For many people including myself, it felt like the entire world drastically changed over night. One day, everyone was at school, and the next we were evacuating. Most kids rushed out of school not knowing it would be the last time they set foot on campus for six months. Confused and scared, I ran to my friends car, my heart beating out of my chest. A massive amount of questions ran through my head, what’s going to happen next? How did this happen? As if the stress of not knowing was bad enough, all of America went into quarantine. As quarantine went on, scientists started proving studies that quarantine brought out depression or anxiety in people. Everyone spending months at a time alone in the same environment caused a lot of hopelessness. No one had any idea when the world would go back to normal or how it would even happen. But we all had to cope with this new life somehow, so let’s talk about how to keep ourselves healthy and happy.
A lot of people were feeling down over quarantine and decided to distract themselves with new hobbies. Some people picked up habits like baking, sewing or working out. It is extremely important that you keep yourself busy and mobile during these times. Working out or staying active is extremely important because running can increase norepinephrine in your brain, which increases your heart rate and pumps blood to your heart, starting up your body, hopefully clearing your mind. Running works in the same way as dunking your head in cold water would: it resets your mind state, making you think more clearly. It has been proven that running decreases your chances of falling into depression by 26%. People no longer have the excuse of “I’m too busy to go to the gym,” so you must take it upon yourself to stay active. Being active can range from intense workouts or nice walks around your neighborhood. Working out is a lot more motivating when done with friends, but sadly that’s no longer an option. So how do we stay in touch with our friends?
One of the most common feelings that leads into depression or anxiety is loneliness, and the whole idea of quarantine is isolation. I personally think challenging yourself to make sure you don’t fall out of touch with your friends should be your number one priority. Personally, during the spring, once a week I went on a mask walk with my two best friends to keep in touch. Even though we would only walk for an hour a week, looking back on it, that hour saved my life. In normal everyday life we take human interaction for granted. Having my friends to talk to about my emotions towards the pandemic or anything was beneficial for my mental health. But going on walks with friends isn’t always an option. I had a friend over quarantine whose parents were very determined on her seeing no one for her safety, but that didn’t stop me from keeping in touch. We facetimed almost everyday to check in on each other, which was really helpful for both of us. Even though sometimes we can get tired of being with our friends, it’s important not to lose touch.
Quarantine had a lot of negative effects for everyone, but if you look really carefully there might have been a few positives as well. In daily life, people tend to over work themselves until they break. Parents wonder why it seems every teenager is depressed or anxious, when in reality, every single teenager feels a tremendous amount of stress. But quarantine slammed the breaks on every single human being’s life. I know personally that having this sudden break in my life really gave me time to reflect. I had a lot of time to think about my life and if I was making the right decisions to keep myself happy. After lots of thinking, it occurred to me I was doing plenty of activities that gave me anxiety, that before Corona I might not have realized caused stress. I strongly suggest that you focus on the way you are living and what you are doing, and make changes based on what you see fit for you.
I hope that if you’ve learned anything over quarantine or after reading this article, it’s that you need to prioritize your happiness and health. If you’re unhappily overworking yourself in your everyday life, then who are you trying to please? If you are feeling hopeless during quarantine or life, just remember to stay active, never lose touch with friends and to check in on yourself. Never be afraid to ask yourself what’s wrong. In conclusion, remember to stay active, talk to your friends and check in on yourself.