Finding New Ways to Cope with Anxiety During a Pandemic
By Hailey, Grace, and Alexis, undergraduate students at St. Mary's University.
Everyone has had to adjust in some way, shape, or form to this new reality; many people have picked up new hobbies, found new coping techniques, or adapted their usual coping mechanisms. Students have found new ways to keep in touch with loved ones, stay active, relax, and cope with the new stressors that this pandemic has created. Our exhibit includes examples not only of American students, but of international students as well.
Adjusting Existing Coping Mechanisms
Over the course of the years, people have accumulated hobbies and ways they like to cope with day-to-day life problems. They use things such as art, exercise and reading to cope with anxiety, stress, and other intrusive feelings society pushes on people. With the new COVID-19 pandemic, and the nature of it, many of us have been quarantined for months and new rules, such as social distancing, have been implemented. This may have affected some of your already existing coping mechanisms, causing you to make adjustments.
The New Hobbies We Have Acquired
While this pandemic has been extremely difficult and stressful for many, it has also provided the opportunity for some to pick up some new hobbies that they otherwise wouldn't have before. These new hobbies are outlets for people to help address their stress and have become a new coping mechanism. For example, my friend, Linda, from Finland, learned how to orienteer during their lockdown, which provided an active and mental outlet. My sister started learning how to do origami as a way to pass time. Many have found new hobbies; hopefully, some of the ones below can inspire others to try new things and find new escapes.
Helping with Anxiety
While some people found distractions and relaxation in new hobbies, others still found the anxiety of the semester overwhelming. St. Mary's University has tried their best to help students cope with the new norm. For example, St. Mary's started having Mental Health workshops that provided students with access and help finding out new ways to control their anxiety. Another way to show how St. Mary's has helped is showing all the things we did together during this pandemic which was have dance parties over zoom, poetry readings, workshops, etc. The healing power of Music and Meditation both have a way that helps us escape from our thoughts and mind and puts us at ease even if it's just for a little bit. All these activities are to show that we are all in this together and we are not alone and we are here for one another. The feeling of not being alone also is a coping mechanism that helps dealing with Anxiety.
While this pandemic has been a trying time for all, it has also resulted in people finding new things that they love to do, adapting their existing coping mechanisms, and even finding completely new ways to relieve anxiety. Hopefully, this exhibit will be a help and an inspiration to others in dealing with the new pressures and anxieties that Covid-19 has created.