Blog post by UNICEF Young Reporters Mihaela Zaneva (15), Eva Pecalevska (15), Erblin Jakupi (16), Emir Talha Tural (16), Dario Korolija (20)
The global COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world. Everyday life has become different and public health has become a shared responsibility. Now more than ever, caring for our mental health has become one of the most important issues for young people.
“Many of us would like to become a hero or a heroine. Suddenly, the world has offered us such chance. But, not all of us are ready for that. However, we keep reminding ourselves that we have to be strong.”
We should all be able to talk openly about our feelings and emotions without feeling shame, there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. No one deserves to go through this alone. Things are always easier when you know you are not alone, when you have someone by your side, when you have someone to talk to and express how you are feeling.
“Some people consider mental health a taboo topic, so not too many people openly talk about it and I think that’s the worst thing that has happened to our society, especially during this time.”
Quarantine Effects on Young People’s Mental Health
Quarantine has changed all of our lives, but it also left many of us feeling that we have no control over the situation. Here are some examples of the feelings shared by people in quarantine:
- After a long time spent in isolation with our loved ones, we begin to feel lonely even though we are not alone.
- We are often waiting for the time to just pass.
- We feel sadness, exhaustion, fear, confusion. Often, as time goes on, we start to become numb, without any sensation or feeling.
- People with pre-existing mental problems in the form of depression and anxiety may suffer more because of the existing instability. The great panic created by humans can have a huge effect on them, so everyone should watch out!
- All of this is new to all of us. It is normal to feel fear and pressure. However, we need to get rid of the negative emotions. Stresscan seriously reduce our immunity. This would make us more vulnerable to contagious diseases, such as COVID-19. We must not give up. Nothing is more important than our well-being. Let us not forget, thoughts are not facts.
Our Character Affect the Way We Cope
Every one of us is different. We all deal with different situations differently. Some of us are extroverts, someintroverts. Many say that extroverts will soon become lonely due to their longing for communication and that introverts will thrive What makes us the same is that we all need human connections. Although we are different, we all need to feel a sense of belonging to a community. We would all benefit from staying connected and meeting with friends online!
“I believe I’m an extrovert. I usually lead a very dynamic life, constantly on the move, looking for new adventures. Surprisingly, I’ve adapted quite easily. I firmly believe that our life path depends on our own choices. I’m grateful I possess the power to enjoy life as it is. I don’t believe in good or bad times. For me every moment is a gift and I aim to make the best of it. Happiness is not science fiction. It is all around us. We just need to give happiness attention,” Dario (20)
Tips to Cope with Quarantine
- Change your daily routines.
- Make a list of activities that you want to do on that day: You don’t need to fully adhere to the schedule and be stressed if you don’t get everything done. Just try to do as much as you can from the list. “For example, on my to do list I write things like, after I finish the online classes, I will work on our blog and later I’ll paint,” Erblin (16).
- Exercise: Everyone feels good after exercising, so why not give it a try!
- Find a new hobby: Try drawing, singing, reading new book genres, try writing poetry, write a journal or start your own blog! You won’t regret it! “One way for me to deal with the difficult moments in isolation is designing part of my room. I do it with drawings or quotes, which draw my attention. If you want to do something similar keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be drawings or quotes. It can be anything that fulfills you. Remember that we are not the only ones going through this. Designing helps me channel any negative emotions,” Mihaela (15)
- Stay in touch with your loved ones: Check the situation with your friends and what they are doing in their free time.
- Remind yourself why you are doing this: Remembering the reasons can make your situation much easier!
It’s okay to not be okay!
We are all bombarded with encouragements to be proactive and stay positive. Be productive! Learn something new! Learn a new skill! These are just some of the messages that flood our newsfeeds everyday.
The reality is that for many of us we can’t find the motivation. And its perfectly OK. In addition to the many challenges we face every day, the situation with COVID-19 can make it difficult to deal with our emotions. It’s perfectly OK if we are not in the mood to work on our personal development. Give yourself a break and don’t be hard on yourself.
Everyone around the world knows that it’s hard, and that if you already have feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression and sadness, it’s not that easy to put those feelings aside.
Remember that this will pass, too, so it’s okay to feel lonely and sad. Also remember that you are not alone. and that they are people who can help you if you are feeling overwhelmed.
We must know that the virus is not stronger than the measures we’re taking.
We are all in this together. We let’s work together to get us through it!
Eva P., 15
Blogs written by UNICEF Young Reporters are part of a UNICEF volunteer initiative to give young people the space to share their own views on topics important to them. The work of the Young Reporters during COVID-19 pandemic is partly funded by USAID.