Even though the pandemic has been crippling the world since March, approximately five months, it feels like an eternity for some people. One of the most difficult things about COVID is the anxiety and stress that accompanies being forced to quarantine and socially distance. It is in our genetic makeup to connect to other human beings.
There is a deep-down, innate need to socialize. So, when the CDC and other medical personnel are saying everybody must stay six feet apart, it is difficult. They might as well be telling everybody to find an abandoned cave and live in it. That may seem extreme, but for some, it is what social distancing feels like. Staying away from loved ones and friends is especially difficult on teenagers. They feel the urge to socialize more than most. That is one reason it is so tough for a teenager to resist the urge to hang out with their friends.
Another reason is because the prefrontal cortexes have yet to develop, leaving them feeling invincible. They might not adhere completely to the mask mandates, or social distancing requests.
WETA, a mental health awareness organization launched a project called “Well Beings.” It invites teens to speak up and speak out on mental health, and how learn how to deal with stress. It showcased a few teenagers and how they are dealing with stress and anxiety.
River is a 16-year-old transgender who is transitioning into a woman. She said growing up, she knew she “wanted to be a woman,” but that awakening came with depression.
"Along with that came a lot of depression and anxiety," she explains. "I have always used music to cope with my depression and anxiety."
Jada, a 16-year-old who deals with anxiety shared how she relaxes.
"Sometimes you need to relax, especially me, if you have like a lot of anxiety," she said. "The other day I had so much anxiety so I was like, 'Ok, for the rest of this day I'm gonna sit on this couch and like, chill out.' I tend to forget that things don't need to get done right at every moment I receive them."
Another teen, Larkin, battles with anxiety, and has felt it in overdrive since the pandemic. She said finding tangible solutions helps her cope.
"I think taking control of yourself and taking control of your thoughts, especially, and being able to say, ‘I’m washing my hands, I’m being as safe as possible, I’m wearing a mask,’ that’s definitely been super helpful for me," Larkin said.
So, whether one is dealing with typical anxiety, or pandemic-induced anxiety, it is important to find a way to cope with the stress before being taken over by it.