Some Durham College students say they have learned healthy habits for dealing with academic stress and mental health issues during the pandemic.
Jasleen Mehra, 18, a business student at Durham College (DC), says the pandemic increased her anxiety, depression and overall discomfort. She says the pandemic was the starting point of an unhealthy period in her life.
Mehra became unmotivated and bedridden to avoid the new reality of living through social isolation, lockdowns and online schooling because of COVID-19. However, she says the past year has given her a new perspective on life.
According to a December 2020 report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Canada (CAMH), COVID-19 is having a negative impact on many Canadians.
For example, about one-third of 18 to 39-year-olds reported they had moderate to severe anxiety.
When the province announced the move to online learning in Ontario, graduating students lost their extracurricular activities such as clubs, parties and their remaining high school experience.
Many of those students have now gone on to post-secondary where they have spent a year learning online.
Another CAMH study showed half of Canadians reported a decrease in mental health stability since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The survey also found that 21 per cent of people ages 18 to34 have increased their alcohol consumption since the start of the pandemic.However, the past year has given students time to reflect and evaluate their personal habits.
Maha Kamran, 18, Early Childcare Education student at DC, said she has been affected both negatively and positively in the past year.
Kamran said she picked up new hobbies such as painting and word puzzles during the pandemic which helped reduce her stress level.
She encourages students to spend time with family and friends. Kamran says it is important to prioritize and listen to your soul, body and mind during this challenging time.
“The pandemic has overwhelmed a lot of people. It is important to take care of yourself and know that the best person to be there for you is yourself,” said Kamran.
On Instagram, students say they’re journaling, writing, reading and going on daily walks to attract positive energy in their lives.
In the past year, some students say they have learned to take breaks from technology and enjoy activities such as small walks and bike rides in parks.
Although many individuals have had a mental battle in the past year, students such as Mehra and Kamran have also had time to gather and reflect.
Meanwhile, McMaster University in Hamilton is working with the World Health Organization to understand the impact of COVID-19 on young people, such as Kamran and Mehra.
McMaster has launched a study of 21 universities across 15 countries to not only get a sense of the problem but to also find solutions. Visit http://www.camh.ca/ more information on mental health issues and helplines in Canada.