Mental Health in Self Isolation
This article was written by Dartmouth College Sophomore Anyoko Sewavi. Anyoko interned with the Launch gURLs Marketing and Communications team this summer and was pivotal in launching our brand!
Mental Health isn’t easy to practice under ordinary circumstances, but self-isolation and the restrictions of the current pandemic make it even harder. This is why we want to start a discussion around this difficult topic. First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page and define mental health. The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. It’s important to note that just because you don’t have a mental disorder doesn’t mean that you are mentally healthy. Keeping this in mind, let’s talk about why self-isolation makes mental health harder and the resources you can use to help.
What do you do when you’re having a challenging day? Do you seek out your friends to help cope? Do you work things out in your head by yourself? Do you talk to a mentor or therapist? No matter what it is that you do, self-isolation has affected that, yes even when your coping mechanism is being by yourself. When you’re isolated all the time, coping by spending even more time by yourself might not be as effective as usual. If you’re used to physically meeting up with someone, self-isolation has restricted that. If you have the resources, virtually contact your friend, mentor, or therapist. No, it’s not as great as the real deal, but it’s the best that you can do during these challenging times. Be willing to get personal through the phone, allow yourself to have those conversations virtually.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re new to this too. When you look at others around you or on social media, it might look like they’re using self-isolation to be hyper productive. Comparing yourself to others becomes an easy next step, and before you know it you feel like you’re wasting away. Being mean to yourself harms your mental health, instead realize that you’re not seeing the behind-the-scenes of their lives and social media is simply a highlight reel, not reality. Chances are they are going through the same troubles and feelings as you.
Mental health means taking care of and looking after yourself, whatever that may look like for you. Maybe that means reading, or finding a new hobby, or turning off your computer/phone after a certain time, or taking time to be present and grateful. If you received mental health expertise at school, at a youth center, or somewhere in person, you may be lost as to where to go from there. We might be able to help.
We’re not mental health experts, and thankfully we don’t have to be. There are a plethora of virtual resources and coping mechanisms that are easily accessible to you. We compiled a list of a few, but there are many more out there.
And here are some of our favorite social distancing friendly coping mechanisms:
- Video call with friends
- Find a new hobby
- Start a new book series
- Find a penpal
If you know any other resources or want to share your coping mechanism, share it with us in the comments.