When COVID-19 first hit the U.S. last March, none of us knew what was to come and the significant impact this crisis would have on ourselves, our loved ones and the world as a whole. The pandemic and its resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s lives and personal health, especially those who already struggle with mental illnesses. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about four in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety and depression during quarantine. Even though it’s been a rough time for all, University of Miami students say there are still many ways to cope with and cater to your mental health and, most of all, stay happy.
Jordan Farrell, a UM junior double majoring in criminology and political science, discussed how she wasn’t doing well emotionally when the pandemic first began. “I had so many plans to look forward to, so to see everything I worked for suddenly come to a halt was very disappointing,” she said.
Farrell said that although her mental health took a toll in the spring 2020 semester, she decided to channel all her energy into her work. She started to read more, which became her new favorite activity to unwind. She also began working out and challenging herself in ways she hadn’t before. “Working out is my main outlet to decompress and destress as it allows me to step away from social media, work and assignments,” she mentioned.
Cassandra Couri, a senior creative writing major, explained how COVID-19 has impacted her mental health as a remote student because she hasn’t seen her on-campus friends in over a year. “I spend almost every day at home to keep my grandmother’s risk of exposure down. It is also exceedingly difficult to find the motivation to attend online classes, and even on the days that I attend via Zoom, staying engaged is another battle entirely,” she said.
Couri recommended picking up an unfamiliar hobby to keep your mind occupied during times of isolation. “I’ve taken up yoga to stay active, and I started painting during winter break and found art to be incredibly soothing!” she remarked.
Junior Jess Morgan, a creative advertising major, said that COVID-19 definitely impacted her mental health because she had to move back in with her parents after being in college for two years. She said she’s gotten better since moving back to Miami and ending a toxic relationship during quarantine. “I personally love being by myself and am also a homebody,” she said, “so I don’t mind staying at home, but it does sometimes drive me nuts.”
Morgan has explored a variety of artistic ventures to improve her mental wellness while being in quarantine. “Over the pandemic, I expanded my creative skillset by teaching myself how to use Procreate! Procreate is an iPad app that’s primarily used for making illustrations, and I find it very therapeutic. I love drawing with my Apple Pencil, and I’ve created probably 100+ illustrations at this point. I also watch a lot of Hulu and TikTok,” she described.
It’s evident that we’ve all been affected by COVID-19 in numerous ways. Just know that we’re all experiencing similar feelings simultaneously — We aren’t alone in this battle and will come out stronger than ever! UM is here for all of its students through its counseling center and various other on-campus initiatives offering year-round resources. Stay strong, everyone, and remember that the finish line of this challenging pandemic is near in sight.
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