Structure is key to maintaining mental health during this pandemic

Keeping busy is definitely the right answer if you feel like your life is falling apart.

Grace Ferriolo

My+name+is+Grace+Ferriolo+and+I%E2%80%99m+currently+a+junior+at+Eastern+High+School+located+in+Voorhees%2C+New+Jersey.+I+am+also+a+proud+member+of+the+Eastern+Field+Hockey+Program+and+spend+lots+of+my+time+devoted+to+the+sport.%0AUsually+around+this+time+of+year+I+would+be+playing+outdoor+for+my+club+team%2C+a+season+I+was+very+excited+to+get+to.+It+wasn%E2%80%99t+until+COVID-19+came+along+and+severely+altered+any+plans+I+thought+I+had.%0A

Photo supplied by Grace Ferriolo

My name is Grace Ferriolo and I’m currently a junior at Eastern High School located in Voorhees, New Jersey. I am also a proud member of the Eastern Field Hockey Program and spend lots of my time devoted to the sport. Usually around this time of year I would be playing outdoor for my club team, a season I was very excited to get to. It wasn’t until COVID-19 came along and severely altered any plans I thought I had.

I’d like to think I live the life of a normal seventeen year old student – athlete. My name is Grace Ferriolo and I’m currently a junior at Eastern High School located in Voorhees, New Jersey. I am also a proud member of the Eastern Field Hockey Program and spend lots of my time devoted to the sport.

Usually around this time of year I would be playing outdoor for my club team, a season I was very excited to get to. It wasn’t until COVID-19 came along and severely altered any plans I thought I had.

Before all of this, I would have never considered myself someone who had an issue with their own mental health. In fact, I would say I’m a relatively positive person and quite honestly the life of the party. You can also ask any of my friends, family members, teachers, coaches, etc, because I’m sure they would all say the same thing. It wasn’t until Governor Phil Murphy placed the state of New Jersey under an executive order, that I was forced to stay inside with my own thoughts. I hadn’t realized it before, but my happiness was coming from all of the events that occurred throughout my daily routine (surprisingly, this includes school and even struggling with my pre-calc homework).

In what had seemed like an instant, the ability to see any of my friends, have my boyfriend over, play field hockey at the school, or even attend junior prom were all ripped from me. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. My losses are nothing compared to the many people who are dying from this terrible virus.

As of May 10th in the state of New Jersey alone, there have been 9,116 total deaths related to COVID-19. This number is more than the amount of New Jersey residents lost in World War 1, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, both Gulf Wars, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, superstorm Sandy, and 9/11 combined.

The majority of these deaths are unfortunately occuring in long term care facilities, which immediately raised all of my concerns for my grandparents. They live in The Villages, Florida which is specifically for people ages 50 +. Along with that, my grandfather has previously had heart problems and the constant fear is always in the back of my mind. This is something that I’m sure everyone reading can relate to.

The possibility of a loved one getting sick and that harsh reality that is sadly occurring to many people is just something that I still can’t wrap my head around. I try to believe that everything happens for a reason and to have hope that there is light at the end of this tunnel.

So what would I recommend you do if you are struggling with your own mental health during this crazy time in the world? Talk to your friends and get outside with your family. I have recently learned that I can beat my dad, brother, and mother at horse, so I might join the basketball team next year.

Seriously though, keeping busy is definitely the right answer if you feel like your life is falling apart. You may need some type of structure to your day to finally feel like yourself again.