The New Normal: Self-Care and the Pandemic

The New Normal: Self-Care and the Pandemic

Emma Macintire

Now that Worcester Academy is back in session, have the frequent Zoom crashes been getting on your nerves? Or maybe you feel worried about the new safety protocols? Whether it’s the little things in life or the overbearing stressors, we should all be more aware of what we can do to care for our well being. This new environment has caused us to rethink our lives in so many ways. What are we supposed to do when nearly everything is closed? How do we cope with this new stress?

A few students and adults on campus have volunteered to provide some insight on how they are keeping sane during difficult times. If you seem to feel as though the new normal is too much to handle, this article may provide you with some new stress relievers worth trying. 

Junior year has the stereotype of being one of the more challenging grades in high school; with college preparations, harder classes, and important testing, two juniors at Worcester Academy seem to agree that the stereotype comes to fit its standards.

Even with the expectations of a more difficult workload, Isabella Cino ’22 and Amelia Benware ’22 both feel especially pressured by the switch to an online environment. The constant cycle of major assignments and the uncertainty of keeping everyone safe has produced some general anxiety about their adjustments into the new normal at Worcester Academy.

Benware has said that cooking allows her to “forget about what was stressing me that day.” She recommends that everyone “find that one thing where you can just let go of your thoughts and feelings for a little while.”

Isabella Cino on the other hand finds the most comfort within her friends. Though meeting with people is extremely difficult during the pandemic, time with her friends on FaceTime, she says, is “calming”; especially when she can’t see them in person. Like Amelia, Isabella also suggests finding an activity or skill to distract from the rest of the world. She wants everyone to know that “it’s okay to feel stuck or stressed, because everyone’s been there during this time. You are wonderful, you are loved, and eventually it’ll all go away.”

Regardless of what grade you are in, this new normal is bound to be difficult, but by taking their advice, you can make the most of this situation.

Not only have the students been finding new ways to cope, but also the adults on campus. Ms. Agrawal from the Counseling Office has seen a boost of positive energy among many within the adult community with the presence of students on campus. Even so, a wave of concern has rippled through the faculty community. How difficult is the return to normalcy going to truly be? This question has left some feeling uncertain of what is to come.

For Ms. Agrawal, life as a counselor has shifted dramatically. With mask usage, she worries about her ability to completely understand her students’ emotions. Her main concerns are of the uncertainties affecting the quality of our healthcare. In response to these, she emphasizes self-care; not just at school, but also at home. Though simple, self-care is so needed to care for our minds and bodies.

This quarantine, Ms. Agrawal has been cooking, catching up on television shows, getting some fresh air, and practicing her watercolor technique. These activities fill her plate with distractions and bring her joy to her day. She stresses that our situation isn’t normal and that it is okay to feel pressured, but we should never feel afraid to seek help.

If you need help brainstorming self care ideas or just a simple hello, trusted people will always be within your reach. Most importantly, Ms. Agrawal suggests that it is not worth it to sacrifice our wellbeing over things we can’t always control. No doubt this pandemic has left our community scrambling for a solution, but it also has provided new opportunities to change. 

Worcester Academy has been doing the most to make us feel safe and welcome during our transition into a new normal. It is important to recognize the uncertainties, but it is even more important to keep ourselves and others safe. If you feel the stress unmanageable, please feel free to contact the guidance counselors with these email addresses: 

[email protected]

[email protected]