Maintaining Mental Health During Quarantine

Tips, opinions, and advice from students and school psychologist Dr. Sadler

Photo credit: Hannah Ostfield

As COVID-19 takes control over what seems like every aspect of our lives, we may feel stuck or in a funk. It’s been over a month of social distancing and remote learning for the Hackley community and it’s safe to say that this new chapter of our lives has brought everything to a halt. There is no getting around the fact that this time is hard for all people, but there are a few ways to make it more manageable.

Although we are still working hard from home, it’s evident that our remote school schedules feel slower than our typical fast-paced lives. Some of us maintain high expectations for ourselves, but now it’s best to set small and more manageable goals to get tasks done.

You can apply this kind of thinking to something like exercise, a great way to stay healthy and release stress. For people who aren’t used to working out a lot in general, say to yourself, “I am going to run a mile” instead of “I am going to run a mile in under 7 minutes”. Creating more manageable goals will make you feel more accomplished and productive.

Junior Niki Eckert said, “I kind of like being alone and it’s nice to get a break from the stress of school because junior year is very hard, but it’s so hard not being able to see anyone….I’m still playing baseball on my own so it’s good that I’m staying active.”

It’s important to understand that people handle quarantine in many different ways. Some will stay inside and savor relaxation while others will take this as an opportunity to find a new hobby. Some will handle it like Niki and divide their time relaxing at home and playing a sport they enjoy outside.

It’s very important to try and keep a healthy and positive outlook. If you start to have negative thoughts, recognize when they become extreme (“This will never end.”) and purposely force yourself to think more positively (“The curve is flattening, we are doing all we can to slow the spread.”)

— Dr. Sadler

A way to bring back an element of our normal lives is by keeping some sort of a routine. While online school may feel daunting at times, it’s important to keep a consistent wake-up time. Doctor Sadler said, “This is especially important for teenagers because our body clock naturally shifts later.”

Most importantly, it’s key to acknowledge those worry thoughts that may be popping up now. This time is much more anxiety-provoking than just staying home normally, so it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed

Upper School Phycologist Dr. Sadler said, “Even though you are with your family 24/7, try to make some intentional time to be together instead of just being ships that pass in the night, or if you are all keeping to your own corners of the house, schedule movie or game nights and be sure to have family dinners. For many, this can be a time to bond with family and feel safer being together”.

Maintaining normality to an extent will come from being creative so don’t be afraid to have fun meals with your family, pick up new hobbies, and get outside as much as you can!