Mental Health During Social Distancing

Gabriela Enamorado/Staff Writer

Just two weeks ago, I was going to school twice a week and work every other day. I was hoping for some time off my busy schedule. 

Now, I’m stuck at home doing online school and only going to work twice a week with much shorter hours. All this has led to me with only my parents and brother to talk to. 

This shocking change did a number on my mental health. It got rid of the structure I live by.  If you’re like me, a sudden change of routine can be jarring. But during these hard times, we must keep our mental health intact and not let isolation make it go downhill. 

Students are probably under the most pressure at the moment. Suddenly, our classes have transitioned fully online, which may add extra work, and events like the commencement ceremony have been canceled. All of this is causing lots of stress and we need to learn how to balance all of this. 

Taking care of your mental health is always important, but it is especially important now. With most of us having almost no social interaction outside our own families, it can feel isolating and stressful.

Human interaction is almost a vital part of keeping our mental health intact. Though that’s not entirely possible at the moment, it shouldn’t mean you should sit around and do nothing all day. This will make everything feel worse and take your mental health on a downward spiral. 

I suffer from an anxiety disorder, so I know what it’s like to feel extra anxious about the pandemic. People with pre-existing mental conditions like me can feel their symptoms worsen with all the news surrounding the virus, and it can trigger lots of negative emotions. I had to quickly realize that I had to distract myself and practice self-care.

Some things that have helped during social distancing is picking up a few hobbies. Keeping your brain stimulated is essential. I have some adult coloring books that have been taking up my time, which helps me relax and distract myself from everything else that’s happening. 

Someone else I know has begun to do embroidery and knitting; she ordered some supplies online and picked up this new hobby. She said it has helped her feel less anxious about the pandemic and kept her mind occupied. I plan on picking up my old guitar again and practice playing on it. Lots of reading is on my list too. Even writing this right now is something that’s keeping me occupied and happy. 

Self-care is key during all of this. If that means possibly cutting back on all the news and social media, then do it. Taking a nice warm bath or going for a nice walk around your neighborhood is fine. Social distancing means you shouldn’t go see your friends or go to a public place with more than 10 people; it doesn’t mean you can’t go outside altogether. 

Go get some fresh air. Do whatever you need to do to ease your mind in the midst of the craziness.

Featured image by Sharon Sinclair on Flickr.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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