COVID-19 outbreak affecting students’ mental health

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Chloe Strickland, Staff Reporter

With the COVID-19 pandemic overhead, the lives of everyone across the globe have drastically changed.

It has been a difficult time for everyone individually and while some people have been able to adapt to the situation, for others this has taken a toll on their mental health.

Shayna Martinez, 22, and Rebecca Leon, 21, have both been struggling with their mental health because of the mandated stay-at-home order. Martinez is a returning student at COD and Leon attends Cal State University San Bernardino.

Both Martinez and Leon are used to going out and socializing regularly and now have found themselves feeling depressed.

“I am a very social person,” said Martinez, “So not being able to go out and about with other people and enjoy gatherings has me feeling really down.”

Martinez is one of the many people who is out of work until the virus blows over and expressed that the lack of routine has badly affected her, “It has me feeling restless; I can’t figure out what to do with myself and it just makes me feel really anxious, especially because no one knows how long this is going to last.”

Also affected by the lack of routine is Leon, who before the outbreak attended school and work, “I definitely find myself more down than usual. I’m an extrovert, so I get energy from being around people and being isolated from my friends, and people in general, makes me feel lazy and sluggish.”

Along with being isolated from their social lives, the media and news is a big contender in bringing Martinez’s and Leon’s mood down.

Martinez, who was at first staying updated on news regarding the virus, has now decided to refrain from the news and only takes from it what is necessary.

Hearing the constantly rising death tolls from around the world and the continuing spread of the virus was depleting Martinez’s mental health, “It makes me feel depressed and worried that things aren’t going to get better any time soon. It’s hard to keep hope that things will get better when all you hear is bad news. I’d just rather not pay attention to it for my own sanity.”

Leon also expressed that the news about the virus has brought her down, “I have experienced higher levels of stress and depression because of it; hearing about people of all ages who have died and the families that have lost- it puts things into perspective and makes me upset to see others not taking the social distancing seriously.”

With a lot of free time on their hands, both Martinez and Leon have been trying to keep their spirits up with finding things to do.

Leon said she has been expanding her music library and finally watching movies she has been meaning to watch, “I’ve also been going on walks to get out of my apartment because I feel very confined just being in my room all day; I need fresh air.”

Fresh air was Martinez’s escape to happiness by going to her regular spots for hiking and enjoying the outdoors before COVID-19.

However, enjoying the outdoors seems to be a popular idea as Martinez has stopped her hiking because the trails have gotten too crowded since the virus outbreak.

“Now I listen to music, clean around the house, and relax in my back yard on my hammock,” said Martinez.

With the current times being uncertain and stressful, anyone can fall into a deep depression. Leon, however, has tried looking on the bright side of things, “Staying home has forced me to learn how to be comfortable being alone and to enjoy my time alone time. It was challenging the first week, but now I’ve learned how to keep myself happy.”

In light of the stress Martinez has been feeling, she also had a very similar comment, “Sometimes I appreciate the quarantine because not only do I get to stay at home, I get time to reflect on myself and life and relax and enjoy the little things for a minute.”

While both Martinez and Leon struggle with the quarantine, they acknowledge the importance of social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.

For more information on how to cope with mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit the Centers for Disease Control or visit the Student Health and Wellness Center at COD.