Quarantine and its Effects on Mental Health

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, everyone went about their normal lives without worry that anything could drastically change. Since this recent outbreak, being confined to our houses has become the new reality for the meantime. Quickly having no responsibilities and being told to stay in your house became the new normal and was very appealing to many. But as the days go on, people begin to realize the loneliness that quarantining embodies. 

For the students at West Morris Central High School and beyond, this feeling has become very familiar. Going from having the freedom to see and socialize with their friends every day to being in isolation can have a jarring effect on their mental health. Only five out of eight students surveyed by The Paw said that they had fear or anxiety about the Coronavirus, yet almost every student commented on being lonely and missing going out. 

One of the students surveyed said that their time at home has been “pretty depressing,” and that “I find myself extremely sad not being able to see the people that I enjoy myself the most with.” 

Not only is being away from friends contributing to this issue but adjusting to having nothing on their agendas and their extracurricular activities being canceled has also proven to be difficult for students. Students surveyed commented on their sports seasons being canceled, while others focused on events such as prom and graduation possibly being canceled. As these things are events that many students look forward to, it can be very hard to hear that they will no longer happen. 

Despite being isolated from society, there is comfort in knowing that everyone is in this together and there are countless ways to improve your mental health. Simply taking a break from watching, reading, or listening to the news and social media is beneficial as surrounding yourself repeatedly with news on the pandemic can be upsetting. Also, taking time to meditate or go outside and exercise is a great way to improve your mental health. 

When asked what they have been doing with this time to improve their mental health, students said that they have been exploring hobbies, working out, going outside, meditating, and catching up on sleep. 

Another student said that they have been “doing things that make me happy and really focusing on the positive not negative.” 

Keeping it in mind to focus on the positives rather than the negatives during this time is vital for mental health. Despite being away from school,  the countless resources offered prior to the COVID-19 outbreak are still available to you even though we are not in school. This includes being able to contact counselors and using any resources they have to offer. Although social distancing can be very lonely, there are countless ways to improve your mental health especially as the weather gets warmer, and your friends are always a call away!