When it comes to our younger family members, this means acknowledging their social as well as functional and emotional needs. With this in mind, we should consider three key principles as we focus on the mental health of our younger family members.
It feels preemptive to discuss emergence while sitting in the living room where I’ve spent 15 hours a day for the past month — bradycardic afternoons mirroring the day prior. Yet each day the sun emerges, and we along with it, venturing out onto balconies and porches. As medical students, we take our pro re nata walks and remember to cross the street so our paths don’t intersect those of our neighbors.
We’re now all online / but you’re still in person. / As things progress / they just seem to worsen.
Shortness of breath is a frustrating experience. The feeling of not being able to get air into the deepest parts of your lungs can be scary. Unfortunately, as COVID-19 spreads across the globe, more and more people are experiencing shortness of breath — one of the symptoms of the virus.
It has been two months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. People are itching to return to “normal,” to break out of their so-called home confinement; however, what is it like to be a person in an actual prison, right now, stuck in a crowded confinement that extends before and after this pandemic?
In order to flatten the COVID-19 curve, many people have been practicing social distancing and staying at home to avoid possible exposure to carriers and infected individuals. While these measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus and keep the number of cases at a manageable level, they have several implications for mental health.
The world is quarantined, but we have learned to be human again. Rather than tirelessly working or studying, we are forced to engage with one another in meaningful ways. We find novel alternatives to maintain relationships with those who mean the most to us during this daunting time with no foreseeable end.
A rainy day while the sun is out is a bad omen. But every day seems like a bad omen now. I stand by the window at times watching the strange weather passing through. If you look at the right moment, you will see me there with a face that mirrors the solemness of what I look at.
I am okay being alone; it’s not hard to do. / For other people, they can’t do it as if they were left scarred anew. / The trick is to keep your mind busy.
Back in late March, I was a medical student in D.C. studying for exams. Today, I am a 23-year-old living with my parents again. Despite being in school 5+ hours away, my bedroom in upstate New York has become my new classroom. Being at home has its perks: I get food from my mom again, and I can wear pajamas all day if I wanted to (not that I actually do that). However, there are many things that don’t feel right about being a medical student who has no connection to the medical world right now.
Mask on. / Your own protective prison / the air is stale but clean, you hope.
To combat this, we are called upon to reach a higher degree of commitment within ourselves and curb the tide of fear. Mindfulness is an optimal behavioral strategy within this period of self-isolation to manage our stress and establish the foundation for optimizing our mental and emotional hygiene.