Opinion: Staying sane while social distancing

Charlotte Parent '21, Supervising Copy Editor

This global pandemic has not been kind to my mental health, and I doubt I’m the only one.
The spread of COVID-19 is not a brand new thing. It’s been circulating and spreading for a few months now, but as of the last few weeks, it’s grown exponentially, getting closer and closer to home. This itself is enough cause for worry, but being locked in your house, having no social contact, school or extracurricular activities can definitely increase that anxiety tenfold. Staying sane (and healthy) in a time like this is proving to be quite a challenge.
I know it’s been a challenge for me. I haven’t worn “real” clothes in over a week– the first time I actually tried to look presentable was for a Zoom meeting, and even then it was only a sweatshirt. Productivity has been at an all-time low as I push assignments off until the day it’s due and rush to turn it in. There’s virtually nothing to stop me from playing “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” all day (which has been very good for my island).
All this free time has left me with no sense of direction and no structure at all. I go through each day aimlessly, wishing to be back at South, to see my friends, to do anything. My mental health has suffered as I fall back on my old ways and toxic habits, whether it’s staying up until 3 a.m. to barely eating real meals. As the days blur together, I sink deeper and deeper into myself.
Sometime on Thursday, though, it clicked in my head that this isn’t going to just go away. This quarantine and virus is not just going to blow over in a few weeks, everything will not just magically go back to normal. I doubt that we’re even going back to school before September. This wake-up call helped clear the fog that’s been in my head for the last two weeks– this is the new norm, at least for the foreseeable future.
This, to me, is the harsh truth we must face, making it so important that we do our part. That we do what we can to stay healthy and limit the exposure of the virus. To flatten the curve and to stay home. Now, while medical officials tirelessly work towards a vaccine or treatment, social distancing is one of the most important things we need to do.
However, the most important thing we have to do is to take care of ourselves. We need to make sure we’re okay and that our mental health isn’t suffering. We need to check in with our friends, our family and ourselves. We need to come together during this scary time and reach out to each other– this global pandemic may be shutting the world down, but that doesn’t mean we have to.
I hate staying inside with nothing to do as much as the next person. I don’t enjoy doing nothing all day, remote learning assignments hanging over my head as I try my best to ignore it by fishing on my island. But if we ever want to return to our normal lives, we need to do our part by staying safe and staying inside.