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Why it’s Important to Take a Step Back

Whether you’re quarantined in the comfort of your hometown, or safe in your college apartment, there is no escaping the global conversation that is COVID-19.

I’ve been staying at home alongside my family for 14 days now. And while I’m thankful to be surrounded by my loved ones during this isolation, certain aspects of this new lifestyle can be challenging. 

When this pandemic began to take a serious turn a few of weeks ago, I immediately packed my things and returned home.

I attempted to learn everything one could about the virus.

Digging through multiple sources and coming up with a game plan brought me comfort.

Preparation was not something I took lightly; I wanted to do all the right things.

From learning how to use Instacart to watching YouTube videos about homemade masks, I refused to feel ill-equipped or misinformed. 

However, since settling into this new routine, I’ve had the chance to take an introspective look at what’s working and what isn’t.

Without hesitation, I knew I needed to cut back on my media intake. 

Whether it was CNN or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or Facebook and Instagram, coronavirus content was relentless. This is to be expected!

As a global pandemic, this really is all anyone wants to talk about. And I’m guilty of this as well.

For a while, it was the only thing I could talk about.

From memes to updated statistics, the amount of virus-related media was overwhelming.

That’s when my concern morphed into an unhealthy form of stress. 

After recognizing that I was too invested in the trajectory of this outbreak, I’ve subsequently attempted to put my phone and laptop down for a good portion of the afternoon.

I watch a movie, read a couple chapters of a book, or tan in my backyard.

Basically, anything that distracts me from the constant stream of COVID-19 news. 

This change has honestly made a positive impact in my mood.

My days feel a little more normal, which is something I think we all need.

Abrupt change in a short period of time can be jarring.

Establishing time to walk away from the virtual chaos can completely shift your mindset. 

My suggestion is to only update yourself on the news once a day.

Rather than checking every outlet like clockwork, limit yourself to a select amount of screen time.

There’s no need to completely cut off the outside world (staying informed is important) but making your mental health a priority in these times is absolutely crucial.

Allowing your television to play cable news in the background all day has a deep effect over time. 

While these times are undeniably scary, it doesn’t mean that quarantine has to be completely devoid of joy.

Put the phone down, eat lunch with a family member, make some art, literally anything.

Practicing social distancing is one of the few things you can do to take control over this situation.

But this is still your life, global pandemic or not. Wash your hands, stay inside, and take care of yourself! 

If you need more help coping with stress or anxiety during this time, refer to the CDC’s guidelines listed here