Welp. This week has felt like an eternity. You know what I mean?
Perhaps I will share the progression of the pandemic in NYC in a consequential post. But that’s not where I’m going this morning. I have to think about something else right now.
As many of you know from the few blogs I posted between summer break and Christmas break, I logged out of all my social media to concentrate on summer midterms. I logged back in after two months only to log out again after two weeks for the entire fall semester.
When I tell you I have never felt so great mentally, I truly mean it.
This semester I tried to log off again. I wanted to focus on school and building more in-person relationships. It went pretty well for a while. But in February, I logged back on and downloaded everything for the purpose of fundraising for my trip.
Man. This week is proof of how much I regret that decision and how much I hate social media.
Last summer I logged off partly to focus on midterms. But also it was to not feel a sense of fomo while all my friends were posting their European vacations to their stories while I was stuck working in a depressing retail job feeling overwhelmed by summer classes.
In the fall when I joined one of my professor’s social media fasts, I had to actually become real-life friends with the people I followed online. Some of them became my closest friends over the semester. Had I been on social media, I would not have been as proactive in pursuing their friendship.
When I logged back on during Christmas break, I once again felt depressed and experienced fomo because so many of my friends were out traveling while I was once again working a crappy retail job over the holidays.
I didn’t want to have social media again this semester but felt kind of obligated to in order to raise support for my Paris trip.
So as you are well aware, Coronavirus is quickly spreading in the US. Fear of the virus has closed schools and businesses while putting our whole country in a “state of emergency.” The updates are nonstop.
Thursday – when life hit so freaking fast I don’t even know really what the heck happened – I spent 2.5 hours on twitter just on my phone (according to the screen time app). It was probably more because I had a tab opened on my laptop as well. It was a constant barrage of unfunny memes about the coronavirus, updates/breaking news about the coronavirus, utter despair because of the coronavirus, tips to stop the spread of coronavirus, and general hysteria due to coronavirus. Needless to say, it was all too much.
I felt sick with anxiety all day because I didn’t really know what was going on despite being surrounded by constant stimuli. The worst part about all of this is not having any control. We as individuals can’t control the spread, and our government can’t control the spread. It’s scary to be a 21st-century human and lack control over something.
On Friday, the day President Trump announced a state of emergency for the country, I chose not to log in to social media. I was not uninformed. I did occasionally look at my news app just to see if anything drastic was happening (and it was with President Trump’s announcement).
But instead of being consumed by hysteria online, I went outside for a run, I sat through my classes while the sun came beaming through my window, I hung out with my brother and roommates outside, and I went and helped out at one of my school’s service partner.
And ya know, even though crazy things still happened on Friday, I did not go to bed so anxious or sick feeling. New Yorkers are still going about their lives. There were still people out running at 11:30 am and there were still drunk college students on the train at 11:30 pm. Life continues.
So I guess the moral of the story is, if you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the lack of control we as humans have over this scary situation, may I suggest taking a step back from social media? Don’t feel like you have to be uninformed. Check headlines for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening during dinner (not before you go to bed). But it’s not mentally healthy to obsess over this or surround your self with other people’s hysteria.
Go outside. Read a book. Write some letters. For more advice on how to stay mentally healthy during this time of social distancing, check out this other blog from one of my favorite bloggers! Try avoiding social media for at least 24 hours and just see how you feel mentally. Things may not seem so hopeless and scary after all.
***I called my aunt on Thursday when everything was really dark and scary, and she prayed Psalm 91 over me. May you read it and find encouragement and peace from it as I have.***