How is COVID-19 Affecting Our Minds?

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BROOKFIELD, WI —— Although the effects of COVID-19 have not been as drastic in the Milwaukee area, compared to some of the bigger cities in the US, it still has taken its toll.

With Governor Tony Evers extending the stay-at-home order to May 26th, 2020, there is a great deal of angst and unsettlement among the citizens of Wisconsin. This means that all schools are closed for the remainder of the academic year, a great deal of people are out of work, and an even larger population are even afraid to leave their houses and go outside. With the majority of the population being stuck inside and anxious of the world around them, what does this do to a person’s mind? Especially of the ones of high school students who have to keep up their education through a computer, getting completely cheated of the high school experience and the normal social interactions a teenager should be having? So, what exactly are the psychological effects of the COVID-19 Quarantine, and what are schools doing to ensure the mental stability of their students? 

Mrs. Jessee Tomchek, Upper School Academic Resource Coordinator at Brookfield Academy, shows concern for her teenage students and has been tasked with the management of the question of “What precautions are BA taking to ensure that their students are of a stable mental state?” and she responded with, “The BA faculty aims to promote connectedness and routine in the daily lives of our students. Maintaining connections is an essential component of care during a pandemic.” This means that keeping connected with one’s friends and family is crucial to maintaining a stable mental state, and that “Virtual connections help to feel less lonely and isolated. Maintaining a daily routine can help teenagers preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation.” This also means that the everyday Zoom meetings and check ins with advisors have a considerable purpose. With the interactions we have with each other through Zoom, it allows the teachers to make sure we are alive and well, thus ensuring that if anything seems off, they can contact our parents to express any concerns they might have.

 Although a significant part of our society has a perfectly stablemental state, the effects of quarantine can affect everyone. Tomchek states, “Typical reactions to being placed in quarantine include fear, anxiety, depression, boredom, anger, frustration, and irritability. Longer quarantine is associated with poorer psychological outcomes … prolonged time in quarantine can exacerbate anxiety and depression.” So this explains the fact that even if you are normally 100% okay, being put into a mandatory quarantine is a completely different situation, which will result in a possibly different outcome. As provided by Tomchek, if you need any help at all, or simply someone to talk to, at any time, here are some resources for information:

National Alliance for Mental Illness

Frequently Asked Questions on Mental Health, Mental Illness, and COVID-19

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741

Anxiety and Depression related to Covid-19

Rogers Connect Care – Telehealth treatment program

Living With Mental Illness During COVID-19 Outbreak– Preparing For Your Wellness This webpage provides information and wellness tips for individuals living with mental health conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

 

During these harrowing times, everyone has had to find ways to cope. Also provided by Mrs.Tomchek, here are some highly recommended ways to keep one busy throughout the remainder of these unprecedented events:

 “- Limit news consumption to reliable sources such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.  Too much exposure to Covid-related news can increase feelings of fear and anxiety. 

– Stick to a routine. Sleeping in, staying up late, and rolling out of bed right before your first Zoom class can seem tempting, but it’s not healthy. Set a schedule for yourself in which you go to bed at a reasonable hour, wake up around the same time each morning, shower, get dressed, and prepare to take on the day.

– Exercise and get outside at least twice per day.

– Stay connected with friends. Reach out and reach out often. Host a Zoom lunch hour, stream a show together on Netflix Parties, or play games together in the HouseParty app. Although face-to-face interactions are limited, we can benefit greatly from virtual connectedness.

– Give yourself a mental break: pray, practice deep breathing, do yoga, draw, color, etc. (really anything that relaxes your mind)

– Do something to help others (make cards for an assisted living home or hospital, donate groceries to a food pantry, etc.)”

Every one of us has an uneasy feeling about Coronavirus, it’s inevitable. So the best thing we can do as a population is to check in on each other, think positive thoughts, and to know in our hearts, that this will not last forever.