Op-ed: How to cope with mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dunia Cantu, Reporter

Being stuck in quarantine isn’t as ideal as it seems, especially if you suffer from mental illness.

I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, and I haven’t had an attack in so long, but being in quarantine caused a trigger. 

Work and school kept me busy. Now that I don’t have either of those, what do I do now?

At first, it was hard to control myself, but I found ways to cope.

When I start to feel anxious, I do chores around the house, including laundry, cleaning my room and even moving furniture around. It keeps me and my mind occupied for hours, so I feel like I am being productive throughout the day, instead of sleeping in and doing nothing. 

Another potential activity is learning to play a new instrument or learning how to draw. Since I am not a good artist, I opted out of that, but I have picked up on learning the piano. I have learned almost half of Billie Eilish’s song “I Love You,” and have also tried to learn a Harry Styles song, but I am going to take it one song at a time.

On March 20, Nintendo released “Animal World Crossing: New Horizons.” I didn’t get my hands on the game right away, but once I did, I realized that it takes your mind off of everything. It keeps you busy for hours because there is so much to do in the game, making it impossible to get bored. 

Apart from the previously mentioned activities, the main thing I think is the best to cope with mental illness through all of this chaos is staying away from media outlets. Let’s be honest, the news on TV and social media can be disheartening. I have noticed that seeing all the horrible things online can trigger my anxiety and panic attacks.

The CNBC Make It website provided a list of tips to help cope with mental illness. A few of them include creating a routine, taking care of your body, limiting your media intake, and fighting boredom. 

Throughout this whole thing, I just try to keep a positive outlook and take things day by day.