It is a confusing and concerning time for all of us. The novel coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, has altered everyday life for everyone. Most of us, if not all, are currently learning distantly, physically away from classmates, friends, and teachers. Many events have been cancelled, the parks in all areas are closed, and many probably haven’t haven’t left their homes much. Even worse, many people are ill. We are currently experiencing a pandemic, meaning the sicknesses related to the coronavirus are widespread, reaching almost all continents with the exception of Antarctica.
Understandably, there may be questions and concerns. It is perfectly okay to be worried about yourself, friends, and family. It is okay to be concerned with the state of the world. These emotions are valid and encouraged to be expressed.
Southwest LatinX values the safety and well-being of our community’s youth. While we don’t have answers and solutions to what we are experiencing, we can provide a few tips to help make the experience a bit easier:
Ask questions: Because the COVID-19 is a new coronavirus, everyone has many questions regarding how it functions and how it affects people. By nature, human beings are inquisitive, meaning they want to obtain information and answers to their questions. Remember, the best way to handle any situation is to be as educated and well-informed as possible. Ask those around you what they know about coronavirus. With a parents/guardians consent and guidance, it’s important to seek professional and credible answers when using the internet. The three reliable sources to gain updates national, globally and locally are Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization (WHO) and ElPasoStrong These reliable sources are continuously monitoring the pandemic and uploading new information as it becomes available.
Be honest and vocal: It is incredibly important to pay attention to the feeling being experienced and express them by letting others know. Sharing is a healthy way of coping with a lot of emotions. To some it may come easy to talk about feelings and to others it may not. Some people can be shy or embarrassed to do so, but that is okay. If you don’t know how to start talking about your feelings and emotions, try asking people questions. You can ask questions such as “are you worried about getting sick?” or “how does it make you feel not seeing your family and friends?” Remember that honest conversations help us feel better and less alone. EVERYONE'S feelings are valid. You might be having the same worries and concerns as someone else, so it’s good to express them. Think about a time when you didn’t understand what was being taught at school and someone else asked the questions you were thinking to yourself. It probably helped you understand the lesson better. It’s very similar to what is happening now. Others might have similar emotions and concerns. Let’s talk about them!
Limit your interaction with social media and news: Although staying informed on the situation is important, it can also be overwhelming. New information and details surface everyday about the coronavirus, but try and limit to 2-3 hours of social media and news coverage to not overwhelm yourself. Yes, it is a scary time, but we must continue to pay attention to other things as well and not just to the news. Pets still need to be fed and cared for. Chores and school work still need to be done. Ask a parent to help you follow this limitation by restricting your use of television and devices.
Use your time creatively: By limiting interaction with screens and devices, you now have ample time to be creative! Have you ever made a bird feeder? Homemade slime? Now is the time to try it out! What about making a greeting card for grandma who isn’t quarantined with you? Make one, mail it to her, and make her day! Maybe learn to sow or to build robots! There are tons of things to do to pass the time creatively. For ideas, visit Parents.com. They have online sections for various crafty activities. Ask a parent, older sibling, or relative to join in on the fun! Doing arts and crafts helps lower cortisol, which is what stresses most of us out. That’s great news! Try and plan a different craft for every day of the week!
Literature is your friend: It might seem like the last thing anyone would want to do, but reading is a great way of passing the time and continuing to learn. Books are a great way of learning new things and staying mentally active. World Book Online has over 3,000 eBooks which you can access right now for free! Reading can help one escape the harsh realities of our current situation and travel to alternative universes, live different realities, and meet new people. This can help release some tension and relax the mind too. Remember, reading also helps improve writing and communication skills. Therefore, while reading, improvements in other areas of the brain are being made! How cool is that?
Stay active: There is scientific evidence that once exercising, one starts to feel better and think more positively! Exercising also helps to reduce stress and ward off anxiety and depression. Perhaps exercising seems boring. Why not try having a dance party? Dancing releases endorphins, which help you feel happy and energetic. It also helps the brain stay in top shape. If a house member has Spotify, they have curated playlists just for kids! So does YouTube.
Southwest LatinX hopes all you LatinXplorers are taking care of yourselves and each other. Remember to consult your parents or guardians before acting upon any of these recommendations. We are looking forward to seeing all of you soon! We can’t wait to continue our journey together.
Stay safe, LatinXplorers!