Most of us have long entered the stage of quarantine where we feel like we’ve lost our minds. Now, the best thing that can happen is everything going back to normal, especially social gatherings and activities. But why exactly do we all feel like we are going crazy?
There is a pretty high chance that the inability to stay sane during quarantine has more to do with deeper psychological reasons rather than boredom alone.
If you’ve ever thought, “Geez, why do I feel like I’m going crazy during quarantine?” You can be assured that there’s definitely some real science going on behind this sense of estranged madness.
Isolation goes against human nature
First, a key lesson that any social psychology expert would most likely impart to you is that humans are social animals. That’s right—we literally feed off of social interaction to survive. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense.
We are inclined to pay attention to what other people are doing and feeling, which can have a direct effect on our own thoughts and actions. Oftentimes in what is known as the “Bystander Effect,” the very presence of other people can affect what we do because we are an interrelational species.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we are part of a daily cycle of codependency and interdependency. For that to suddenly be stripped away would leave the average person a bit disoriented.
People affect people; social psychology proves that we do not, and cannot, live in isolation. This is especially evident in the well-known “bystander effect” theory.
Studies have shown that when somebody is alone, they tend to trust their instincts and react immediately, but as soon as there is another person, there is an obvious delay in their decision-making.
For example, if a man cries for help and you are the only one in sight, you would be more than likely to assist him. However, if there are two others with you, there would be notable hesitation. You and they depend on each other, and you are essentially trusting others’ instincts more than your own.
This just proves that being in isolation during quarantine and practicing social distancing are literally going against our human nature.
Yes, boredom strikes, and loneliness strikes, but the next time you seriously begin to wonder, “Why am I going crazy?” just remember that by being alone, we are defying our genetic coding, and ultimately can’t help but feel subjugated.
Cutting out social interaction can also trigger a loss of reality, decreased sense of empathy, inability to stay sane during quarantine, shorter life span, increased risk of dementia, and more, all just from being deprived of company.
Old habits have fallen apart
Second, your routine has most likely been upended since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This triggers the human brain in more ways than we know.
Another amazing function of the human body that we often forget about is our “fight or flight” response. When you regulate your daily actions, you deactivate your “fight or flight” instincts because you’re no longer confronting the unknown.
Simply put, this means that the human body puts its guard down once it feels safe to do so. Its fear instincts are temporarily shut off so that the person can fully enjoy what they are doing. This is where the beauty of routine kicks in.
Interestingly enough, because routine is seen as a safety belt, we allow fear and impulse to make decisions when it is taken away, versus our own conscience. If this is kept up for long enough, stress and uneasiness are irrefutably bound to follow.
Habits are powerful tools. As people used to say, old habits are hard to change. However, good habits are also just as hard to change. Habits, routines, and the ways in which we programmed ourselves to go about our daily chores are what likely kept you afloat until COVID-19.
But now, you’ve been forced to uproot your own system and create a new and less desirable one, making it harder to stay sane during quarantine.
The power of repetition and routine on both physiological and psychological responses is consequential. So, the next time you think that you’re going crazy during quarantine, take a step back, grab some paper and a pencil, and try rebranding yourself.
Health issues may arise with less physical activity
Drastically reducing or eliminating physical activity can lead to muscle atrophy. This is essentially when muscles waste away from lack of use or activity, which in turn can greatly impact mental health, too.
Many of us are already tired and lazy, to begin with, but when we had obligations such as school, work, the gym, or going out with friends, it gave us more motivation to stay on our feet.
Quarantine has not only prevented all of these activities from taking place, but it has also locked us up in our rooms, and, well, it takes a lot of motivation to leave the safe confinements of a bedroom to go on a run outside. Why not snack on a bag of chips, right?
Keep in mind that cardiac dysfunction would greatly affect your mental health. Patients afflicted with muscular dystrophy tend to display signs of cognitive impairment, severe depression, sadness, and anxiety.
