Coronavirus has everyone freaking out. That’s understandable, it’s a deadly pandemic. However, the virus has us sacrificing our mental health for our physical health. This once again showcases how society doesn’t value mental health as much as physical health.
To prevent the virus from spreading, things have moved online, including school and work.
This is to prevent person to person contact.
But, humans are social beings, we need interaction in order to live a healthy lifestyle. This lack of interaction will lead to loneliness which can evolve into serious mental and physical health conditions such as depression, substance abuse and poor sleep and appetite.
Social interaction is so important. A study of 7,000 men and women in Alameda County, California, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that “people who were disconnected from others were roughly three times more likely to die during the nine-year study than people with strong social ties.”
The government is enforcing social distancing without the necessary therapeutic services. I had to stop seeing my therapist since the outbreak, to prevent contamination and because Boston University closed.
I was forced to move back in with my parents. As much as I love them and hold them dearly to my heart, this situation has created a lot of stress for me.
My relationship with my parents has significantly improved ever since I moved out. Living with them again leads to rules, and somehow reverting back to my high school self. Being home hinders the self-growth process that college and its freedom allowed me to do.
My college friends and I are no longer walking distance from each other. Initially I thought, it is not all bad, I will get to see my high school friends whom I love and adore. However, due to the encouragement of self-quarantine measures, I am unable to see them.
In addition, bars, restaurants and public spaces have also closed. As a byproduct, thousands of people are losing their jobs. Without the ability to work, anxiety and stress will start to pile up for those without savings and those working low-wage jobs.
“Nearly 80 million jobs in the US economy are at high or moderate risk today, according to analysis in the last week from Moody’s Analytics. That’s more than half of the 153 million jobs in the economy overall,” according to CNN.
Also, working and studying from home has everyone on self made schedules. Without tangible obligations, people can lose a sense of purpose.
Even though applications like Facetime and Zoom can somewhat mimic human interaction, there is no real comparison to physical touch. Technology does not necessarily create distance gaps, in fact it erases it, but it does create a gap in interpersonal relationships.
For now, the president has declared that gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. This decision takes away the hope of us being able to return to school and the possibility of returning to human interaction.
However, there are things you can do to prevent the novel coronavirus from having a detrimental effect on your mental health. Have a self-made schedule where you set up a time to wake up everyday to ensure productivity and have a regular sleep schedule.
Workout from home, do simple exercises that don’t require specialized equipment. Have a healthy diet. Find a hobby you can do from home in your free time, such as arts and crafts, and check on your friends regularly.
Hopefully, this whole craze is over soon. Remember your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so keep yourself in check.