These times are extremely unprecedented, and no one is sure how to go about navigating these difficult days. COVID-19 has not been easy on our society — it has injured our economy, hurt vulnerable families and taken so many lives. With all of these consequences, people’s mental health has deteriorated as anxiety and fear sweep across the world.
With the fear that comes with the arrival of a worldwide pandemic, people panic and prepare for the worst. But people don’t realize the loneliness that comes with quarantine and isolation once someone tests positive for COVID-19.
Especially living at college, with friends and no family, anyone can be forced to spend up to 14 days alone in their room in order to protect their roommates and those around them. This is no easy task. The effects of this virus on students’ sanity and happiness prove detrimental as young adults must survive this on their own, leading to intense loneliness.
There is not much that a COVID-positive student’s friends can do to help them, as they can’t enter the room or even be within six feet. It’s difficult to be the roommate caring for them — trust me, I was one — but it’s harder to be the one alone, completely reliant on others for meals and water.
There isn’t anything we can do to stop people from quarantining because it is medically necessary to stop the spread of the virus — but there are things that isolated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can do in order to care for their mental health.
The first thing to do is remember how many people you’re helping by staying where you are and not leaving your room. This simple act saves the lives of many who may not be as able to survive this sickness.
It is also important to remember that people aren’t scared of you, they are simply scared of the virus, and the two can get intertwined sometimes. Communication between you and whoever you are living with is incredibly important in order to maintain strong mental health and stability during a quarantine.
Simply checking in on one another and showing full transparency of your feelings throughout the entire quarantine period can maintain your sanity and your relationship with your roommates.
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There are also a number of resources you can reach out to in order to make the isolation period a bit easier. University Health Services has many different services for all different health problems, including many mental health outlets. I strongly urge you to check these out, and send resources out to your friends in order to give everyone support they may need.
When you’re in your room alone and people won’t come near you, it can feel like the world is ending, but that is not the case. It is all temporary — all of the feelings of loneliness and the feelings of permanence will pass, and so will this questionable time of uncertainty.
I believe the most important thing to do when quarantining is to remain calm and care for yourself. It can be so easy to lay in bed all day and ignore your body, but it will make all the difference to spend even 30 minutes working out, stretching or simply moving your body, even if it has to be done in the confines of your room. Doing these things won’t make COVID-19 go away, and won’t free you from isolation, but they will make the lonesome days at least a little bit easier.
Elizabeth Ellick ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science.