However, it has been scientifically proven that anxiety or acute daily psychological stress can result in muscle atrophy. Now we’ve really put ourselves into a vicious and unhealthy cycle: the results of anxiety are also the causes of it.
Keeping your muscles intact during quarantine by working out or simply going on a morning stroll would be doing your future self a massive service.
Next time somebody asks you during quarantine, “Why am I going crazy?” you might want to check up on their physical activity levels. Staying active is about more than just physical health or losing weight; it’s about preserving mental health as well.
The future is uncertain
For years, we have had the assurance that we could go to a college lecture, take detailed notes for an hour, and come back home after a fulfilling day. It was easy to stay sane with our repetitive and predictable lifestyles.
In quarantine, though, the pandemic controls everything from finding a job to purchasing from fast-food restaurants.
How soon can we ditch the mask? Nobody knows. Will the virus ever go away entirely? Nobody knows.
The fact that the future is uncertain makes our impulses itch with frustration, and it kills us to not be in control of our lives anymore.
To make matters worse, a tricky disease could strike at any moment, even after we take the highest safety precautions. It seems as if we are not even in control of our own health or safety, and any overprotective mom or at-risk elderly person will tell you they’ve had enough.
As good citizens, we know we should follow stay-at-home orders; but as humans, we need to know what happens next. Even when the future is uncertain, we need the answers. Our lives are at the mercy of a microscopic malefactor so unpredictable that doctors keep changing their precautions against it.
When uncertain schedules or futures stress you out, remember that you are more in control than you think. Although you may not know what will happen or how to counteract eternal time-outs, you can still stay sane during quarantine by knowing how you will react.
Will you get angry at every store closing, or will you seek out new locations to visit? Will you get angry at every new announcement of “two more weeks,” or will you be proactive and prepare back-up plans ahead of time?
Despite what you see in the media of how the future is uncertain, you are still in control of your life, and neither sickness nor struggle can take that away from you.
We all have the feeling of not belonging
As sports are canceled and graduations are taken online, it can be easy to feel like we are not part of anything anymore. This feeling of not belonging drives us crazy. School spirit turns to dead sound while once lively neighborhoods turn to prisons.
Just as we all need interpersonal communication as humans, we also need to feel like we belong to something. However, with the only connection we feel nowadays being to our apathetic feline, we are more separated today than ever.
If you feel like the world is running its course without you, you’re not alone. Psychology proves that we hunger to be a part of something larger than ourselves.
We need to belong to a cause — whether it be in friendship, schooling, hobbies, religion, or interests — if we want to stay sane like other group members.
The next time you feel alone, why not join a Facebook group about a pastime you enjoy? Or, when the feeling of not belonging steals your joy, why not call an old friend who lives doors down? With technology, we have the ability to be more connected than ever. Take advantage of it.
In fact, we are already linked to one another in that we are all humans going through similar circumstances. True, our situations differ from that of others, but we are still connected in that we are going through these troubles by one another’s side.
Years in the future, we may even look back at this pandemic as something that brought our world together.
We are feeling like life is pointless
The news repeats to us dangers and death tolls alike, as if calling for a hero to save us. And all we can do is sit back and “relax” in an uncomfortable chair. Although the pandemic is not our fault, we feel like we have to be doing something productive to save the world — but we can’t.
Instead, we are told to save the world by watching Netflix. Though this small task seemed amusing at first, every time we click “Continue Watching” on the judgemental “Are you still watching?” makes us feel we have to be doing something else. Anything else.
It gets to the point where our efforts seem insignificant and we get the feeling like life is pointless.
“I’m not a doctor,” you may tell yourself. “I’m not working on the front lines, so there’s nothing I can do to help.” Perhaps the burden worse than not doing anything is the realization that there may be nothing you can do. While you’re not wrong, though, you’re not right either.
We love reading or watching about dystopian worlds like Divergent and The Hunger Games, saying we would do anything to be as brave as Tris or as resourceful as Katniss in times of trouble. Well, now’s your chance.
If you are feeling like life is pointless for lack of effort in this pandemic, it may be the world telling you it’s time to act.
