The Negative effects of staying home on the mind

The+Negative+effects+of+staying+home+on+the+mind

Hannah Luck, Archives Editor

With the death rate climbing and COVID cases at an all-time high, students and parents continue to stay home, turning towards alternative methods of social interaction through social distancing and online communication. Although these methods provide safety and security, after extensive amounts of time away from the outdoors, the mind begins to take a toll, with social isolation depriving young adolescents of normal, daily interaction. 

One negative aspect of staying home comes with an increased risk of developing mental disease due to isolated surroundings. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, social isolation causes a 50 percent increased risk of developing dementia and 29 percent increased emotional distress.  On top of mental and emotional stress, those deciding to work from home claim to feel an increased pressure in terms of their career, whereas those in the workplace, reported less distress and higher life satisfaction. 

Additionally, staying home causes a decrease in mental awareness and social skills causing mood swings and fluctuations in attitude. After months of staying inside, adapting to our surroundings becomes inevitable and the concept of hanging out with friends and family goes to waste. In a recent study by Psychology Today,Research on orphans showed how a lack of connection can severely disrupt our psychological and emotional well-being. And if you isolated yourself over the past weeks, you might already notice the effects on your own mood and well-being.”

On top of mood fluctuations, staying at home causes increased anxiety and in severe cases clinical depression. When one stays in the same surroundings for weeks at a time, only leaving to buy food, not only do social skills decline, but the pressure of people and social distancing leads to increased anxiety. Doctors at UCLA School of Medicine claim isolation may cause feelings of loneliness, fear or anxiety and the root of those issues stem from our thoughts about isolation, thoughts implicit and fast.

“Personally, staying home makes me feel extremely empty and lonely. It’s really hard to find any motivation for anything, especially for school. On top of that, staying home makes me feel very insecure about myself,” sophomore Victoria Sorrell said.

Those in favor of staying indoors may claim that increasing time spent outside, exercising, and limiting screen time may contribute to decreasing or even eliminating one’s anxiety. Although valid in terms of temporarily getting rid of anxiety and stress, normal physical human interaction still remains the best method of reducing stress, allowing one to vent their issues and surround themselves with positivity.

“Anxiety and depression can be caused very easily by not having day to day interactions, I have personally been affected by anxiety. Not being around people makes me very anxious when I do go to interact with people, because of being distanced for so long,” Sorrell said.

As 2020 comes to an end, the pressures associated with social isolation, distancing and the increased risk of mental illness and anxiety become the norm, with the virus only getting worse. The question now: how do we remain social without jeopardizing our health? Continues to enter our minds, as students participate in remote learning and parents work from home or collect unemployment benefits. Until cases come to an end, the only solution to our ever-changing problem will depend on the will of the people, communicating our feelings during trying times and making a safe vaccine, saving the human race.

“Realizing the risks of COVID-19 and the fact that we’re all going through the symptoms of social distancing can help us all get through these difficult times and through the emotions we’re feeling,” Sorrell said.