Spring constitutes many things: the return of warm weather, spring cleaning, a time change, but all throughout School City of Mishawaka, students and staff are anxiously awaiting the 2021-22 spring break. Its arrival is just that- a break- apart from the ordinary routine of life. Coming off of the recent two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, first declared March 13th 2020, the vaccination progress that has been made within these past two years has made travel more ideal.
But for those who aren’t planning to travel, the thought of spending a week at home could be relaxing, or overwhelming, depending on the state of one’s home in the aftermath of the pandemic. Spending 300+ days at home allowed for time to develop new skills, find new habits- and/or to create messes with piles of amassed ‘stuff’ that may now seem debilitating to look at amidst spring cleaning.
Junior Gail Walker, said, “I’ve really struggled with maintaining laundry because of COVID. I just had to change what pajamas I was wearing (during the pandemic), so making sure that all of my clothes are washed now is hard.”
“I tend to start one thing and not finish it…” added junior Kaylee Hooper. “I’ve gotten a lot better, but I still do it. I had to do one thing to get my mind off of another. That’s why I have a lot of hobbies… (For example,) in the beginning of the pandemic, I started exercising. Now I don’t do it as regularly as I should.”
“The home is often seen as an oasis, a familiar place of refuge away from the chaotic world. However, if your home is cluttered, it can instead become a place of distress and alienation,” wrote Angela Ward, in her article, “5 Surprising Lessons Minimalism Taught Me About Life”.
According to research from student journalists at Brown University, the accumulation of ‘stuff’ and the subconscious piling of clutter can possibly be explained by the fact that,
“Depression rates tripled and symptoms intensified during the first year of COVID-19.” The rates grew from 8.5% before COVID to a troubling 32.8% during the pandemic.
Even after the recent two-year anniversary of the pandemic, the associated mental disorders of the pandemic have affected teens on a local scale. Hooper said,
“I didn’t have anxiety medicine until September of 2020. COVID made [my anxiety] worse.”
The pandemic also hindered the social development of teens,
“Personally, I’ve just felt a lot more anti-social. I don’t know if that’s (because of) quarantine, or just time and age, but still,” said junior, Dylan Piazzoni.
Cameron Caswell. PhD, is a developmental psychologist who reported to Healthline News,
“All humans crave personal interaction, touch, novelty, and excitement. So, I believe prolonged isolation will start to wear tremendously on everyone.
“However, I also believe that the long-term effects of prolonged isolation will be more substantial for teens.”
Teens like Piazzoni are understandably feeling “more anti-social” because,
“Our brains go through their two biggest growth spurts during infancy and adolescence. These are the two periods where our brains are the most malleable and primed for learning,” explained Caswell, adding that, “adolescence is one of the most formative life stages.”
But despite COVID’s effects on teens, time heals. “Ever since I got the medication, I applied for a job. I have been wanting to work; I have been wanting to make money; I know the struggle [of poverty]. I don’t want to depend on anyone else,” said Hooper. “I'm in a better mental state than I was years ago…”
Case and point, society is beginning to think of COVID in the past tense, as they return to freedom. Many people are planning different ways to indulge in the freedom of spring break. Amidst the indulgence, it’s important to remember that the end of the grading period is in sight, and with that, the end of the school year itself. Have fun; finish strong; as fashion trends change with the season, also remember to be kind to oneself.