The world around us is moving fast — one day, we’re celebrating the start of a new decade, and seemingly the next, we’ve been caught up in a pandemic that’s sweeping across the globe. For some people, it is a devastating crisis that puts them on edge for their loved ones’ safety; for others, it is a long-needed pause from the whir of life. Regardless, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic can leave us confused and stressed; anxious about what the future holds next.
As much as changing times usher in the need for adjustment, they can also be an opportunity for reflection and growth. Whether it be finding a new hobby, spending more time with family and pets, or sleeping for a couple of extra hours, it’s important to prioritize mental health during these times. Recently, I’ve been using apps on my phone to help me remember to take care of myself.
One self-care app is called Calm, and it aims to help the user meditate and reduce stress and anxiety. The app offers a variety of short daily meditation sessions including recorded audios of soothing stories and soft music, all of which are designed to improve your mental state. In addition, the app offers short classes on stretching, several images of natural scenes, and breathing exercises.
My favorite app that I’ve discovered is called Just Rain. It is very simple: its only features are the sound and graphics of rain, which the user can adjust with a quick tap or swipe, depending on the intensity or direction wanted. Especially when I’m studying late at night, I’ve found that the sound of rain can be very calming and even inspirational. Though it seems very trivial and arbitrary, it has helped me out during dark hours of the night, and I would definitely recommend it..
Besides apps on devices, I’ve found that journaling is one of the best methods of tending to mental health. Not only does it allow you to vent your heart out or idle hours away, it can be especially meaningful and helpful during such unprecedented times. Writing in a journal provides you with the privacy and freedom to say whatever you want, making it ideal for honest thoughts and raw feelings, as well as providing a way to look back through old memories later in life. I, personally, prefer to write on paper — the sensation of writing out my words and seeing my handwriting is more satisfying than the click-clacks of the keyboard — but regardless, it’s a great way to clear your headspace.
Though these are just a few tips and examples, there are many more activities regarding mental health that you can utilize. The main point is, however, to prioritize your mental health and keep yourself in prime condition mentally, whatever that looks like to each person. And until the day that life can return to normalcy again, may we all stay safe and content.
Joyce Kim, Grade 10
La Canada High School