Teens need more leeway during quarantine to maintain mental Health

Photos by Lauren Eshelby

When my sister and I need a breath of fresh air and want to escape from the house, we drive up to Dodge State Park on Cass Lake. We watch the sunset or have little picnics next to the water by ourselves to recenter ourselves. It helps raise our mood and keep us more positive during this crazy time.

With Corona virus taking over the nation and individuals’ lives, I feel there’s a topic that’s being addressed and acknowledged but not heavily discussed. And that topic is the quarantine’s effect on teenagers when it comes to dealing with their mental health and staying positive throughout it. When watching the news with my parents each evening, I hear them discuss simple remedies to “kicking the quarantine blues” or staying positive amidst the pandemic. As I watch ABC World News or 7 Action News, I think some of the suggestions are reasonable: suggestions such as going on walks and getting fresh air, or calling friends. Most of the suggestions, though, are ridiculous. Some media outlets proclaim that the best way to stay positive is to embrace quarantine and make the best out of it by being productive, or to just have faith, and, for most people I know, that’s easier said than done.

In my case some days are easier than others. Some days going on walks does help; I’ll walk my dog with my sister multiple times just to escape and clear my head. Some days calling my friends does help, they’ll help distract me and make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. Some days my sister and I will drive to the lake and sit by the water, just to clear our heads and get some fresh air.

Since the start of quarantine, my sleep schedule has been something that’s constantly been switching up. Some days I’m productive and have the urge to go to bed early and wake up early; meanwhile, other days I go to bed when the sun rises, as is the case in this photo.

Some days I’m able to wake up at 7:30 in the morning and have the productive day I swore I’d make a daily routine throughout quarantine. But some days the last thing I could do is drag my butt out of my house for a walk, let alone out of my room. I’ll spend all day binging shows on Netflix in my bed, sometimes watching the same series I’ve watched a thousand times before. Some days the last thing I can do is talk to my friends, it’ll just remind me of the fact that I’m stuck and cannot physically see them. Some days I go to bed when the sun rises and sleep in till the afternoon. I feel the news portrays staying positive during quarantine to be easy, encouraging viewers to stay productive and have faith and you’ll be set.

But it’s really not as easy as it seems.

I feel right now we should be allowed to have off days. We shouldn’t be held up to a standard of having to use this time to become the most productive and best version of ourselves as I see so many outlets suggesting. Quarantine is affecting every teenager's lives and mental health in different ways, and while for some quarantine may have a positive affect, others not so much. So as we work through all this craziness, I feel we should be allowed to have some time off and be given a little bit of grace.

Unfortunately, most of my quarantine days look like this. I spend all day in bed switching between homework and watching The Office for what has to be the hundredth time. In a time so crazy and uncertain, it’s difficult to stay positive and have productive everyday. It’s alright to give yourself some grace and let yourself relax.

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