Not feeling like you’re in control can be one of the hardest things to deal with in life, and it has always been especially hard for me. I always like to know and be aware of what is going on around me, and it is very hard for me to feel like I can’t control things. It used to be really difficult for me to recognize that it is okay for me to not always be on top of things, and that some things will go wrong in life that I can’t control. But in the past month-and-a-half that I’ve been stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve begun to realize that it is okay to feel that way. I’ve started to pay more attention to the things I can control instead of the things I can’t. I’ve accepted that it’s okay to not have control of a situation and to not know what will happen next, because life will always go on.
At first, it is always difficult to deal and cope with new situations because you don’t know what to expect out of them, which was definitely the case for me when I was first forced to stay home. However, I have gotten much better at dealing with life while I’m stuck at home and have made lots of improvements to my life with all the free time I have now. I’ve started eating healthier, exercising, studying, and practicing my instruments more. I’ve had a lot of time to devote to my religion, and I’ve also spent a lot of time reflecting on all my priorities in life and figuring out which are really the most important to me, because I’ve learned which things and people I miss and value the most. I think all of these things have improved my mental health and my physical health because I know I am in control of how I spend my time, and someday in the future I will look back on all this time I spent at home and be thankful that I had so much time to better myself.
Of course, every negative situation has many positives, and for me, the biggest thing this pandemic has given to me is more time with my family, and specifically, with my dad. He’s worked the night shift for my whole life, and it’s always been really hard because I’m normally at school while he’s home, and I’m at home when he’s at work, so I only really get to spend time with him on the weekends. Doing school from home has allowed me to spend more time with him and with my mom, and it has brought us much closer. A few days ago, I was able to go visit my grandparents with my mom and sister and talk to them from across the driveway, and I could see the light in both of their eyes as we talked with them. As for the rest of my relatives, my extended family met on a video call on Easter morning, so it was really nice to get to hear from all of them, and especially to see that my other grandparents are doing well. As for my friends, I can’t even begin to explain how hard it is to not be able to see them in person and talk to them at school every day, but I still call, text, and FaceTime them daily. We are also able to play games together and chat through the Xbox, and watch movies together using Netflix Party. We are so lucky to be living in a time of technology that allows us to connect and keep each other updated with our lives.
It is somewhat difficult to be connected to other members of my school and community because I’m not allowed to interact with anyone but my family in person, but there are still some ways that I’ve been able to support and be supported by other people during this time. The church I’ve attended for my whole life has been putting out worship services every Sunday, and it’s so nice to know that we are still all held together during this unfortunate time of our lives. In addition to this, my softball team has been having weekly video meetings to stay connected and learn about the mental part of sports while we’re unable to participate in the physical part together. As for other members of my school, I’ve reached out to some people that I haven’t talked to before, and we’ve made plans to hang out once we’re able to. Even though I’m not able to see my classmates and community members in person, I know that we are all still held together even when we’re apart.
I remember around two months ago in early March, I had an assignment for my chemistry class to research an article on current events in science, and I chose to focus on the coronavirus. The article was about Minnesota’s second case of COVID-19 with some information about its transmission and prevention, and I remember how little everyone knew about what would happen to the world if it continued to spread. There was constantly new information coming out, and I remember having to print out a new article at lunch the day I was supposed to present it, because the information from the previous night was already old news. Before I knew it, school had been cancelled and we were forced to stay home, and I remember being so upset that I didn’t get to say goodbye to my friends. There have been so many ups and downs over the past month or two, but the biggest thing I’ve taken away from this experience is that the smallest things in life can leave the biggest impacts. Your attitude about a situation will be the difference between happiness and sadness, and it is so important to focus on the things you have control over rather than the things you don’t.
Share your own story here. Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with other people. Be part of the Teen Health & Wellness Personal Story Project—like Molly did above—and share your story about successfully dealing with or overcoming a challenge.