Mental health. What comes to your mind when you hear those two words. Is it the mixed feeling of an unpredictable event that may or may not happen, like the notorious anxiety feeling? Or maybe it’s the downward spiral of depression that is slowly killing us every day? COVID 19 has affected adolescents and young adults tremendously as much as this thing can change our lives forever. It will change how we hang out with friends, think twice before going to a large gathering, and most importantly, maybe cut off some of our friends just to pursue our personal gain.
The pandemic has created this perfect storm where it gives a rise of uncertainty, an endless supply of anxiety, and an overwhelming avalanche of depression. Many people like myself have lost quite a bit. From an opportunity of greater education to a better career opportunity, to even a loved one that we cared so much about. It feels like everything and everyone that we cared about has either died or left us. When it comes to younger adults specifically, it is time to reinvent ourselves and rebuild with new connections and things. Too bad it’s being halted because of the pandemic. It is a hard time in our lives because life is moving at a fast pace. It is unpredictable what is going to happen, and that’s why it causes people to stress out. For teens, it feels just as bad because the dream of having your group of friends hanging out at a park, or going to someone’s place to play video games has come to an end because of social circles. And don’t get me started with social circles or social isolation.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we were asked to stay at home as much as possible because it was too dangerous outside. Physical distancing, social distance, social isolation (whatever you call it) plays a huge role when it comes to mental health. We have to stop in-person interactions as much as possible just to keep us safe. I know I know. We live in an age where we can connect to each other digitally anytime, anywhere from social media platforms to gaming. Well, this might be the case, it’s not nearly enough to fix this issue. Having social media platforms to fix in-person interactions is like putting a bandaid onto a huge water tank leak. Sure it works (sort of). But it’s not enough to fix the problem.
On the bright side after over 18 months of brutal isolation, we’ve finally seen a new normal that we’ve been promised. While this might be the case, the horrifying damage that left us had been layout for us to bear. This type of problem requires all generations of people from different experiences to understand the situations, accept that this is a new reality, and have the strength and courage to help one another. Whatever it takes.
As a cook, storyteller, and gamer, I always say that food is one of the most powerful ways to bridge the gap. It gives us energy, happiness and most importantly, sparks conservation. Eating out with someone, whether if it’s your family, friends, or coworker. It is a tool to bring people together to eat, chat, tell stories and sometimes express yourself on how you’re feeling. A great example would be Anthony Bourdain’s Part’s Unkown, where he travels, cook, eat, drink, and talk to locals in their city. Whether if he’s talking about food, politics, emotional well-being, or even some stupid out-of-context stuff, it brings him closer with them, forming a strong and maybe awkward bond. If we try to mimic that kind of style in our lives, maybe we can fill the hole in our lives. Like what Anthony Bourdain always says “Food may not be the answer for inner peace. But it’s a start”.