Staying Safe and Sane Indoors: Mental Well-being During a Pandemic

Video, Photography and Written Feature by Melanie C., Concordia Applied Journalism

 

“Having a planned-out routine helped me stay sane,” reveals Evelyn S., a second semester senior stuck in quarantine.

The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) has driven many to self isolate and practice social distancing, in an attempt to minimize the spread of the disease.

As many parts of the world are mired in lockdown amidst the global pandemic, people have faced with changes to usual way of life but are left anxious about how to deal with the drastic changes brought by the virus in the long run.

Parkway Health psychologist Poneh Sabet deals with clients who are facing these exact issues. She describes the persistent characteristics of many people as a result of the pandemic fallout. Dr Sabet says that people “generally reported symptoms of psychological distress, signs of psychological disorders, anger, and anxiety months after quarantine… [meaning] we are not only concerned about now but also months or years to come.”

This news may raise concerns about well-being in the future even after the virus blows over.

As a way to combat ongoing pressures, Sabet advises that “[it] is very important for our psychological health” to keep routines in our daily lives while we are at our homes. Whether it is through eating, sleeping, exercise, TV, or media time, she advocates that finding activities to “overcome stress” is something everyone can start with. Further, she advocates finding new hobbies and keeping in contact with friends and family.

Evelyn S. finds that sticking to a schedule keeps her focused. (image: Melanie C., Concordia Applied Journalism)

Students at Concordia have definitely resorted to new hobbies to get through quarantine.

“I learned to make bagels and sourdough bread”, expressed Claire H.

“I learned how to knit and picked up a new hobby,” said Lilly D.

Other Concordia community members stuck to routines to practice mental well-being.

“I wake up every morning at around 9 and try to do work,” shared Evelyn S.” and so I kind of stuck to this schedule of work in the morning, workout in the afternoon, and chill at night.”

“I started this two-week ab shred program by a fitness YouTuber,” exclaimed Hannah L. “It really helped me work on myself during the quarantine period.”

Adjusting to this new way of life is just one way we can start to take care of our well-being.

“We may face short term negative effects,” Dr. Sabet comments on the current situation, “but the long term effect is positive. We will learn many things from this pandemic, the world after this pandemic is a different world. ”

It is easy to get caught up in the dire statistics and current affairs of the situation, but Dr. Sabet touches on the fact that “suffering can bring people closer together [and] inspire us to value good things more”.  She encourages us to take this virus as a positive learning experience that will help guide us to “learn how to make the best out of the worst situations.”

As we work together to overcome the effects of the virus while focusing on the positive aspects, we can actually walk away as stronger individuals, insists Dr. Sabet. “Based on my experience if people can find a meaning for their life they are always able to overcome any type of hardship in their life”, she insists. “Without any meaning, purpose, and responsibility [disappointment] fills up our days and of course, gradually we become mentally unwell.”


Melanie C. is a student of Concordia Applied Journalism