By Zoe Edelman, Head Videographer
// It is currently April 2, 2020. At this point, the shelter in place has been active for over two weeks, causing everyone to stay in their homes with limited access to the outdoors besides exercise and running to the store for necessities. This is also the sixth day of spring break for Acalanes.
This spring break does not feel like a vacation in the slightest. This feels more like a loss, a forced stay-cation that isn’t very pleasant. For a lot of students at Acalanes, this break would be their chance to visit a new city, state, country. A week to relax and enjoy the fresh air. Maybe some were looking forward to staying back, making local plans with friends.
Regardless of what someone may have lost due to this shelter in place, the next weeks will bring pain felt as a community, as a whole. However, it is easy to feel isolated, alone, when the only people immediately surrounding are family and neighbors. It’s hard. It’s very plausible that during this time, you are trying to rationalize this pain. Maybe you or someone you know has said something along the lines of “We could have it worse, you know.”
And while that is true for many affluent families in our community, it is important to understand that the knowledge of external pain doesn’t lessen internal pain. For instance, if there’s ever been a dinner that a child hated, some parents may say, “You should be grateful for the food on your plate. There are starving children in other countries that would love to eat this food.”
That child only feels more shame because of that sentiment. Just because something can be put into perspective on a large scale, doesn’t mean it lessens the pain on a small scale. I encourage every one mourning the loss of whatever it may be to allow themselves to feel that loss, to sit with their feelings. It is important to acknowledge the pain of others in this situation and their struggle, but not to use it as a way to belittle your own.
It is also important to not lose connection to friends and loved ones. It’s true that Facetime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts are not the same as actual human contact, but it is a way to hear each other’s voices and catch up in a way that’s not text on a screen. Reach out to a friend or two, schedule a time to talk. Maybe have a meal together over a call. Not only will a scheduled hang out provide an activity, but it provides a bit of structure to the day, which everyone is lacking right now.
Another social activity is third party sites such as Netflix Party or Discord, which allows a group of people to watch a show or play a game together. These sites are great because it combines social interaction with an activity people would probably do in isolation anyway.
Staying in touch is more important than ever, so find a way that works best for you. Staying connected is a good way to lessen the feelings of loneliness and depression, to remind yourself that you are not alone. It is a great comfort (in a way) that this great discomfort of lockdown isn’t felt by a single party but by everyone around the globe.
This shelter in place is going to test each and every one of us. If you are struggling with mental health concerns during this time, reach out to the ones you trust. Do little things that make you happy, start, or continue the hobbies you do at home. We must remember that this is for the good of the population, and this is not an order directed at you or meant to disrupt an individual’s lives. With that in mind, enjoy spring break to the best of your ability. Stay strong!