Whether that be through donations, service, or a friendly phone call makes no difference. There is no better time than now to start being the relief that your society needs you to be.
Not all of us are in the same boat
We’ve all read about people throwing block parties, flying to Hawaii, and crowding the city beaches. Depending on your situation, you might even have people in your immediate life, like family or friends, who disregard quarantine safety.
If you’re quarantined, and have been for months, then watching your loved ones go to parties and go on vacation feels extremely isolating.
This can make someone question their own perceptions. If your loved ones are hanging out with friends, and you respect their opinion, then surely, it should be fine to socialize normally again, right?
As human beings, we naturally want to fit in with our peers, and if they’re out partying, then it’s tempting to join them. Unfortunately, the rapidly rising case count and death toll is a statement against that.
Watching your peers and loved ones can make you feel crazy. It can make you wonder if the pandemic really “is that bad.” However, it’s crucial to not let this sway your opinion, and make unsafe decisions such as going to parties or crowded restaurants.
We have to learn new social vocabulary
On a similar note, the way that we interact with people is markedly different than before. From a cultural standpoint, we are not taught to how to politely decline an invitation because of pandemic safety precautions.
People need to learn how to say things like, “Sorry, you can’t come in unless you have a mask on,” “I don’t feel comfortable with hanging out because of the pandemic,” and “I feel uncomfortable when you go to parties, because I’m afraid you will catch COVID-19.”
Interactions over Zoom and other forms of calling are also different from in-person interaction. We lose a lot of the nuance of physical spaces and activities, and have to supplement them with online interactions.
Especially for people who are unfamiliar with technology, learning how to navigate an online social life is extremely draining.
Of course, how severe the effects of quarantine are, depends on one’s situation, personality, and history. Arguably, an extrovert may feel more suffocated from this social loss than an introvert who can thrive while curled up on the sofa with a book.
Nonetheless, we are all human, and we are all social animals.
As lockdowns ease up, let’s continue to do ourselves favors, be mindful, and not Google “Why am I going crazy during quarantine?” anymore.
5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions in 2022
With 2021 finally over, and many making plans for a better year, these are some easy ways to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions.
The year 2021 is finally over, and we have a new year to look forward to!
If you’re anything like the majority of the world’s population, you’ve made New Year’s resolutions in the past—and broken them within a month.
But you keep making them, because you enjoy the optimism: beginning a new year on the right foot, promising to be a better, more fit and a more skilled version of yourself.
Here are ways you can stick to your New Year’s Resolutions in 2022
Tell people about your resolution
Usually, we’re told that peer pressure is a bad thing. But in the case of a New Years’ Resolution, it might be just what you need. Positive reinforcement (encouragement and support) from your friends and family can push you to learn the guitar, lose the beer belly, or whatever it is you want to do in this new year.
Disappointment (or the fear of it) can also push you to work harder toward your goal. If the cost of failing on your resolution is a whole bunch of awkward and sad conversations, maybe that’ll keep you on the straight and narrow.
Break it down into manageable chunks
This is something essentially everybody tells you about anything, but it’s true. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—and continues, step by step.
A New Years’ Resolution isn’t accomplished all at once, but rather gradually. Don’t push yourself too hard, and don’t get down on yourself if your goal is still a long way off.
Set realistic markers along the way, and at each one check in with yourself. That way, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment as you go, and you’ll see your progress stack up.
Care for yourself
Treat your New Year’s Resolution as what it is: a gift. When you accomplish it, not only will you get the benefit of whatever your goal is, but you’ll feel more confidence and pride in yourself.
This feeling of accomplishment is full of benefits: it makes you better poised to chase down the next opportunity, better prepared to be a positive influence in the lives of others, and can even make you live longer.
In making a New Years’ Resolution, and caring about yourself, you’re giving the best present you can give yourself, so don’t think of it as correcting something that’s wrong about you, but giving yourself another thing that’s right about you.
