By: Aisha Aden and Hailey Boehme
There has been a lot of concerns for the public’s general health since the pandemic started, but recent news indicates that there is also a rising sense of unease regarding mental wellbeing. There are many varying components that contribute to the correlation between COVID-19 and physiological struggles. Here at Sheyenne, a new focus had been directed towards diving into those factors to get a better understanding of how to improve the overall wellbeing of classmates, teachers, and other staff.
Many people have taken on more responsibilities to support their families like watching younger siblings, cleaning commonly touched areas of their houses, and working extra jobs. An anonymous student in response to a question regarding how they spend their time outside of their responsibilities said, “The fact of the matter is, we as students have so much work to do for our classes that a lot of the time we don’t get extra time that you can fill with coping with the effects from virtual learning. It’s like we don’t have time to live our lives outside of school; it’s good grades or a life. I can speak for many students when I say this and there needs to be attention brought to it and steps taken to help. A lot of fellow students I know at this school all say the same thing, there is no time for anything but cramming for tests and stressing about grades and that is what leads to depression and anxiety in teens among other mental health issues. Someone needs to do something.” There were lots of answers similar to that one and they all seemed to be asking the same thing: how do we cope when there only 24 hours in a day and 99% of that time is spent keeping up with the expectations of the world around us?
Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) have been publishing more articles lately to inform others of how to help themselves, their friends, and family members. Warning signs include a withdraw from trusted companions, increase/decrease of appetite, inability to sit still, short attention span, lack of motivation to do things once enjoyed, sleeping more or less than normal, and overall feelings of long lasting sadness, worry, stress, and fatigue.
The best way to support someone who is having these feelings is to remain calm and focus on what it would be like in their shoes. If comfortable, a good way to cope is simply to talk. A research project done at The University of Texas in Austin studied people who were working in stressful situations on a daily basis to figure out what could help with the aggression it sometimes brings when they are outside of work. Co-author Arthur Markman says, “Our research suggests people may become more aggressive after they have to control themselves. Whatever psychological mechanisms are at work when people deal with stress and then have to exercise self control later are not the same thing that happens when you're tired." In other words, when you are holding in stress all day, it becomes more difficult as you get tired which leads to frustration and feelings of anger. Being at home with family can often add to this as your own home is usually considered a safe place to let out feelings, it can end up being very draining.
To avoid this, a survey was sent out to get a general idea of what coping skills students are currently using. Common answers included: deep breathing, taking warm showers, exercising, yoga, resting/napping, listening to music, seeing a friend, going shopping, going for a drive, reading, and much more. However, many of those are short term fixes. Experts recommend taking actions before you start to feel the negative effects of stress. Some describe it as taking a vitamin before you get sick to prevent it instead of having to get an antibiotic. Some examples of this to help psychological health are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and mentally tracking things that seem to trigger the feeling of stress for you and find a solution to help avoid or cope with that situation.
If you or a loved one are feeling negative mental health effects, start the movement to normalize reaching out to get help. The more everyone listens and tries to support each other, the closer the community will grow. Reach out to someone in the Sheyenne family today to see a brighter tomorrow.
The Mustang Post
All feature news content is produced by students in the Newspaper program at West Fargo Sheyenne High School.