With social interaction on hiatus, it’s time to prioritize our mental health


Gerald Sastra / The Cougar

It’s time to focus on mental health, as declining social interactions, disrupted routines, and uncertainty have hit us hard in unprecedented ways.

It turns out that pandemics are, for most of us, incredibly stressful and anxious. However, it’s important to note that the coronavirus pandemic affects everyone differently.

Some people experience anxiety for the first time and have found solace in productivity. Others who have faced anxiety in the past find it difficult to navigate a new world where “making the most of your midlife” is the norm.

There is a difference between wanting to keep busy in quarantine and feeling pressured to be productive.

Social media posts from people showing their creative genius in their 40s may make some people feel inferior because they are not creating masterpieces.

However, it’s important to realize that not creating art or pastry or anything else is also acceptable.

Productivity is great, but so is the day. Some days are more difficult than others, and there is no one-size-fits-all guide on how to deal with the emotional exhaustion of a pandemic. You just need to find what works best for you and do it.

Mental health should be the priority, not the mechanisms we use to get there.

It is not surprising that the use of social media has increase since restrictive measures have been put in place all over the world. One of the effects of increased usage is the growing influence of social media on audiences.

Although not officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, social media depression seems to be supported by research.

According to a to study, users who constantly check social media sites tend to experience heightened feelings of anxiety and loneliness, feelings that we experienced in abundance during our forties.

So if you’ve noticed that social media is wearing you out, consider taking a break and walking around safely or finding an activity that works for you and makes you feel better.

Experts predict a peak mental health problems since midlife and social isolation affect most of us psychologically; now seems like the best time to prioritize our mental health and well-being.

Mental health has been shown to have a effect on physical health and since we are in the midst of a pandemic, focusing on mental health seems like a good step towards staying healthy.

UH has tried to provide students with as many virtual programs as possible. The campus recreation center has made several virtual activities for all registered students and the University has even made virtual campus tours for future students.

While these activities can be helpful for some, some Cougars do need emotional support.

The counseling and psychological services office has re-established its “Let’s talk” program. The program started on Monday and will hold all appointments remotely, whether by phone or video. It will also be free.

These efforts to ensure the physical and emotional health of the community are tools to help us overcome this challenge. It’s up to us to seek the help we need and to prioritize our mental health.

Hopefully mental health continues to be a priority for the future when we get back to normal, what that might be like.

For more on The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

Gina Medina is a senior journalist and can be contacted at [email protected]dailycougar.com

Key words: Anxiety, CAPS, Coronavirus, Depression, Instagram, Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness

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