any seemingly normal structure in our daily lives, but downloading calendar apps or writing out daily lists might assist in the day-to-day lifestyle. Remembering to have a daily routine to follow can take away time for more negative thoughts to foster. Our penchant to look forward to activities has been taken away by every event imaginable being cancelled, but we can always set a more standard schedule for ourselves in order to reimagine a more structured life.

Another tough issue to combat is the overuse of social media and technology. Many students have seen their screen time jump by ten times over the course of quarantine because of imminent boredom and an unfulfilled need for social activity. Perhaps a stronger way to cope with excess time during quarantine is taking up different activities, like writing, drawing or reading. Innovative ones that help pass the time and home etiquette skills will be incredibly useful to cultivate for the future.

Instagram: @h.ladyelaine

It is also important not to continue consuming negative media. The more updates we get about the worsening condition of our community, the easier it is to fall into a deep pit. Taking time to do things we like instead would help immensely. Playing video games, talking to friends over Skype or Facetime or even watching a few movies or two in order to relax will assist in making us feel whole again.

In the meantime, as we wait for the quarantine to be lifted, it’s extraordinarily important to be good to not only our bodies, but also our minds. Trying to create more time to communicate with others, forging a new schedule and limiting our brains’ exposure to media and technology can uplift our daily mood and improve the possibilities of sinking into a slump. Even after quarantine, taking care of your mind, body and soul is even more important.