Pandemic: Student’s Mental Health, Struggles and Tips

Our mind is very powerful. When we think of something whether good or bad; whatever it is, we would be immediately influenced as if our thought has its own life. We act and materialize them. They said we all have two wolves living inside us-the good one and the bad. And our perception of reality depends on what we are feeding more. When we are jealous, depressed, stress, frustrated, and struggle with anxiety, we are feeding the bad one. But when we are loved, happy, thankful and hopeful, and think of something positive, we are actually feeding the good one. It all depends on us-our perception of reality. Our ultimate defense in times like this is through positive thinking and managing our mental health.

There had been a growing suicide cases from students who struggles to cope up and adopt this “sudden and major shift” in academic learning. Common reasons include: financial problems, lack of gadgets for online class, poor and unstable internet connection, and pressure to participate in online class.

Recently, a 21-year-old female student from Sta. Elena, Iriga, Camarines Sur committed suicide because of financial struggles and pressure to participate in online class. According to the investigation, the victim’s parents have no knowledge about any personal problems aside from her woes to participate in an online class because of unstable network connection in their area and the lack of technology resources. This is the third case of an education related suicide case. The first one was on June 16, from Sto. Domingo and the other was on August 15 coming from the same place. This 19-year-old male high school student hanged himself to death on June 16, after worrying his family would not be able to afford electronic equipment required for him to study online in the coming academic year. This unnamed student told his parents how sorry he was for causing “additional expense” to their already struggling family in Albay province, south of Manila.

“Depression and emotional breakdowns among learners and parents are likely to occur in the middle of this ongoing health crisis–because many students in government schools belong to poor families,” Gilbert T. Sadsad, Director of the Local Education Department office told the reporters. Moreover, despite all the complaints and frustrations from the students and educational institutions, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones urged the students to be resilient to avoid education-related deaths.

In a similar vein, studies indicate that COVID-19 pandemic is associated with distress, anxiety, fear of contagion, depression and insomia in the general population and among healthcare professionals. Ahmed et al., did an online survey of 1,074 Chinese people and found elevated rates of anxiety, depression, harmful alcohol use and decrease in mental well-being. Rates of anxiety and depression were higher among young people aged 21-40 years in comparison to other age groups.

All of these are rooted to our most commonly overlooked aspect of our health whereby consulting to a psychologist and other mental health experts is unlikely and costly. Those suicide cases reported on news was not about the problem itself but how we handle them is the main issue of whether it is healthy or not; acceptable or not.

Here are 10 tips to help you manage your mental health this pandemic especially for students who are struggling to adapt with their current situation.

1. Be open to others

Your family, relatives, friends or your special someone are always there for you. They all love you more than you know. When you have problems and you felt like you’re already giving up. Talk to them. Don’t be afraid to share your burden.

2. Surround yourself with people who are good for your growth

They said, “birds with the same feathers flocked together.” So be careful who you are choosing to be friends with. Choose optimistic people who can lift you up whenever you are down. Choose people with the same interests as yours. Achieve things together.

3. Do healthy activities and minimize using your phone

In your free time, try to do healthy activities like painting, writing poems, playing with musical instruments, reading books etc. It will lead you to discover more of yourself. To cultivate and develop talents. You don’t have to update all your life events on social media and listen and be influenced with people’s superficiality and opinions.

4. Spend more time of yourself

Talk to yourself about those important things that happened in your life. Recognize your mistakes. Assess yourself through SWOT analysis or knowing your strength, weaknesses,opportunities and threats in a given situation. To be more productive, we must know ourselves first and what we can do.

5. If possible, do some meditation

Meditation has proven to have many health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, relieved from confusion, manage depression and anxiety. It will help you to see the problem and how to solve it. When a person meditate, their mind will have a reboot button pressed that would help them to see clearer and solve problem efficiently.

6. Choose positive music

Positive music will let you feel powerful whatever genre it might be. When you listen to music talking about overcoming struggles and the inspirational stories behind the lyrics-you will be empowered. Studies show, that people are influenced by the music they are listening and we can tell a person by the choice of his/her music.

7. Exercise

Not only to our physical body, but when we exercise it create a positive vibes. Your body releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins before and after you work out, which is why exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression

8. Help someone

Helping someone of their problem and their struggles and seeing them after you have helped them is one of the priceless expressions you can ever see. You will feel lighter.

9. Have or know your purpose

No matter how bad the situation is, as long as you know where you are heading and what you are in for-nothing can ever stop you. Fall 10 times but get up 20 times.

10. Take a break

If it seems like you are drowning with your problems. Take a break. Take a walk on the beach. Take a good sleep. Treat yourself with your favorite dish. Buy yourself something. And after that, stand up and fight again.

Here is a wisdom for you: never ever let yourself get defeated without even trying to fight.

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