This week, John Carroll returned to in-person classes after almost a year of remote learning. At first, I was elated to come back to campus because I could spend time with friends and finally see campus (somewhat) filled with students.
However, after the initial excitement wore off, I found myself feeling exhausted during my extracurriculars and classroom activities. The familiar place I wanted to return to so badly turned into something foreign. But why?
Why was I feeling so exhausted at the end of the day? Last year, I could do all this and more. Now, I can hardly get through a day.
According to Black Dog Institute, a medical research institute based in Australia, common consequences of disease outbreaks include anxiety, panic, depression, anger, confusion,uncertainty and financial stress. Additionally, there are reported estimates of between 25% and 33% of the general public experiencing high levels of anxiety during similar pandemics.
I’m sure I am not the only one experiencing a new set of uncomfortable feelings during such a traumatic time. This pandemic has completely changed the world whether we like it or not. As a result, we must adapt.
First, it is incredibly important to take a step back and understand that you are dealing with an immense amount of stress, which is completely normal considering the state of the world right now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests some healthy coping mechanisms to these feelings of stress, such as taking breaks from watching the news, connecting with others and taking care of your body.
After an extended amount of time in quarantine, we adapted to our new normal inside. I even had my first internship experience online. I persisted and adapted to my new experience.
As things start to reopen, I will adapt to the new normal, slowly but surely. I may feel exhausted now, but I must remember that I also felt exhausted when we first went into lockdown. I remember sleeping until 2 p.m. because I felt I had nothing better to do. Then, I would do my homework, go to sleep and do the whole thing over again.
While I continue to adjust to the world around me, I must be kind to myself and so should you. We, as a community, experienced the devastating trauma that was 2020. As we finally creep out of our houses and into the real world once again, please understand that it won’t feel completely normal. Things have changed and so have you!
Allow yourself to unwind earlier in the day when needed, have some ice cream as a snack or even take a walk around campus to calm yourself down. It is an unsettling experience to see how the campus was altered by the pandemic, and everyone is just as unfamiliar with this process as you are.
So, be kind to yourself this semester, JCU. Remember, we are all in this together.