In March, when the United States was put under quarantine, our lives were completely turned upside down. Sure, for the first few weeks the break from our regular lives was kinda nice. It was relaxing and felt like an extension of our spring break.
Once two weeks passed and we didn’t come back, however, the excitement died down and quarantine soon became a sad and rather depressing time for many people.
Before the pandemic, I used to beg my mom to let me stay home from school–but then I found myself begging to go back.
There are nine basic emotional needs that can bring happiness and peace into all our lives: security, volition, attention, emotional connection, connection to community, privacy, a sense of self, a sense of accomplishment, and meaning. Attention, emotional connection, and connection to community are neglected during quarantine and can result in frustration and a depressive attitude.
Being isolated from friends and family can make people go insane. In prisons, when in-mates are placed in solitary confinement, there can be a negative long term effect on their mental health. While quarantining in bedrooms isn’t exactly prison, we are still separated from the people and activities that bring us joy.
While we all need to do our part and keep our distance, it is important to maintain our relationships and connections to the outside world.
Even though a lot of us would love to just sit in our rooms and binge every episode of Tiger King without being disturbed, it’s not exactly healthy for us. We have probably all heard our moms say the infamous line, that “tv rots the brain!”
While this is true, another consequence is that we are isolating ourselves from everyone else. The lack of human interaction for hours or days at a time can result in a downward spiral of emotions. Humans were created to interact with each other; however, safely socializing during COVID-19 can be hard. During such unprecedented times, we need to band together as a community.
Now I’m not saying you should disregard the guidelines the Center for Disease Control has in place and go to giant parties or busy restaurants. However, we should try to not bury ourselves in our rooms and never come out.
In the spring, my friends and I would Facetime, have socially distanced picnics, and watch Netflix over Zoom to keep in touch and safely have some social interaction. It was a good way to raise our morale.
When there is no security of what the next day brings, it is important to rely on each other to stay afloat.
We all need to still take precautions in public settings–like wearing a mask and staying six feet apart–however, make sure that during these unpredictable times, we are aware of the importance of maintaining our physical health and mental health.