COVID: The lasting impact

The impact of COVID-19 is wide-reaching. From the social impact many college-students have felt to the lasting mental impact; COVID-19 has made its presence felt.

COVID has been difficult. I have gotten better at not stressing as much about the little things or about the unknown. You could say that I’m getting better at going with the flow and allowing myself to wait and see rather than freak out trying to find each answer. Also, quarantine has allowed me to try out new styles that I would have been too chicken to try out last year (I gave myself curtain bangs, got a tattoo I’ve wanted forever, gotten into minimalism, been able to try creative makeup looks for fun etc.) aka: I say f*ck it more.

Social media use has impacted the mental health of college students during COVID-19. While some posts provide a comedic outlet, others have caused stress and anxiety. Online learning has impacted all of the people I interviewed about COVID-19.

I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and ADHD for a long time, but a few months into the pandemic heightened these symptoms all at once. While now I have given myself time to adjust to these changes, and I am doing a lot better now, the unknown regarding the future and how much this has disrupted my education has taken a big toll on my mental health throughout the pandemic, especially because it is out of my control.

COVID-19 has changed the way we socialize. A typical birthday party for a college student might include a night out socializing and celebrating. The image above shows a 2020 “Zoom Party” which became the new way of socializing and celebrating for many.

Recent research has indicated an 71% increase in anxiety for college students. The pressure of exams, balancing a social life, and working often provide stressors for the average college student. COVID has forced multiple other stressors on students that have negatively impacted their mental health. From difficulty concentrating to disrupted sleep patterns, todays college student is under attack. These stressors have a negative impact on the health of

Mental health is a process for many. Anxiety and depression can stem from many different aspects of life. For college-students, you can see that sleep patterns are being disrupted and they are experiencing a difficultly concentrating in addition to isolation. Additionally, college students are worried about their health.

Social support can help with the stressors that lead to depression and anxiety within the college aged population. Without some of these social interactions, college students are left isolated and alone.

The health of my family. I have both set of grandparents and my father is at risk, so I worry about them remaining healthy during this time. Also, the aftereffects of COVID, as we do not know for sure how it impacts lungs and heart.

What can college students do to protect their mental health during these times and fight against the anxiety and depression rates that are soring?

Make positive lifestyle choices. What does this mean? Coping with COVID-19 virus can be as simple as making time to exercise regularly. Eating healthy and avoiding harmful coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol all contribute to positive lifestyle behaviors.

Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness routines and relaxation routines can improve sleep and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Find a mindfulness app or video that fits your life. Being mindful of your current situation is important. I have learned, no matter how tough it might be, do not look too far ahead. You can only handle what is in front of you and sometimes that might seem like too much.

Finally, sleep! Sleeping is an important part of positive lifestyle behaviors.

The Coronavirus has impacted us all in different ways. From the fear of the unknown to the anxiety of the know, COVID has made its presence known in both our physical and mental worlds. The point of these three posts was to share the story of those are all too often statistics. You might read or think about the negative impact COVID has had on the mental health of the world. However, these posts share the real experiences and coping mechanisms our college students are left with during these trying times. My hope is that these stories and small tips let you realize; you are not alone.

You are not the only one struggling. College students: we see you and we are here to support you.

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