The coronavirus outbreak means school is closed through the end of the year with no known return date, and this lack of structure and a world filled with unknowns can really do a number on a person’s psyche. Maintaining mental wellness is critical for both students and staff during these times of uncertainty.
“It’s easy to let ourselves be overcome with frustration, grief, anxiety, depression, and stress during these uncertain times,” says Camas High School Counselor Leontina Liebe.
Being in isolation since March can have some negative effects on mental health. Students are missing their teachers and friends and now have the added stress of online classes. At least these online meetings provide some connection to see each other on-screen.
“Despite the crazy hectic world we are all dealing with, school administrators and teachers did a remarkable job of catering to student needs as best they could. So far they have been keeping people up to date and informed, and supporting those who have been more adversely affected,” says CHS Senior Quintin Morgan.
Classes and social connections aside, there are some ways students can give their brains a boost to stay motivated and positive.
Liebe says a key factor in maintaining mental wellness is first of all to exercise. Studies show that people who exercise are 50 percent less likely to be depressed.
CHS Freshman Isabelle Rayan says, “My family and I stay active by going on daily walks around our neighborhood.”
Another CHS freshman, Luke Orlando, has created a system in order to stay active and fit. He either gets 10,000 steps or does an hour of physical activity.
Second, creating a daily routine for schoolwork is extremely important and beneficial.
Camas High School Counselor Sarah Warta says everybody is stressed and is enduring a number of obstacles.
Warta says, “Teachers really care and are trying their very best to support all students and to make contact with all students.”
Part of that support means providing work and a schedule. It is also important to remain positive through the COVID-19 crisis, even if things are looking down.
Rayan says she stays positive by keeping herself busy and recommends that everybody do the same.
Orlando says, “My advice would be to look at this quarantine as a time to improve yourself. Learn a new skill, break a bad habit, and become closer with your family.” He says whatever can be done to improve yourself, do it!
There are more resources available for students. Counselors sent out a few emails to both students and their parents, offering tips to keep up their mental health along with check-in and support. Additional resources about wellness during the coronavirus pandemic can be found here on the Camas School District website.