Covid Fatigue and Mental Wellness
by Yufei "Lillian" Xie
W&S Intern from The Madeira School
COVID-19 hit 2020 hard. Although it is already 2021, the long-lasting impact of the pandemic still troubles people in all ways.
I quickly decided to return to China after four days of starting my spring break in the US at the end of March of 2020. My parents immediately booked a flight for me to return home. While I was excited to travel back to Shenzhen, my journey was not easy at all. I spent almost 75 hours on the road, starting from Boston and transferring from San Francisco to Taiwan to Shanghai and finally to Shenzhen. When I arrived, I stepped outside, feeling the heat waves I grew up with, and started my 14 days of life in quarantine.
I spent a whole day receiving various kinds of examinations, which caused me to be dizzy, overburdened, and exhausted. Quarantine life was not easy at all for me. Loneliness is never my good friend, and I put all my hope on ordering food delivery. Whenever the employees knocked on the door and asked me to get my food, I felt butterflies in my stomach. I was anxious, bored, and depressed during the 14 days and kept thinking about the happy memories of hanging out with my friends and being hugged by someone when I needed support. I missed being in a warm community. Since I did not have much work to do, I mostly spent my time chatting with friends online. Time moved so slowly that I could not bear it. Anxiety and sadness took control of me. I believe that lots of people feel the same way. In quarantine and the overall situation, adjustment to a new way of living was extremely challenging. So how can people shift their mindset to alleviate the anxiety and change these uneasy sentiments?
One of the most important strategies for overcoming mental health issues is reaching out to others actively. Being alone and not having others' company raises anxiety levels and may cause some detrimental effects on our bodies. To avoid loneliness, face-timing friends and families online is a good choice. Casually chatting with friends can make you happier and, at the same time, ease the anxiety. Sharing some problems with family can be a good outlet for all the emotions and uneasiness. Since everybody is undergoing these harsh circumstances, people can understand each other.
I also suggest people try mindfulness practices and meditation to alleviate their level of anxiety. Being focused on the present and leaving all those chaotic voices alone for a little while can help when we are overwhelmed by pressure. Mindfulness is a practice and a way of living, which might help us lead a more peaceful life, countering Covid fatigue.
There are some simple and fun exercises that people can practice at home:
Fortunately, in 2021, a vaccination has been researched and developed and is starting to be available to the public. Individuals can get the vaccination depending on their job or condition. Despite the supply of COVID-19 vaccine coming out at a slow but consistent pace, it is believed that the vaccine will be available to more of the public in the near future. Hopes and opportunities are around the corner.
I hope that everyone can have faith in the future and believe that everything will be all right. To try some of the exercises mentioned above might help to relax and relieve the stress of our current situation. However, if you feel strong emotions or something comes up during the exercises, seeking help from a professional therapist or doctor is always a great idea. As the saying goes, the best is yet to come.
by Emma Stone - Madeira intern
Connections are everything. They create something real, whatever that may be: happiness, growth, success, fulfillment. In a world full of people and things, what can be more beautiful than that!
When talking with Water & Stone therapist Xenia Rybak, we both agreed on this and found it to be true. Connections are fundamental things that run through everything. Specific to what we were talking about, her profession, everyone is more connected than we think. Seeing many people in a journey towards healing, Xenia’s profession has taught her this. She says that if we all knew that, if we all were aware of the connections we maybe cannot see, then it would be easier. Yes, there would still be issues. Sadness, anxiety, confusion, but the difference would be knowing that, however cliché it may seem, you are not alone.
I believe that it is valuable to always be looking for and creating connections, including the ones that we cannot clearly see. In my room, I have a box of letters that I keep under my bed. I have a small black Nikon camera on my bookshelf with videos and pictures of people I have known and places I have been. When I look at these things, I feel completely full. This feeling is euphoric, it is the feeling of being connected. I believe that everyone should search for any opportunity to make a meaningful connection. Waving to someone on the street, reaching out to someone just for the fun of it, exploring all of your curiosity and seizing every opportunity. Because when you feel connected, you feel completely full.
Emery started Water & Stone in 2015 to bring a more contemplative approach to health and wellness in NYC. She is inspired to combine her love of meditation, creative arts, and psychology to support others in bravely healing or daring to reach for dreams with the goal of living a fully engaged and fulfilling life. Since starting her company, she has gathered a diverse group of women with similar dreams to support people locally, nationally and internationally.