COVID-19 impacts students’ mental health and wellbeing

Shelly Garzon 

News writer

sgarzon@unca.edu

As the spread of the novel Coronavirus continues to increase, UNC Asheville students struggle to maintain their normal lives. 

“I think everyone is going through a hard time. Our day to day lives changed from one day to another and we can’t do anything about it,” said sophomore Kathia Fuentes Beyhaut. “But the most affected are those with mental health problems in my opinion.” 

According to Beyhaut, she is still trying to adjust but is craving some type of normalcy. 

“Things that I used to do and made me comfortable aren’t an option anymore. My family doesn’t know I have mental health issues, so it makes it harder not to have my support system here that understands,” Beyhaut said. 

Sophmore Riley McConnel said the transition to online classes led to increasing amounts of stress and anxiety. 

“My anxiety is triggered by time and most of my professors are timing exams and quizzes, which makes it hard for me to concentrate and do well on the assignment,” she said. 

Similarily, Beyhaut said adapting to a new way of learning is difficult, especially since she’s been honing her study skills since high school. 

“Now I have to figure out a new way in a matter of days,” she said. “My professors have done their best to adjust, they’ve really been great. I just have no motivation, even with the classes that are so interesting to me,” she said. 

According to McConnel, she has struggled with anxiety for many years and this pandemic only adds to the stress. 

“The one thing that has helped with my social anxiety is the social distancing. I like to be in my room or by myself most of the time, so now that we are having to distance ourselves I don’t feel pressured to go out and socialize as much,” McConnel said. 

Student worker Baye Samodal, who struggles with depression and attention deficit disorder, said it’s been difficult to maintain a sleep and daily schedule during the quarantine. 

“I sleep in a lot more and I stay in bed a lot more, which is a really big part of my depression because that prevents me from going out and seeing people and doing productive things in my life,” she said. 

Samodal said it helps to maintain priorities while she is adapting to the sudden shift in her life. 

“Having to force myself to do homework assignments and class assignments has really helped with forcing myself to get out of bed and to actually do my work,” she said. “What hasn’t helped is the fact that being at home and having to stay in this house is really hard for me because I don’t like being in one place all the time. It gets to the point where I can only go to as many different rooms to change my environment and so overtime I just feel really unmotivated.” 

Similarily, Beyhaut said it is hard to find motivation with the sudden change in her routine. 

“I’ve definitely been thinking about getting back on my medication that I stopped taking a few months back for depression and anxiety,” she said. “Having my routine broken and not being able to go do basic day to day things like I used to is hard, especially because I’m a control freak and I can’t plan anything out and I don’t know when this is gonna end.” 

McConnel said dedicating certain times of the day to different things helps create more sense of routine in her life. 

“I allot certain times where I work on homework and certain times where I either watch Netflix or paint to decompress from the day,” she said. 

Samodal said staying active helps with feeling productive throughout the day. 

“I try to dedicate an hour to working out so I’ll do a 15-minute work out for my legs or my core and then I try to go on a 30-minute walk or run so I can get out of my house for 30 minutes,” she said. 

It is important to check in with one another, Beyhaut said. 

“Check up on your friends, just have a conversation with them. It can help and if it doesn’t help at least you’re getting some sort of human interaction,” she said.

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