Forgive yourself, don’t define yourself
When a friend who’s made a mistake comes to you for help, do you immediately tell them that they’re worthless, that everybody knows it, and that they should just give up already?
No, but this treatment is something of the norm when it comes to yourself. Unfortunately, many of us treat ourselves this way; we are quick to criticize and slow to forgive.
Strangely enough, this negative self-talk often gives us permission to betray our resolutions.
If you resolve, in 2022, to cut down on carbs and one night you give in to the urge to order a bunch of pasta on Postmates, don’t beat yourself up for it the next morning.
Accept the mistake and continue working toward your goal the next day. Don’t decide you’re undisciplined, gluttonous, and have failed.
Everyone messes up a few times and forgiveness is the best way to move forward.
Use your resolution as a chance to explore new horizons
We all have ideas about who we’d like to be, and we all face the realities of who we are.
While a person who wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and works out in order to get a clean, fresh start to the day is certainly admirable, that person might not be you. In making resolutions, pick goals that flow organically from who you are.
If you don’t know who you are (because who really does?) then go into a resolution with flexibility.
If, for example, your resolution is to get fit, don’t force yourself into a box with it. Instead, try different exercises, intensities, and intervals.
Don’t stick yourself in the gym for a 45-minute routine with weights when what you’d really enjoy doing is going to a yoga class or going for a run.
Realize that everybody is different, and rather than changing yourself into somebody new, your resolution can be a way of discovering who you might already be.
Think of it as an exploration. Let things develop, and commit to remaining open and focused.
The year, 2022 will likely be another challenging year. You already know why, so there’s no reason to repeat it here.
But remember that you got through 2021, and if your resolution for 2022 is to just survive it sane, healthy, and maybe a little wiser—that’s totally fine.
It’ll take some doing, but you’re definitely further along than you think you are.
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The Overwhelming Mental Health Impact of Climate Change
People across the globe are being affected by climate change. Global warming and climate change are having detrimental effects on the Earth such as increased flooding, hotter temperatures, wildfires, and droughts. Wildlife and ecosystems are being destroyed. Sea levels are rising. The list goes on and it can be overwhelming to take in the effects of climate change. This is why mental health is being greatly affected by climate change, particularly in teenagers and college students.
Anxiety related to the global climate and fear of environmental doom is often referred to as eco-anxiety or climate anxiety. This anxiety is a legitimate reaction to a serious problem. A large population of Generation Z is burdened by climate anxiety. This is because they are concerned about their futures considering the state of the Earth and the fatal implications of climate change.
A contributing factor to climate anxiety is the lack of action currently being taken by political leaders. Many leaders in positions of power are avoiding climate issues rather than solving them. This has prompted members of younger generations to step up and fight for change. Young activists like Greta Thunberg have taken the lead in protesting climate injustices. But watching older generations sit back while climate change is destroying the planet can lead to feelings of frustration and anger, which are common symptoms of climate anxiety.
Climate change can be a controversial topic and there is a fair amount of conflict surrounding it. Everyone reacts differently to the topic: many people shut down when climate change is brought up and they avoid the subject altogether. Others are fearful of the effects of climate change and want to help but feel powerless. And some people are eager to take action and do their part in combating climate change.
Many teenagers and college students have made efforts to reduce their carbon footprint by making lifestyle changes. Going vegan, carpooling, and shopping sustainably are some of the many ways to cut down on carbon emissions. But unfortunately, big corporations are some of the main contributors to climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions––a major contributor to climate change––are the highest they’ve ever been. This leaves young generations as they have difficulty believing that they can make a difference.
How Climate Change Affects Mental Health
Many people are mentally affected by climate change because they have been faced with natural disasters, such as wildfires, serious storms, or flooding. While everyone reacts and copes differently, many survivors of these environmental disasters have some sort of lasting psychological trauma. PTSD, anxiety, depression, and grief are some of the many mental health issues that people who have lived through natural disasters struggle with.
