We are in a global pandemic. I really want to remember that and tell myself daily that this is not normal, as I have emphasized before. This is not normal, and I cannot help but think of the impact this has had on my mental state. We were taken out of school and thrust into distance learning. Our homes became the new environment we had to dissolve into. Quarantine became a regular word in our vocabulary. We will not know what mental toll the pandemic took on us, but we have to be aware that it most likely has, so we need to take care of ourselves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a page set up on their website to assist those struggling with mental health in the pandemic. There are steps to help others and information on how to cope with the stress of the coronavirus, having family members with the virus or how to come out of quarantine or isolation without being anxious. However, I would like to discuss practical ways to help yourself and your friends who may be in quarantine or isolation.
Rest does not come easy to college students by any means we are always going. So, when we get into the situation of quarantine or isolation, we are forced to rest, or at least attempt to, when we do not want to. The pandemic has put our lives on hold, so my suggestion is to mourn the time lost with friends and family members. Take time to reflect on what could have been for a moment, because it is how to cope with the situation.
Make plans for the future. It may seem like crazy advice, but think about what you can do after your time in quarantine for yourself. I know it’s only 14 days, but what did you learn about yourself? What were you drawn to in order to take up time? I would say capitalize on that reflection and find out how to treat yourself when you do get out.
This summer, I went home when the pandemic. I lost hit my last semester with my closest pals at Harding, but I made time to call them and, eventually, spend time with them (socially distanced, of course). I also had to find a way to get out my pent up energy and a way to get outside more. I began to run two miles every day, just to allow myself some time to think and be outdoors. Now, I am training for a half-marathon in December.
Lastly, if you have friends in quarantine, reach out. They are probably struggling a little bit and feeling like they are missing out on what is going on. Be sure to ask what their favorite things are or just drop them a note or draw a picture. The truth is, the pandemic has taken a toll on all of us and, once again, I am saying we are learning to take better care of each other. We are brightening the whole world up, and therefore, brightening the environment around us. Take time to breathe; with everything going on, we need it. You deserve to take a break and reflect on your rest.