During this COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is experiencing stress to some degree. It’s impossible to watch the news or scroll through social media and not feel a sense of dread concerning the state of the world right now.
I miss the way my life was before all of this, and I’m sad about all the milestones I’m missing out on, but mostly, I worry for the people who aren’t as lucky as I am. I’m fortunate enough to live a privileged life in which I don’t have to worry about the consequences of losing my source of income, but I worry for the people who do. I think about how many families in the world were struggling before this pandemic hit, and how much more difficult it is for them now. I haven’t lost anyone in my life to the virus, but my heart aches for the people who have and are now trying to deal with one of the hardest parts of life, losing someone you love, amidst an already chaotic time.
I worry about the people who contracted the virus, yet can’t afford the bills for their hospital stays and treatments. The only thing on their mind right now should be their health and wellness, yet they have to grapple with the thought of thousands of dollars of debt.
I think about the people who are immunocompromised that are being put into harm’s way because young people believe they are invincible, and I worry for them. Seeing people my age going out and seeing their friends everyday stresses me out, and their complete lack of empathy concerns me. How are we meant to deal with this virus when the advice of experts is being ignored because a teenager “just has” to go shopping or to get coffee today? I worry about how long this turbulent time will be extended if certain groups continue to refuse to take this seriously.
It’s hard not to let yourself stress over every little thing during this time. While it’s perfectly normal to be worried and important to stay informed on the state of the world, it’s crucial to find ways to calm down. Something that has made me smile during this time has been the “Adopt a Senior” campaign. The family who “adopted” me have sent such sweet and thoughtful gifts, I’ve really appreciated the reminder of how kind people can be.
In addition to this, I have phrases like “coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and “quarantine,” blocked from my social media feed, though I still like to periodically check the news for bigger updates. If I let myself, I’ll sit and read about the virus for hours and end up just making myself more anxious than I was before. You have to stay informed, but false information from social media like Twitter or Facebook can be detrimental to your state of mind.
I recommend picking up a hobby, maybe painting or listening to new music, to give yourself something else to focus on.
Having empathy for others is crucial during this time, as well. It’s okay to feel sad about the things you’re missing out on, but remember there are people who have it a lot harder. Missing prom is a miniscule problem compared to those of a single mother who lost her job and now struggles to feed her children. It’s hard to not see the people you love, but think of the people you’re keeping safe by self isolating to the best of your ability. This is a hard time for everyone, but imagine how good it’ll feel when life goes back to normal. When it’s over, you’ll think back on this hectic time and feel so much more grateful for the little aspects of life we took for granted before. As Harry Styles once sang in his song Fine Line, “We’ll be alright.”
Stress during a time of great change is very common, but it’s important to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Let yourself mourn the parts of normal life you’re missing, but recognize that everything will be normal again before we know it. Nothing lasts forever, and this stressful time isn’t an exception.