Mental Health After Isolation

Annika Perez, Staff Reporter

Imagine this: You’re starting your first days of high school, nervousness running through your body as you realize you would have to see hundreds of new faces every day after spending so much of the previous year online. It’s exciting but also nerve-wracking, stressful, and draining; and this is a reality for most students at Washington High School. 

As the first week of in-person school comes to an end it’s a good time to reflect on how the pandemic has affected oneself. For some students, it’s easy to get back in the swing of things and for others, it’s not. Regardless, it can be stressful seeing so many people all at once after a year of not seeing as many faces. When Natalie Burch 23’ who went to school in person last year was asked about how she felt about going to school this year, as compared to other school years she stated, “This school year, although to most [might] seem semi-normal. I realized I had to readjust with a ton of people inside the school,” Burch laughed and continued, “It was kinda nerve-wracking.”   When asked about what made her nervous and what feels better about this school year Burch stated “Definitely the number of people in the halls, it’s a lot at once and I’m no longer used to it. I’m also nervous to see how everything holds up or if we have to go back online and it’s way better having school in person now so it’s much easier to focus and pay attention.” And another quote from  Mellish, attended school in person last year when asked about her feelings about the delta variant she stated, “it’s really scary, I thought after getting the vaccine, things would go back to somewhat normal, but it just shows me that you always have to be careful.”

But feeling this way after all of this is completely understandable, in fact, an excerpt from the Washington Post states that. “Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year. Last month, roughly 20,000 people texted that hotline, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration”. So it seems like most people are anxious. But being anxious or nervous now doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever, a quote from https://www.cedars-sinai.org/ a nonprofit healthcare organization,  states  “Many will feel a certain amount of trepidation or shyness at first, but will soon adjust to and enjoy more socializing.”  

Now, one’s mental health is something that only the individual can have an opinion on so if there is a problem maybe look into ways of coping, like taking deep breaths, having mental health days, exercising more, counting to ten, or even try talking to someone who knows how to help like a teacher, parent or even a trusted school counselor,  but overall a sense of shyness is normal and understandable especially for anyone who already doesn’t like talking to people. 

            When thinking about ways to de-stress this school year it might also help to know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. An excerpt from https://www.cnet.com/ “Typically introverts tend to enjoy more time to themselves, are very aware of their internal thoughts, and recharge more in solitude. Extroverts can be just the opposite. Extroverts are often more outspoken, outgoing, and absolutely love being around other people.” So, if one resonates with either one of these traits or feels somewhere in the middle it’s always good to understand where you fall on the spectrum so you can know how to recharge yourself after a long day of school. The website listed here has a quick quiz you can take to get some more insight into your personality: 

https://www.psychologies.co.uk/self/are-you-an-introvert-or-an-extrovert.html

   Whether you feel like an introvert/extrovert or somewhere in the middle, the best thing to remember is that in a pandemic, feeling anxious or nervous is perfectly normal but thinking about your mental health and ways you can maintain it is one of the most important things you can do in this situation.