By Jennifer Fernandez
Being physically and mentally healthy in the midst of this global pandemic should be a priority for all of us. It should be one of our biggest concerns.
In the weeks before spring break, I looked forward to the trip I had planned to another state. Then this pandemic made itself known in the United States. People began panic shopping and hoarding items. Some shopped for necessary supplies in order to stay home and out of the public. Since then, governors and mayors have issued stay-at-home orders and the outbreak has spread. Almost all Americans have been asked to stay at home and out of the public. All nonessential businesses have closed. People’s routines were interrupted quite abruptly.
I have experienced so many feelings and emotions during my four weeks in quarantine. I have also learned that I am not alone in the feelings of insecurity I have experienced and even the new routine of my days. Like most people, I had been accustomed to a schedule of going to classes, going to the gym and working outside of the home. But days of grocery shopping weekly, socializing with family and friends at restaurants and other public places and attending classes in person are no longer part of life.
The feeling of being scared and anxious about the future has impacted my mental health in ways that I wasn’t prepared for. The daily news of more confirmed cases of the virus and reports of those who have lost their lives to it have been overwhelming and heart-wrenching. The loss of income has and will cause many to suffer in different ways. This pandemic will continue to change many things in our society and economy.
Many feel they have lost a sense of connection due to restrictions on socializing. Other challenges such as unhealthy alcohol and drug use have become a concern during this global pandemic. Alcohol sales have already seen an increase. Everyone reacts differently during stressful situations.
During these times, self-care is a necessity. Connecting with others virtually has helped many people to feel less alone. Being aware of how you feel and how your feelings are affecting you is important. Taking a break from the news and phoning a loved one or doing a yoga session can relax the body and mind. Remember it is OK to be concerned and have feelings of uncertainty, just as it is also OK to take a few deep breaths when feelings of anxiety arise.