Issues of the Pandemic

The pandemic taught us many things about ourselves, our relatives, close friends, society, and so much more. The main thing that I feel stuck out the most though – mental health. Included in the mental health aspect is socialization and the addition of digital socialization. Although, due to the timing of the pandemic, many people were much more logged into the 2020 election. People were stuck at home and had no choice but to pay attention to current events by watching or reading the news… the election was everywhere.

Since the pandemic was so life-changing for so many people, it made people wonder what was so different about this experience? We lived in a pandemic before in 2009, H1N1: Swine Flu. Because of the initial pandemic, many people didn’t think twice about COVID-19 once it became a thing of the society. However, once people began to be affected in ways that threatened their lives, people became much more aware of the changes taking place. One article mentioned that many became familiar with the emotion of precarity. Precarity is described as the differential distribution of a common human vulnerability, one where survival and well-being are non-negotiable. There was a prevalence of social insecurity as many people we forced to shelter-at-home, lockdown, or even quarantine. The interesting thing to me, however, is that once people became more familiar with the feeling of precarity, they began to see people and communities who were vulnerable, and those who were protected by society and politics. Eventually, this leads to distress, and ultimately, inspiration for action.

Work Issues

One of the main complaints from individuals affected in the workforce was job insecurity. Many people lost their jobs; they weren’t sure where their next paycheck would come from because many places had to close to the stopped economy.

Another issue was the adjustments needed to shift to remote work and remote learning. Some adults were affected by the sudden shift to zoom meetings, appointments, emails, and e-documents. Some people, especially in older communities, can experience some difficulty when trying to learn that technology can replace other modes of work. Some children were not given the proper time to acclimate to the new methods of learning.

Other issues such as work-life balance was an issue as most people were at home all the time, so they weren’t able to shift from work mode to home mode and be present within their families.

The future seemed unclear to many people as well, due to the inability to know when a vaccine was coming and how available it would be to the general population. [The study this is based on was taken during the Summer of 2020].

Some people were grateful to have kept their jobs, even if they seemed overworked and exhausted since there were people who had no control over whether they got to keep their jobs.

And finally, in terms of work issues, many people realized how much they cherished having personal time, especially to focus on mental health. Many people expressed a desire to be less work-focused.

Relationship Issues

Since many people were forced to stay home, many relationships faltered because of it. Many individuals were not emotionally equipped to handle being stuck inside with another individual, or they were not equipped to handle the level of communication that is usually healthy for these scenarios. Either way, some people were not able to salvage their relationships. Parent/child relationships also saw some issues as parents felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of ensuring their child was learning appropriately or the parents had essential jobs and the children were often home alone.

Social isolation became very difficult for some people. I can admit that at the beginning of the pandemic, I was deeply affected by the lockdown. I felt very closed-up, almost claustrophobic. I also lived alone in an apartment 500 miles from the nearest family, so I can understand how social isolation can make things difficult.

Many people wanted to seek more social and emotional support, and thankfully, the age of technology was able to provide society with apps that can make it easier to seek such support. Since people realized that social isolation was mentally exhausting, they realized that it made it hard to cope with mental illness symptoms.

For the people who were able to salvage or create relationships through the pandemic, they realized that relationships made it easier for them to get through the pandemic crisis. Socialization, even if it is zoom or some other video conferencing platform, also proved to be helpful for people who were unable to leave their homes.

Critical Consciousness

Another (very important) aspect to the pandemic was that many events happened in the midst of the pandemic. There was the George Floyd case which ignited riots all across the country. Even in Oklahoma City, there were riots where excessive force was used by the local police on people who followed the rules. This brought many realizations to the surface of social class privilege, awareness and experience with racial inequity, and attitudes and knowledge about government responsibilities. People were able to gather in numbers and make their voices heard. This was a key component to how the election turned out in 2020. There were many other events that subsequently happened after the election, but the pandemic gave the people the fuel and fire to see some real issues in society.

I think it speaks volumes when we need to take into consideration the many aspects that were brought to our attention during the pandemic. The only way to genuinely make those changes is by getting politically active, voting in elections (especially the midterms, like on November 8, 2022!), and volunteering for organizations that you feel passionate about. Proper control in politics will lead us to proper solutions to the social issues. Make your voice heard.

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