Rest and Destress


What a beautiful day! 


It’s time to venture outside, take in the fresh air, and greet your friends and neighbors with quaint greetings and warm hugs!


What’s that? A worldwide lockdown? Murder hornets? Back inside we go!


It probably has not been uncommon to find yourself seemingly in a daze scrolling through various social media platforms on the internet looking for something interesting to do over the past pandemic-filled year. Due to the increasing infection rate and new strains of Covid-19, remote learning has become prominent, and socializing in the traditional sense is now taboo. 


As a result of this, I have witnessed many people and close friends experience the effects of isolation over the past several months, leaving text messages unread and withdrawing from friends and responsibilities. This felt especially noticeable in the first few weeks, as we all were in limbo not knowing what to expect and how to adjust to a seemingly apocalyptic world. We repeatedly heard the phrases “unprecedented” and “new normal” thrown around with no solid answers.


A psychology study from Ohio University cited in an article published by the New York Times states, “… ruminating over unpleasant events raises blood pressure and heart rate and triggers the ongoing release of stress hormones. Distraction, however, stops or attenuates the biological stress response.”


It is probably an understatement to say that these are stressful times. And although it makes sense that distraction can pause the stress response, we eventually need to face reality. Therefore, being strategic with our newfound downtime can be a restful way to recharge and regroup. 


Many people have differing downtime activities. Watching videos, playing games, spending time with friends via texts, video calls, or social media are pleasant ways to stay in touch with others. 


Though it may be easy to get lost in a world filled with so many distractions, the New York Times expresses the importance of “happy distractions” and “soft fascinations” having the ability to “help young people weather persistently difficult circumstances.”


Throughout my day to day life I typically gravitate more towards any sort of media that may help me find connections to the outside world. Whether it be innovations in technology or another game of Among Us with friends, this time spent never fails to energize me after a long day of Zoom meetings.


During this pandemic especially, spending time with others has been a great benefit to my mental and social well-being. I have found that initiating group calls or online movie nights have helped bring my friends closer together while we are socially distant. It felt especially good to reconnect with those who seemingly disappeared from our group chats back in March. Avoidance and distraction can only go so far when one is alone. I hope that anyone who feels isolated knows that a good conversation may just be a text message away.