It all started on the evening of March 13th, when school faculty announced a supposed “two-week break” from school due to the rise in Covid-19 cases. “I think we all just thought it was going to be three weeks. Two weeks of online learning, spring break, and then we’d be back at school,” 9th grader Xochitl Berber tells me. “Then they told us it was gonna be a little bit more, and I was like ‘Oh, okay’, but then quarantine just got longer and longer,” she pauses. “And then school ended, and that was that.” Since then, LA County has been in quarantine for nearly eight months.
Ever since the beginning of quarantine, students everywhere have been trying to find new ways to stay balanced and healthy. However, as time went on, many started to lose motivation and had a decrease in their mental wellbeing. When asked on an Instagram poll if schoolwork had gotten in the way of their mental health, 93% of students answered yes.
Now that everyone’s back at school, teachers and students have been finding new ways to adapt to distanced learning. With constant zoom calls and hours of Edgenuity, many have felt an increase in their stress and a decrease in their mental health. And now that the end of the semester is pummeling towards us, the stakes have only gotten higher.
“I definitely don’t think my mental health has gotten better? I don’t think any of us really want to be cooped up inside, and forced to do school work, I’ve gotten more work in three weeks done than I would have in two months of in-school learning, it’s just so much”. Ever since early in the semester, many claims to have been given a workload twice the amount of what would normally be given. “Teachers have just been assigning an incredulous amount of work, it’s becoming really hard to handle. I don’t think they realize that we’re more stressed than we’ve ever been,” says 9th grader Madeline Miller.
A big issue with students has been trying to make free time for their own mental health and wellbeing. Everyone has taken different ways to do it, some listening to music, exercising, or talking to their friends and family.
“I talk to my friends whenever I’m stressed, I don’t feel like there are that many people I can talk to other than them,” comments Aidan. However, others have gone to virtual therapy, and have found it very helpful. “Therapy right now has helped tons with dealing with my mental illness, especially right now because it's acting up quite a bit,” Xochitl tells me. “Going on walks has helped me a lot, it helps to go and get some fresh air and all of that,” she adds. A majority of people have developed a “quarantine fatigue”, and have started to fall out of their schedule, and become more lazy and unmotivated.
While it’s hard to try and behave like things are normal, here are some tips to try and get back into your groove:
Call and Facetime friends. Though we can’t have in-person interaction, it’s important to stay in touch with others. Studies have shown that people that frequently contact their friends have boosted executive function, and problem-solving.
Make time for hobbies! Doing activities besides school can help take your mind off of whatever is causing a rise in your anxiety. Hobbies can help boost serotonin, and keep you engaged in life. So, pick up that guitar, or those knitting needles that have been eyeing you for a while.
Try to get some more sleep! I understand that those TikToks are calling your name, but it’s important to try and get at least 8 hours of sleep a night to help increase your productivity.
Make time for yourself! Even I have had a hard time taking a step back from my school work, but I'm trying to take a break, and you should too. Just by taking that small ten-minute break, you’re allowing yourself to take some deep breaths and relax.
So, now that you’ve heard some tips from yours truly, you’re set to go! As you go on quarantine, please remember to take care of yourself and your mental health, it’s super important. While everything’s hard right now, it’s important to keep moving on strong!