Over the course of the pandemic, everyone has hit the wall at least once. The wall of despair and hopelessness, and of fear and doubt. Many have felt trapped inside their homes with no great prospect for the future, and some struggled to survive without jobs. This pandemic has worn us down physically, but how much did it burn out our mental health?
For many students, school is no longer the cheerful hub of seeing friends and teachers. One sophomore from RHS remarks, “I feel very numb most days. Life feels very routine, and I don’t have much to look forward to… I get even less sleep than I did last year before we went into lockdown. The lack of sleep plus all the screen time I’ve been getting has really drained my energy. And what makes it worse is that it’s harder to connect with my friends, one of my main sources of energy/happiness.” This struggle is apparent in teachers as well; many of them have children to take care of, students to teach, and households to manage. “The pandemic has caused a sort of a disconnect between students and teachers, making it difficult for us to communicate to them if we are feeling overwhelmed” claims another student.
Online schooling has only made it harder for students and teachers alike to enjoy class and create connections with each other. This lack of social interaction makes it difficult and awkward to talk to other people when given the opportunity. Studies from the American Psychological Association indicate that social isolation has detrimental health consequences, including depression, poor sleep quality, and impaired executive function-which includes adaptable thinking, self-control, and goal-oriented action. Humans are naturally social creatures, but a lack of face-to-face social interaction plus a global pandemic is wearing us out too quickly.
Remember: If you feel like you are at the end of your rope, go out for a nature walk, or talk to someone! It can make a difference.
Graphic: Preethika Rao