I tend to get annoyed when I see people complain about being stuck indoors and not being able to have any fun. If you have food, shelter and your health, there shouldn’t be any complaints.
However, after three weeks of staying indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m starting to feel it too. I’ve come to the conclusion that human interaction is an important aspect of daily life.
Daily human interaction is something we don’t tend to think about and some of us may even try to avoid it. While our society has been moving in a digital direction, this is an extreme no one was prepared for.
According to Science Daily, social isolation has debilitating effects on mental health such as an increase in fear, aggression and depression. Social isolation releases a chemical in the brain that causes behavioral changes.
These changes include a change in sleep and eating patterns. It is also common to feel persistent fear and hypersensitivity. For someone like myself who already has anxiety, I feel these emotions much more intensely.
I’m somewhere between wanting to sleep all day and not being able to sleep at all. Often I go to bed at 5 a.m. and wake up at 1 p.m. I can’t tell the difference between the morning and afternoon sometimes.
Quarantine wasn’t so bad at first. It almost felt like a pre-summer vacation, but now it has become difficult to navigate. Feeling a lack of motivation to do things is something I’ve observed among my peers in my online classes.
Some students, myself include, arrive to class in bed wearing pajamas from the night before. It is difficult to concentrate and absorb information when your mind is elsewhere.
Despite these setbacks in my education, the hardest part of isolation is the inability to see my boyfriend in person. Those in relationships who do not live together are missing out on a big part of their lives.
According to Rolling Stone, the uncertainty of COVID-19 is leading to arguments and breakups. While I understand why this is happening, isolating oneself further should be a last resort.
Video chat isn’t the same as seeing someone in person, but I believe people should make the effort. We may not be able to live this way long term, but we need to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in.
People need to make time for the ones they care about, even if it’s just a few hours on the phone. They also need to find the strength to get up, get dressed and complete their daily tasks.
Make it fun. Put on music. Do what you need to do for the sake of your mental health. Take up a hobby like painting or video games.
Quarantine has now become a mind-over-matter issue and I encourage others to not give up on themselves or their partners. Complaining won’t solve anything, but taking action can improve your state of mind.
For those struggling with their mental health, Montclair State University has online resources available on their website.