COVID-19 part one: Stay-at-home order hurts mental health

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When Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issuing a stay at home order on Mar. 28, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens have been advised to practice social distancing and self-isolation. Many people are left with unhealthy mind-sets, which leads to sadness and unhealthy sleep schedules. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), fear, anxiety, depression, boredom, anger, frustration and irritability are all common emotional responses to social distancing. With the increased strain on people’s mental health, staying emotionally healthy is just as important as staying physically healthy.
The APA also says that people between the ages of 16 and 24 are more susceptible to feel the aforementioned list of emotions, which means a lot of high school students are at high risk. This group of feelings has its root in the fact that citizens have had to relinquish control of so many things at once. It may be directed at particular people, like the man in the grocery store who loaded his cart up with toilet paper and now there is none to be found\; or it could be authorities who are imposing quarantines.
While washing ones hands and face is important to keep physically healthy, it is important to cleanse ones soul to stay emotionally healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that coping with the stress associated with COVID-19 is imperative in keeping calm and collected. There is a number of ways to stay positive in these difficult times, an important one being to not be in denial of the circumstances\; acknowledge the stress and confusion brought with this history defining moment. Another important means to stay happy is to stay connected: separated, but not alone is a saying that might come to mind: stay connected with loved ones.
Meditation and mindful breathing is an easy method to slow down ones thoughts, and analyze things in a more clear way. Being mindful of the news one consumes is also healthy, reading negative news can be unhealthy for ones mindset. Optimism is key in these difficult times.

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