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senior fitness with meredith

Journal entries from 4/24/2020 – 4/26/2020 By Meredith

Friday, 4/24: Friday, FriYay! Even not “working” there is still a sense of Friday in the air. The kids get a little happier, even though they still have homework all weekend long. It is different with this new schooling…it is 7 days a week. I never thought they would have work due and lectures to watch on Sunday’s, but they do. My oldest daughter, 16, Sophomore in High School wrote a great article for her school newspaper that will be put into this year’s yearbook. I thought it would be a great one to share, to give a younger person’s view on things:

“We are all in this together!”

Or so say influencers on every social media platform. But nowadays, some of us feel lonelier than ever. The news is completely taken over by stories of coronavirus and stock market data. The world appears to be collapsing in on itself.

“When all of this first began I was really concerned and honestly terrified,” said Desert Mountain student.

Another student reported being “scared of uncertainty right now.”

“I had no idea that the last day of school before spring break was going to be the last day of my sophomore year,” said the name of the student, whose name also was withheld for privacy.

Many students are experiencing anxiety during this period of turmoil and change. Even with our copious methods to communicate, many students still feel lonely.

“I really hate how I can’t pick up the phone and call anyone. I’ve just never been that close with other people,” said the sophomore.

Students all over the United States are now doing school online as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are strange times we are living in. If you are lonely, stressed, overwhelmed, whatever the case may be, please make sure you are talking to someone,” said a counselor at Desert Mountain High School.

Parents said communication often is easier said than spoken.

“People think that we act frazzled, I think, when we’re stressed. Sometimes we bury it and we look perfectly fine and we walk around like we’re fine, but you’re killing yourself, literally,” said DM parent Meredith Chen.

But counselors said that a major misconception about stress “is that it’s ‘bad’,” said DM’s prevention coach.

“Stress is our body’s way of informing us that we need to pay attention to our thoughts in order to make necessary changes to bring our body and mind back into balance and harmony,” DM’s prevention coach said.

With so many people on either social media or in life who are acting like everything is okay, students can very easily feel as if they are the only ones who are stressed. Everyone shows and deals with stress differently, but communication can help bridge the gap.

Communication counselors said, in this time it is crucial to understanding that we are not alone–and are all feeling some amount of stress during this time.

Parents said communicating with someone about feelings is not wrong and “the more we talk about it, the more we’ll realize other people feel the same thing.”

“We’re not in this alone and we can validate these feelings,” Chen said.

Managing mental health while we are quarantined is important and talking about stress is only one strategy. The Scottsdale Unified School District offers these other tips:

Limiting news intake.

Walking outside.

Connecting with friends and family using a video chat.

Taking frequent breaks away from work spaces.

Journaling and acknowledging the positives in life.

Desert Mountain’s prevention coach said positivity is especially important now.

“We have control over our stress, anxiety and feelings of loneliness,” the prevention coach said. “Our thoughts dictate how we feel and we can change the way we think about things.”

If anything, students should focus on what they can control.

“Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow from our circumstances,” said DM’s prevention coach , “which naturally reduces our stress, anxiety and feelings of loneliness.”

Added Chen: “It’s important to remember this time as a time of growing and learning that stress is okay as long as you don’t let it overcome you or overwhelm you.”

Parents said even in isolation, people aren’t alone.

“Stress stems from different places for everyone. It could be that your kids are younger, in elementary school, and you don’t know how to do their schoolwork anymore and it’s stressing you out because you don’t have all the answers,” Chen said. “It may be, like me, you don’t have money coming in, but you still have a job, you’re trying to file for unemployment and look for other positions, and you’re not getting hired at those.

“That stresses you out a little bit.”

Whether the lack of employment for adults or the lack of social time for teens, the end result is the same.

“But we’re all feeling something different now,” Chen said. “Whether we’re masking it, whether we’re actually allowing ourselves to feel it or not.”

Whether you are feeling stressed, anxious, or lonely, talking about it is important to validating your feelings and coping with them. We are all in this together, even though some of us are better at hiding our distress than others. Telling someone does not make you a burden, talking to someone does not make you weak, feeling these feelings does not make you overdramatic or “sick”. Even if you don’t feel like you have anything to be stressed about or your stressors are insignificant compared to others’, all feelings are valid, despite why you are feeling them or where they come from.

There is an end to this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We can get through it, together.

Saturday, 4/25: Weekend, doesn’t feel much different from the weekdays. Kids still have homework to do. I feel a little less “stress” of the week, but I still have 3 meals a day to prepare…even more so on the weekend, the meals get more intricate. But the kids are able to be more free, not stuck in rooms doing work all day long. It is an interesting time; to say the least!

Sunday, 4/26: Sunday, finish up cleaning and school work day:) Like a normal weekday Sunday before the quarantine began.

Up with the dogs, breakfast to cook, get the day going.

It is a very warm day here….102degrees. That puts a wrench in the day because it is very hard to get out and walk, and get any exercise and movement outside. It is something we all have come to enjoy in our days…going outside! As odd as it is. On a usual day, the kids are walking around between classes and to and from the bus stop. Now it is just to and from the kitchen to eat, or the bathroom when nature calls.