Mental Health and COVID-19
Welcome to the first Win STEM blog of 2020! This blog is dedicated to mental health in times of COVID-19.
It has been over 9 months since everyone’s lives have been changed by the presence of this novel virus. Many of us initially sacrificed the luxury of socialization to keep our friends and families safe. Whether it’s a single parent troubled financially, a person that’s lost a loved one, or a college student in isolation, COVID fatigue with feelings of loneliness and even depression have become prevalent. This increased anxiety and stress levels in the population have led to a decreasing quality of life.
Though times may be hard, It’s crucial to find ways to destress. Whether it’s through a walk in the neighborhood, listening to music, or connecting with loved ones, finding an outlet to your stress is key to living a healthy life.
If you’re living alone or away from loved ones, it is still possible to get in touch with them through virtual platforms or regular phone calls. For those with extra spare time, pick up a new hobby, assist a neighbor in need, or put more effort into self-care. These are just a few examples of what one can do to stay productive and explore your interests further. If possible, spending time with family, I’ve found, can lift your spirits as well. Remember time is still the most valuable resource regardless of the current restrictions in place.
Though many view mental and physical health separately, both are closely linked together. A substantial amount of physical activity has been shown to decrease stress and lift your mood. Proactiveness can range from light physical activity through stretching and taking your dog on a walk to intense weight lifting and home workouts. Though starting to work out may be hard for many, one can always start slow and gain momentum with each day.
We’ve made it through the past year with many obstacles. Each one of us has unique circumstances, and it is alright to ask for help when needed. If burdened by an issue or feeling low, let someone you trust hear it. If additional help is needed, you can schedule an appointment with professionals such as therapists and psychologists who offer virtual sessions. Though times are hard now, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. With frontline workers receiving the first doses of vaccines, we have already begun to witness some of that light. I wish you all a wonderful New Year and a healthy life!
~ Laasya Dosakayala, Secretary of Win STEM at UT Dallas
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First Author: Laasya Dosakayala
Second Author: Raluca Narita