As I close myself in before 9pm each night, I wonder how all these other people must be feeling. Are they feeling as weird as I am? Are they as consumed by the nothingness that continues to deepen? Has loneliness caused the rise in puppy purchases? Is collective energy a thing? Cause if so, it’s feeling rather low recently.
Walking through de Prinsentuin >
While walking through the Prinsentuin, for the 257th time this year, I noticed that everyone around me has the same idea that I do. Seeing as though there is not much for individuals to do, the same walk, in the same park, with the same people will have to do, for now.
According to the Dutch Review, a regional online newspaper that dives into many topics regarding Dutch culture in English, has recently written an article on Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Ironic right? Usually, SAD begins to weasel its way into our fragile little minds and takes place when the sun starts to set a little earlier and more layers of clothing begin to suffocate the pours on our sunburnt skin. The thing is, the season, when it comes to sadness, has lasted the entire world about one whole year.
Massive depressive effect of this pandemic
Because of the massive depressive effect this pandemic has caused, an immense rise in the purchase of pets has taken place. When I fi nally fi nd the motivation to remove my 2-day old pajamas, a nice fresh walk does the aid in rejuvenating some life back into the body. What makes these walks tremendously better by a thousand-fold, is how many puppies I get to cuddle along the way. Jumping back to the fact that pet purchases have skyrocketed, I indeed joined the craze. Not by choice, but by destiny. A scruffy little thing followed me home from the store last May and never seemed to leave. Jong Belegen now lives her best life, and I have found a corona companion.
Back to puppies and how they seem to relieve the continuous Covid SAD. Besides the fact that there is an actual illness spread throughout the world, governments are enforcing lockdowns, mass home confinements and curfews. This is heavy. Nothing to this capacity has happened in the Netherlands since World War II. In order to cope with being home bound and not being able to spend the money that the government is happy to hand over, quarantine puppies have been purchased and the trend is on the rise. Why? Is certainly the first question I asked myself. Well, it is the perfect opportunity and circumstance during a quarantined adjusted lifestyle to adopt a little pet filled with love to escape from the fact that it feels like this is never going to end and we will be in this
mess forever oh my gosh (begins crying, again).
People have been filling their loneliness void and at homework spaces with the company of a pup, but what about us. The students. Yes, okay, a cat or a fish is a good option, but you can’t walk your fi sh after 9pm. How are we, as international students, supposed to deal with the collective heaviness that is burdened upon us by a pandemic. Our families are miles away, our school is closed and the limitations to interact are lower than low. That walk in the park sounds great right about now.
Having lectures via our laptops and not changing the bottom half of our attire is becoming the “norm”. Our little bubbles grow smaller, and the desire to leave them grow less. An emotion is something that is felt for a short period of time, a mood is something that lasts anywhere from an hour to a week. The Covid SAD mood has lasted nearly a year. Mental health issues among students are rising and a never-ending tunnel of gloom continues as summer rolls around. Or is it just my world? Some days, taking off my sweats seem more of a chore than going to the ever so popular Jumbo 500 meters up the road. Coping with this surreal moment in history, feels, weird. Finding the motivation and energy feels, exhausting and being glued to our screen, feels addictive.
The good side of quarantine is the opportunity and freedom to learn about self-awareness and of course how to deal with disaster. There are indeed ways to deal with this constant repetitive battle. Take that walk, even if it is five minutes. Enjoy a small moment with somebody else’s little quarantine pup, it helps. Adapt your habits and eat healthy. Be mindful of others and spread love where you can, but if you can’t just know one thing, you are not alone. We are all in this massive transition together.