Coronavirus: Changing our perspectives and coping with a new normal

    A few weeks ago, talk of a potential “global health crisis” was just that: talk. Many of us quickly dismissed all discussions of the worst possible situations, as this mystifying virus did not affect us personally as young people.

    Much has changed since then. Streets are empty, restaurants have started to close down and local businesses are relying on their loyal patrons more than ever as the coronavirus has become a pandemic worldwide.

    It has started to affect us not only on a global scale but has infiltrated our communities, schools, places of worship, and potentially even personally.

    It all seems strange and eerie. Some say it is the apocalypse and that the world is ending. Some say this is the final straw, but I think that changing our outlook and perspective is the only way to cope with this situation.

    For me personally…

    A few days ago, I was sitting on Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. I was a carefree study abroad student mostly concerned with hanging out with friends and exploring as many sights as I possibly could.

    Soon enough it became very clear that this pandemic was affecting people not just in countries very far from me, yet it caused several of my friends along with countless others to flee Europe in an effort to remain healthy and safe.

    In my eyes, there are a few ways to cope with this situation. I, along with many of my peers and friends, could hate the world and be miserable about our study abroad programs ending.

    I do not believe that this is the route that should be taken. Instead, I think we need to begin by understanding that this is not about us.

    Let’s remember to be grateful

    We need to appreciate the little things, far more than we ever have before. While it is important for us to acknowledge that yes, this situation is completely unfortunate for so many people. It is also crucial to understand that we all need to do our part to help keep our parents, grandparents, and even our elderly neighbors that live down the street from us safe.

    There are many suggestions I could give you for staying at home and being quarantined in one place for an indefinite period of time, yet please know that I am by no means a health professional or guaranteeing that any of them will be of value to you.

    Mental health is an extraordinarily pertinent priority for everyone, despite their age, given the current global climate in terms of social media and self-isolation.

    Adjusting to a new normal

    I believe that while working from home, or in my case, schooling from home, it is in our best interest to create schedules for ourselves in order to lead a semi-normal daily life.

    Take lots of breaks. Working from home is not easy; many people do not have home offices and it is tough to find a conducive workspace in the home. Be mindful of that and do not be too tough on yourself.

    In terms of schooling, I suggest the same. Many of us rely on libraries, hip cafes on campus and the safe havens of study rooms to complete our schoolwork— this is not an option. Again, take lots of pauses and stay on top of deadlines to the best of your ability.

    Self-care is not something that should be left out of your routine during this time. Make sure that you are staying hygienic, washing your hands (I know, I know) and doing something that you love and for yourself every single day.

    Additionally, if you are still allowed to go outside safely where you live, take a walk and be active in some sort of way.

    Being active has many benefits not only for the physical body but for one’s mental and spiritual sides as well.

    I am urging you to remember that this is not about us. Yes, a couple of weeks ago we were looking at this crisis from a different lens; maybe even cracking jokes at the endless memes that the internet has provided us with. Now, it is important to stay inside, take care of ourselves and do what is best for those around us.

    Please be safe and smart️!

    Lexi Sugar is an undergraduate student studying journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a big fan of the beach and loves spending time with friends and family.