COVID-19 and Mental Health

Students at NC State

By: Caroline Griffith ’21 elementary education, wellness assistant

As physical distancing recommendations and regulations were put into place around the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us began to question how it would affect our mental health. A lack of routine and limitations on seeing our loved ones sparked panic and a newfound appreciation for the importance of social interaction. 

Despite all the changes, we adapted and found resources and new routines that we can take into our lives after this pandemic. 

I was very stressed when I began to realize what my new reality was going to be. I had chosen to go home because it was the best option for me now, but I was leaving behind the people who help me manage my mental health. I knew I had to act fast and try to get ahead of the anxiety I knew was coming, so I began to develop new habits. Here are the three things I will take with me after COVID-19:

Taking care of myself physically so that I can take care of myself mentally.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I get super busy at school, my physical health falls by the wayside. I maintain my physical health well enough to get by, but it is something that I know I could improve upon.

With my new free time, I began to do little things that would drastically impact my mental state. I began drinking more water, sticking to a sleep schedule, and going on walks whenever the opportunity arose. I noticed a significant difference in my mood, energy level, and quality of sleep. 

Connecting with ALL my friends, not just the ones that are convenient.

With physical distancing, I found myself connecting with old friends. I had become so reliant on the people that I saw every day that I missed valuable connections with other friends. I realized that I wanted to make these relationships intentional moving forward. I was able to remember why we had become friends in the first place and that they still brought me the same joy. 

Reflecting on the day-to-day. 

With days beginning to feel like they are merging together, I started journaling. Reflecting on my day and the things I did helped me have a better sense of time. I began to realize that I missed a lot of reflection time when I was busier at school. I was missing the opportunity to document and learn from my day to day experiences and emotions. I am excited to see what I will learn about myself in the future as I take the time to slow down and process even the most mundane of days. 

After implementing these routines into my life, I began to realize that I had more power over the state of my mental health than I had originally realized. I had the power to change my situation for the better, and it showed. I would encourage us all to learn from this experience and take what we have learned into our lives moving forward.