The last few months have been hard for everyone, and to be honest I don’t think anyone thought we wouldn’t return to campus until the end of August when we left for spring break last March. Many of us lost jobs, have had to deal with food insecurities and day care issues for children, had to teach children while doing our own homework, as well as worrying about the very serious risk that COVID-19 carries. Our nightly news had only headlines regarding COVID-19 with the occasional meth gator or murder hornet worrying for good measure.
With headlines like that it’s not hard to understand why some of us have struggled with anxiety or depression. I have struggled a lot with anxiety, and to say that I have been cranky is a minor understatement. I went from being able to go to work, to school, out to eat with my friend, to visit my grandma or to the movies with my brother, to only leaving my house to grocery shop or walk my dog. I also have to worry about bringing home an illness that could kill my mom who has two chronic illnesses or my dad who was newly diagnosed with cancer. My study abroad was canceled, as well as the art show I was going to be in, and sports were canceled too. It felt like the world was ending. I found myself counting down the days to school starting again in September.
After school restarted this fall, I found myself changing and my anxiety decreasing. I can see people besides my family again, and I have a routine again. I think that having a routine is something we can take for granted. I think being able to return to school has been healthy not just for myself but for other as well. At school we can attend socially distanced activities like movie nights and zoom yoga that the rec center hosts for us. We can see some of our friends again after months of isolation. I feel healthier and I hope my classmates feel healthier too.
I think it is important to remember we are still in the midst of a pandemic though, and that school could close again. I think it is important to have healthy habits, like showering every day even during a lockdown, and eating healthy food. Take a walk outside once in a while, learn a hobby like baking or guitar or learn a new language. Make sure you have access to resources you might need like free counseling from Kirkwood or the student food pantry. Remember to check in with friends and family, and wash your hands all the time.