With the COVID-19 pandemic center stage, people are pressured to quarantine and practice social distancing in order to protect their physical health, but these practices might be having a negative impact on mental health. With more time at home comes more downtime, and students are finding new and creative ways to overcome boredom while feeding their creative instinct.
The world is facing a unique challenge right now by having to stay at home, often away from family and friends, and this may leave students feeling stressed and lonely. Loneliness, however, is not synonymous with isolation. With social media, students are able to create, share and chat with people without the worries of interpersonal contact.
Some students are even using social media as a way to share their creative endeavors with the world. Sophomore film major Ayana Duncan discussed how she is coping with quarantine while still being creative.
“I look for inspiration a lot, and I write potential ideas down in my phone,” Duncan said. “I’ve recently made an Instagram account for some of my video and photo edits.”
A lot of students are not used to having much time alone without a textbook, so having all this time alone in quarantine can lead to compiling negative thoughts about what to do and what they can expect in the coming months. Nobody knows what the future holds, but knowing how the brain processes these thoughts can help students find ways to overcome them.
Duncan has self-quarantined since March 23 and understands the complex relationships that loneliness and creativity have with mental health.
“I’m a super social person, so I felt irritable and trapped in the beginning,” Duncan said. “Now I’m always looking for inspiration for short films, and while I’m not at the stage where I can execute my ideas the way that I want, I’m enjoying the opportunity to experiment with video editing.”
Likewise, junior film major Bertand Best’s two weeks in isolation have been a positive experience.
“I’ve been writing a few short films,” Best said. “Other times, I’ll spend my time exercising, playing video games and watching anime to find more cinematic techniques that I can experiment with. Every now and then, I’ll step away from that by filming or creating other small projects for my church. It keeps my mind awake and gets my creative juices flowing again.”
Other students may not be at this point yet, but it just takes a little patience to build a schedule that they’re comfortable with and a little practice to find activities that they will enjoy. Reading, writing, painting, dancing, learning new skills and testing one’s knowledge are all good ways to expand one’s abilities and cope with change.
Sam Houston State University students still have online classes to attend and assignments to complete, but during their downtime, it might be worthwhile to get creative and try something new.