As I saw myself slowly spiraling while trapped in quarantine, I noticed myself getting annoyed when people kept telling me to continue my life like everything was normal when it clearly was not. The only way I was going to get through this was by doing things I enjoyed. Which meant recreating Tik Tok dances and rewatching Stars Wars three times a week. I also enjoyed talking to family and friends, so I called someone every day just to chat.
We at Scroll believe that during this time we need to prioritize our health, physical and mental.
According to Qualtrics, 41.6% of people are seeing a decline in their mental health since the start of COVID-19. The pandemic is creating uncontrollable stressors as we see numbers of cases and deaths rise. People are stuck in their houses with a constant stream of media which relays bad news.
According to Helpguide, “Repeated exposure (to anything related to traumatic events) can overwhelm your nervous system and create traumatic stress just as if you experienced the event firsthand.”
Not only is mental health an issue, alcohol and drug use is rising. According to AP News, U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55%. People may be stuck in homes with abusers or toxic family members. This can be a dark time if we don’t take care of our mental health.
The CDC lists some things to do to improve our mental health during this time:
Although this is a great list, not all of these things will work for everyone. For some people, this may be a time used for self-reflection and improvement. For others, the first couple of weeks were shiny with the potential of things getting better, but as the weeks wore on, it became dull.
Your levels of productivity don’t have to measure up to anyone’s expectations. It is not expected of you to work out every day, learn a new skill, or constantly be productive. You don’t have to be okay every day. Some days your biggest achievement might be just getting out of bed or eating a meal.
Now more than ever is a time to be selfish about your mental health. Life is uncertain—life after quarantine is uncertain.
“Being together is not the same as being connected,” Columbia University professor Martha Welch told New York Times in an interview, “You have to have the feelings conversation.”
It’s time to express feelings and pain. Connect to people that will listen to you and can comfort you. We are all going through this together. The internet can be a great variable in keeping us connected to one another.
You’re allowed to feel sad during quarantine; you’re allowed to not be okay right now. Reach out to people, let them in.