Managing mental health during quarantine

March 13th, 2020 will forever stand out to me as the strangest day of high school. Having Pi Day without students parading around in t shirts with 3.14 plastered across the front, or not seeing Ms. Laabs handing out slices of pie to the whole math department just felt wrong. We were waiting for something to creep upon us. It was looming over us and everyone knew what was coming. 

When quarantine began it didn’t sound too bad, right? It seemed like the perfect opportunity to create, pick up a new hobby, be with our families, and take care of ourselves. Although this period of social distancing may very well be all of those things, it is also an extremely trying time for our mental health. Running so dependently on a structured life gives us purpose and makes us feel productive. When your daily routine is suddenly put at a required halt, life can feel odd and surreal. 

As quarantine has progressed, I have struggled to find peace of mind amidst this still, yet overwhelming chaos. Facing realizations of seeing my best friends through a screen, not being able to hug my older brother and sister, or not being able to sit at my favorite restaurant hit me harder than I ever expected. Coming to terms with these small, yet meaningful gestures took a toll on my mental stability as well as my outlook on life. Why would I ever take a night out with my best friends or a trip to the grocery store for granted? Maybe it’s because I felt like those things would always be there. I think back to those moments and they now feel like activities of leisure. 

Amongst this madness, I have brainstormed a few ways for me to feel sane and in control of my life. I found that creating a daily schedule helped give my life structure and fuel my productivity. Being stuck inside all day for months can make you bounce off the walls, so I also discovered new ways to be creative and branch out with my art. All of this may be easier said than done, but nonetheless it has helped guide this new chapter in quarantine and allowed me to feel a sense of balance as well as happiness. 

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