But you don’t need to be directly faced with a natural disaster to feel climate anxiety or despair over the state of the Earth. Just witnessing and learning about climate change is enough to cause mental health issues. There’s a sense of impending doom or existential dread that can wash over you when reflecting on climate change and its effects.
Why Climate Anxiety is Often Overlooked
Climate anxiety is often overlooked or brushed off. This is because it can be difficult to discuss mental health concerns because there are still stigmas surrounding mental health. Climate anxiety is also typically not taken as seriously as other anxieties or mental health issues. This is because many people do not understand the serious, detrimental impacts of climate change.
What to do About Climate Anxiety
- Talk to friends and family about climate change.
Listen to their thoughts on the matter and discuss your own thoughts. Talk about the negative impacts and grieve with them. It can be healing and helpful to share your concerns with others.
- Become a part of the solution!
It is important to stay informed on environmental topics and to use your knowledge for good. Join a climate justice organization at your school or in your community. Connecting with others who also care about climate change can ease your worries and fears about the Earth’s future. Climate organizations are making a difference in your community and educating others on climate change.
- Join protests.
If there are protests near you, make a sign and join in. Marching with other people who care about climate injustices is empowering. Protests help spark change by informing others and raising awareness.
- Do what you can to help the environment.
It is important to do what you can to reduce your own carbon footprint, but don’t become overly consumed with it. Eat a more plant-based diet, bike or carpool when you can, and use reusable bags. But try not to worry about how each of your actions will impact the environment. Those who experience climate anxiety often feel guilty about taking part in activities that affect the environment, like driving. Just do what you can and that will be enough.
How Social Unrest America Mirrors Social Unrest Abroad
With all of America’s recent and pressing events, it is easy to inadvertently ignore major happenings abroad. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest are not limited to American soil.
When the coronavirus began spreading across the globe earlier this year, world leaders reacted to the virus as they saw fit. Fast forward to today, and the virus continues to ravage many parts of the world, increasing the number of total cases to over 50 million people. With the addition of social unrest due to racial injustice, the world seems to have a daunting amount of crises.
Throughout this difficult time, countries imposed restrictions and limitations on their citizens in order to curb the contagion. In certain places, these limitations persist today. Subsequently, people are growing increasingly impatient as the pandemic remains as present and dangerous as it was in March. Indeed, many experts claim that the feared next wave of the virus is now in effect.
The prevailing threat and restrictions put in place have led citizens in some countries to protest. In Spain, for example, citizens have flooded city streets touting messages such as “Stop the dictatorship” or “Madrid says enough.” Unfortunately, certain rabble-rousers have taken it upon themselves to escalate these protests into less peaceful demonstrations of social unrest.
In Madrid, rioters turned unnecessarily violent, setting fires in the city, smashing windows of local shops, and assaulting police officers. These riots do not appear to be the result of spontaneous action but rather a coordinated effort planned through social media.
If the story of peaceful protests being undermined by violent extremists sounds familiar, you may be remembering the various riots that took place in America. The George Floyd protests, unfortunately, broke down into senseless social unrest, resulting in property damage and theft to numerous cities throughout America.
Just as the coronavirus pandemic is not isolated to this country, public assemblies due to racial injustice have also formed globally. As protests advocating for social justice started in American cities, foreign citizens heard the rallying cries. Demonstrations from South America to Europe, to Africa, have echoed the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, demanding justice and equality for all citizens, regardless of skin color. A spokesperson for the Belgian Network for Black Lives, Stephanie Collingwoode-Williams reflected, “people think about how it was relevant where we are.”
Although American protesters set positive trends to confront one crisis, its leaders have not been as successful in combatting the coronavirus. Out of the roughly 1.27 million deaths suffered worldwide, 239,000 of them were American.
This is by far the largest death toll of any country; in addition, America also holds the record for the most cases, by well over one million. These eye-opening statistics naturally lead to critics pointing to this nation’s shortcomings in dealing with the virus. A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, worldwide perceptions of America have been in decline. Recent violent outbursts from police officers, coupled with the mismanagement of the pandemic, have exacerbated this fall.