Stay Sane in this Tricky Time


Caylee Caldwell

Cars line up outside Highland so that students can pick up laptops for home learning.

Emma Johnson, Staff Writer

Everyone’s lives all around the world are so vastly different. People are of different ages, genders, nationalities; they have different hobbies and responsibilities. But during the past few months one major thing has come to unite everyone. This thing, as you may have guessed, is the novel coronavirus, or Covid-19. The virus, which began spreading in late 2019 and has increased hugely since then, has placed many nations under quarantine.  

The shutdown ranges in severity from place to place, but one thing that almost everywhere has in common is that schools are closed. This includes public and private schools as well as universities. In Utah alone, this amounts to 652,348 kids now participating in online school. Even with the heightened digital proficiency of today’s young people, the transition to completely online school is a difficult one.  

Many teenagers feel confused about communicating with their teachers, getting work done in a home full of distractions, and learning enough in the year to pass AP tests, among other things. Some of us have set up a solid routine, waking up early and getting schoolwork done. Others are struggling to stay motivated in these trying times. 

It certainly is important to try and create a daily routine that retains some semblance of normalcy in our lives, but it also is impossible to pretend that everything, especially school, can go on as usual. 

This period of home-school is by no means an early summer vacation, but it is also nowhere near to a perfect replacement of what we had before. Students can’t be expected to learn the same amount of material at home as we would at school, and we need to be able to decompress a little bit extra during these unprecedented events.  

Fortunately, most of my teachers have assigned a very manageable amount of work, but some people have more to do than they can handle. Others don’t think they have enough. 

As a result of the internet being taken over by posts about quarantine, some teenagers feel pressured to be extremely productive with all the extra time we now have. It is a valid point that we have more time than we used to, and if properly motivated we can get a lot done.  

However, many people are experiencing push-back from this and a lack of drive to complete tasks. This causes teens to stay up into the early hours of the morning, play video games all day or binge an entire series on Netflix. Clearly, this can be very unhealthy for one’s psyche and circadian rhythm.  

While we can’t pretend that everything is business as usual, we need to try and keep our mental health in a good place so that we will be okay when all of this does eventually go away. 

To help with this, we need to release some of the expectations of high productivity and simply take time to adjust to our current situation. 

According to an article by the Washington Post, productivity expert Racheal Cook said, “We are going through a collective trauma experience.” The author of that article, Sunny Fitzgerald, wrote “If you’re carrying any guilt about not producing your best work…you have permission to let that go.” 

While this applies to adults being laid off from their jobs and struggling to care for family members, it also holds true to the emotions that many high school students are feeling. We don’t need to get ahead in a textbook, or read all the classics, or teach ourselves a new language. For a while, we need to adjust to this foreign situation and figure out how our lives are going to proceed. We do not need to be hyper-productive. 

And even though this pressure to be productive needs to be lifted, people also shouldn’t just stop living until the quarantine is lifted. We still need to do schoolwork, get outside to exercise, and keep in contact with our friends and family. This lockdown is not simply a cancellation of all events, and it can’t be treated as such. 

These recent events and the shutting down of the world have caused a lot of people a lot of stress and they shouldn’t have to worry about a lot of schoolwork or other obligations. On the other hand, people must stay somewhat productive to keep their sanity. It really just depends on what each person’s situation is and how much productivity affects them in what way.  

As this crisis goes on, every person should work on finding their correct balance between rest and work as we ride out the lockdown. If this goes well, everyone will be in a good place when it comes time for life to go back to normal.