As today’s period of self-isolation progresses, it is important to remember to take care of ourselves mentally and physically – most especially teens. One in every five teenagers suffers from mental illness, and with Covid-19, the numbers have only risen. In March, the Disaster Distress Hotline experienced an 891% spike in calls. This drastic increase further goes to show how difficult this situation is. The stress and anxiety that comes with Covid-19, severe unemployment rates, and the struggles of quarantine end up leaving people feeling worse.
I managed to talk to a few friends of mine to get a better understanding of how other teenagers are handling this new and unexpected situation. Out of respect to them and this tough topic, their names will not be disclosed and remain anonymous.
Isolation is undoubtedly an interesting experience, and everyone handles it differently. For some, it may be a time to face challenges you’ve chosen to ignore, to rest and re-energize, but for others, it can leave you alone with your thoughts, which could lead to negativity and feelings of hopelessness.
“…however, i became aware of the state of my health and accepted it. As sh*tty as it is to realize, it helped me grow internally. At times it feels like my anxiety has gotten worse, but in reality I stopped denying it. This helped me be aware of the toxic ways I learned to deal with my problems. One of which was running away from it.”
In regards to online school, every student has their own agenda in managing their workload. Some enjoy it, while others feel bombarded with the amount of work given. At the same time, some students reassure themselves that everything is fine. There’s something about being away from such a stressful environment that can bring you ease. ACLU of Southern California conducted a survey for young students about their mental health after schools closed. They asked them to grade their mental wellness between the number 1 and 10, and before the pandemic, 65% of students gave themselves a 7 or higher. After the pandemic, that number dropped to less than 40%.
“…but generally I appreciate it more than normal, physical school, because I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, at my own pace and I have the ENTIRE day to myself to do so.”
However, burnout and unmotivation still exist even during a pandemic. In my interviews, most of my colleagues mentioned that the workflow has been more than manageable. Even top students can feel unmotivated to complete work during this time.
“…but somewhere in the middle I became very unhopeful and lost motivation to do most things.”
Isolation with only you and your thoughts can be detrimental to your health. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, it hasn’t been easy for me either. Quarantine has left me feeling bored, sad, and confused. Sick family members and my own health has put more stress on me than usual. It’s also had me do nothing but force myself to face problems that I’ve distracted myself from. Regarding school, it has set back my goals, but it hasn’t left me undetermined. I have hope that once Covid-19 dies down, I and many others will be able to come out of this stronger.
The COVID-19 pandemic could have left you feeling better or worse. If you’re having a tough time during quarantine, you’re not alone. Here’s some tips and advice that could hopefully help you out.
- There’s nothing wrong with hanging with a friend or two, as long as you follow social distancing guidelines and remember to wear a mask.
- Remember to get your Vitamin D and go outside!
- Step away from social media. Use this time to focus on yourself and not others.
- SLEEP AT A REGULAR TIME!! Even though the thrill of being up at 2 am is exhilarating, it can also do a lot of damage to your health.
- Treat quarantine like a long weekend! Surround yourself with activities you’ve always wanted to pursue and it’ll put your mind at ease.
- Check up on others and take care of yourself.
- Keep a morning/evening routine.
And if you are really struggling during this time, remember there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help. Here are some resources if needed.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- OK2Talk Helpline Teen Helpline 1 (800) 273-TALK
- Crisis Text Line
- Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling
- The Trevor Project
Natalia is a 16-year-old Tech and Visual Arts major at High Tech High School. She’s a full time student athlete who spends her time taking photos, working on new projects, or in the pool. She’s passionate about the arts, graphic design, and photography who hopes to do more in her life starting with Zenerations.