A letter about COVID-19 & Mental Health in School
Written by: Mariano Pucciarelli Vega
From: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Edited by: Luana Mayer
From student to student, I understand how you feel. School isn’t always easy. School can be challenging; it can be hard, and it can be tiring.
First of all, what’s mental health?
Many people believe that mental health is all about depression, anxiety, etc. And it may have something to do with it, but mental health isn’t all about that. Some professionals may refer to it as the maintenance of successful mental activity. But in other words, you could say that it is your mental well-being, being at ease with your mind, knowing how to cope with stress and emotions.
Your brain is like the sky, full of clouds. These clouds can be considered to be your thoughts. Sometimes it’s raining a lot, and the sky turns grey, and sometimes the sky is clear, and the sun shines bright for everyone to see. What I mean by this is that some days will be great, and some others won’t and that’s also completely normal. Adding to that, you don’t need to pay attention to every single rainy cloud or negative thought that comes into your mind. Focus on the good things, and remember that after the storm, there’s always a rainbow.
Taking care of your mental health is something absolutely normal, and unfortunately, not everyone does it. So if you already do, that’s great, and if you don’t, there’s always time to start!
Our schools have changed, the world has changed, we’ve changed. Two years ago, we could see each other without masks on, we could hug our friends, and we didn’t have online school. I know it’s a rough time for everyone. We all want the pandemic to end.
Several people have realized that there’s been an uprise in negativity and anxiety amongst students, so I’ve decided to try and help. In this small letter, article, or whatever you want to call it, I’ll try to give you some tips to take care of your mental health, also how to survive these rough times which COVID-19 has brought to us.
First of all, feeling sad or down is normal; it’s simply human. Don’t worry; it is ok not to be ok. It’s actually important to feel your emotions; you shouldn’t suppress them as they are extremely important, like you. Remember that you matter, and you’re loved. With that being said, we can proceed and talk about some strategies to help you take care of yourself and your mental health.
Tip no.1: Put yourself first. Your well-being comes first and is more important than any assignment. (Please do your assignments but take care of yourselves too :) ).
Tip no. 2: Don’t overwork yourself. Overworking will cause you to be tired.
Tip no. 3: Sleep well. Having a good night's sleep (or a simple nap) is extremely important. You should be able to rest well. A happy body makes a happy mind, and who doesn’t like to sleep?
Tip no. 4: Eat well, nurture yourself. Enjoy your time eating and don’t rush. Eating with ease will help your metabolism; I mean, everyone’s usually happy after a good meal.
Tip no. 5: Do things you enjoy, take time for yourself. Do the things you love, either being with your pet, or watching movies, or playing video games, or drawing can help.
Tip no. 6: Spend time with your family. Your family is one of the most relevant parts of your life; they’ll always be there for you. No matter what, you should always be able to rely on them. Have a chat with someone, your mum, dad, guardian, sibling, grandparents, even your pet!
Tip no. 7: Grades do not, I repeat, do not determine who you are. A number on a paper is literally a number on a paper. It is important to get good grades, but remember that there are numerous types of intelligence, so don’t start thinking you are feeble-minded because you got a bad score on a test or an assignment. Work hard for your goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself, and remember that you can always do better the next time.
Tip no. 8: If possible, get some exercise. It’s been scientifically proven that exercise improves self-esteem and cognitive function. It can also reduce stress and anxiety. Also, it’s always fun to go out for a walk.
Tip no. 9: Take time to laugh with your friends and enjoy. School won’t last forever - remember that. So, let’s make the most of it!
Tip no. 10: This may sound silly, but smile. Just smile. Smiling will usually make you happier. If you don’t believe me, know that when you smile, the body releases endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine which improve your mood and help to release any sort of negative emotions.
These are just a few tips that can make your day better. Always be positive: it helps improve your mental health. If you know someone who has been struggling with their mental health, show them these tips, and of course, be there for them. Having someone to listen to you is amazing and will probably make you feel a lot better.
That’s pretty much it. I believe that mental health should be addressed more in schools. It is a topic of extreme importance. Discussing mental health can benefit every single member of its respective community.
If you kept reading until here, thank you for reading this. I hope it helps you or anyone that needs to read this.