The Coronavirus has turned everyone’s lives around. Our daily routines have been halted with no near certainty of return, further confining our living parameters to homes. Consequently, people are each faced with unprecedented losses- whether big or small. Abundant precious lives are lost. Our parents’ jobs are lost. Our anticipated summer plans are lost. Once-in-a-lifetime prom, graduation, and other social events are lost. Now, more than ever, it is critical to shine our lights on our mental wellbeing. Our mental health can easily be vulnerable due to abrupt changes, however, there are numerous coping skills that can help us live through the adversities presented by COVID-19. Let’s all lift up our mental well being and not spend our precious times ruminating in distress. Coping with stress will make us, the people we care about, and our community stronger.
Fear and anxiety has been permeated in our community due to the virus. It’s perfectly normal to fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones. Perhaps, it is our bodies’ normal response to huge pandemics like COVID 19. However, it is so important to not let these negative thoughts dominate your head. Symptoms of anxiety include changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, worsening of chronic or mental health problems, and increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Studies have proven lack of social contact and exposure to sunlight puts individuals at a high risk for depression. Thus, we must discover healthy coping skills to keep our minds occupied with optimism rather than stress.
Coping mechanisms are the awesome strategies people often use in the face of stress or trauma, to help manage painful or difficult emotions. They can help people adjust to stressful events while helping them maintain their emotional well-being. One way to cope with anxiety regarding the pandemic, is to take breaks from hearing about the news. Constantly listening to stories of people’s deaths can add on to the anxiety. Also, it is good to refrain from social media posts regarding the virus, since many instigate irrational fear. Don’t forget self care. Meditation is an excellent way to cope with stress. The app called “Headspace” has free mindfulness practices that can alleviate the anxiety in mind. If you are religious, resume your weekly worship through sermons online! Eating healthy, well balanced meals; exercising regularly; and getting plenty of sleep not only boost our physical health but also our mental health. Numerous work out videos are available online platforms such as Youtube, Tiktok, and Instagram. Keep a daily regime of a work out plan to keep your body in check. Many people are susceptible to substance abuse in midst of adversities like this, so it is critical to avoid alcohol and drugs, and instead resort to healthier options of coping. You can find a list of 99 coping skills on “Your Voice, Your Life” website. Find activities you enjoy, ranging from journaling, cooking, baking, watching Netflix, knitting, or reading from that long list to give yourself some time to unwind. And above all, connect with others through technology. Talk with whomever you trust about your concerns and feelings.
If you feel overwhelmed, there’s a plethora of resources waiting for you. Teen Line is open to talk to teens through texting (Text “TEEN” to 839863), or you can reach out to the Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746. Also, Los Angeles City Department of Mental Health’s 24/7 Helpline available at (800) 854-7771 to provide mental health support, resources and referrals. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. No concern is too insignificant to be heard. You are so valued and your mental wellbeing is so important. We can all get through this together. At the end of this long bleak battle, we will be soon gifted with our normal routines. Stay strong!
Goeun Lee, Grade 11
Larchmont Charter School