The crisis caused by the new coronavirus has plunged the world into uncertainty.
Today is hard and the next days are unknown. Confinement, unpredictability and fear are testing us. It’s not easy to remain calm when the constant news about the pandemic seems endless. And although worrying about the news is understandable, for many, this can worsen mental health problems, especially those already living with conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Therefore, it is crucial that in addition to protecting ourselves from COVID-19, we implement specific strategies to take care of our mental health.
First, it is important to take care of ourselves and those we love by practicing social distancing. Even though this might feel like a lonely time, this is the most generous and effective thing we can do under these circumstances. This also means washing our hands often, avoiding touching our eyes, mouth and nose, and covering our mouth with our elbow or a tissue when we cough or sneeze.
Second, routines are fundamental in this unexpected situation. The presence of COVID-19 is changing our lifestyle in a way we could have not predicted. Being at home all day without doing anything productive has an impact on our mental health. It is easy to lose motivation and forget to do the simple things like eating properly, cleaning our room or doing exercise. If we sit all day watching Netflix and scrolling through social media, the quality of our health and sleep will be affected. We need to remember to take the time every day to move, do a few stretches and eat proper meals throughout the day.
ASU TRIO Upward Bound at Tempe students shared what they’re doing at home to take care of their mental health:
“I tend to read some of my books or just watch movies. Or help out my grandparents. If I have nothing to do, I take a nap.”-Jordin
“I’ve been listening to music, writing, drawing and watching TV. I also help my mom clean the house.”- Anonymous
“I’ve completed some school assignments last week. Besides that, I’ve been binge-watching Netflix. Watching all my favorite movies and shows is what I always do even when I’m not on break. I also do karaoke, make songs and sing in my church choir.”-Aaliyah
Being a high school student is difficult, and the pandemic makes it even more difficult.
With the closing of schools, libraries and cancellation of events, many students are missing some of the most important moments of their lives.
Clubs, activities and classes are being postponed until further notice. Those who were ready to take the ACT/SAT in March had to reschedule their test date. For the high school seniors, this means no prom, uncertain graduation ceremony and a freshman college year full of unknowns.
Despite all of these challenges, I hope that all of you are managing as well as can be under the circumstances. This crisis is going to pass, but in the meantime, we need to do the best we can to take care of ourselves and those we love. It takes a lot of courage to keep going in the unknown, but we are going to make it through.
We are truly all in this together.
–By Alejandra Cisneros Valencia, Chemistry, ASU undergraduate student, TRIO Upward Bound at Tempe academic tutor and mentor.