Hi everyone, social distancing can take a toll on our mental health. Feelings of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety can make home feel uncomfortable. We lack access to common coping mechanisms (parks, gym, restaurant, or more). Here are some strategies, I found helpful during isolation.
Americans practice social distancing to essentially slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, the stressors of working from home, remote learning, managing health conditions, job loss, or caring for children can be harmful to our mental wellbeing. Being disconnected from others and alone with our thoughts can be heavy. Isolation doesn’t have to feel this way.
Connect with others
Connecting with other people can play a major role in our emotional wellbeing, increase levels of happiness. The stressor of facing a hiatus from social engagements, financial strain or church doors closed, it’s understandable to feel heavy mentally. An effective way to handle feelings associated with isolation, can be as easy as a phone call or text. Studies have shown, people who have regular social interactions with family, friends, and the community are happier. Results are fewer health problems, reduce levels of stress, which can lead to positive effects on your health and immune system.
- Text? Sure, but Calling or video chats have more impact then texting. Hearing someone’s voice adds a whole other layer of subtext and feelings. Connect using these tools: Facetime, Skype, Zoom (popular these days), and much more. Schedule a virtual dinner, game or movie night with family or friends.
- Send a quick and encouraging message. Check in with your friends and family to catch up and offer support. Ask them to tell you their stories, memories, fears, hopes and dreams. Talk about positive (or funny) experiences to lighten the mood.
- Join online groups centered around some of your favorite like or hobbies (sports, bookclub, volunteer, can help you feel a part of a community). I’d even encourage connecting with a church bible study group. Fellowship is the greatest way to uplift the spirit.
Sit with family or friends, to plan how to cope with the stressors of social-distancing. Have a daily routine in place, it can help both adults and children preserve a sense of purpose. Reducing the exposure of uncertainty and reduce stress. Since I work from home, having a daily routine, helps me stay on task, focus on being productive, and set healthy boundaries. This includes taking breaks to give my mind release. I am someone who can work through lunch and not even realize it.
- Take breaks from watching the news. Although, it is important to be informed, but too much can be hazardous. I only read 1-2 articles every other day, my phone sends me notifications daily. I limit my exposure, because it can be to much for my mental health. Constantly reading information can be overwhelming and upsetting.
- Take time to unwind. Take breaks in between working; maybe stand up, stretch, take a walk, get some fresh air, eat a snack or lunch, go to the bathroom, or read a book. If you must take a nap, please set a timer and stick to it. A nap should be no more than 30mins. If a nap is longer than 30 mins, it will be harder to bounce back into a productive flow.
Maintain healthy habits
Exercise regularly, practice deep breathing, eat healthy meals, and try to get plenty of sleep. Avoid using temporary fillers (excess caffeine, alcohol, junk food) to combat stress. While healing from a shoulder sprain, it was difficult for me to stay active: yoga, complete normal household duties, or working on the computer. I learned to listen to my body, rest, ice my shoulder and rest. I started to do yoga in the mornings (stretching exercises no more than 20 minutes). I modify the poses and only use light pressure. It helped my shoulder recovery. I highly recommend doing exercises, this is beneficial for mental health. Start very basic and listen to your body.
- Youtube offers a huge library of free workouts. It’s great to invite friends to join you. I’ve done two challenges with my friend on instagram. Whenever she finds a challenge, she tags me and we do it together.
- Accountability partner. I have about 3 accountability partners for specific needs in my life. One being a fitness accountability partner I previously mentioned, helps me stay on track. Plus, it’s reassuring to have someone to talk to you for support.
- Seek a professional. We need someone willing to listen. We need someone to help lighten the mental load. I know seeking professional therapy or counselor has a negative stigma. I had the same feelings, but when I decided to go to a counselor, it changed my life. I was in a comfortable and neutral zone without judgement. I could express myself and be heard. Therapy is not about telling you want to do, they’re a guide to walk alongside you through feelings.
God is immune to all viruses. God is always here. There is no method to prayer. It may feel weird at first, but God is listening. If you need prayer or encouragement, please don’t hesitate to contact me, here. Maybe consider starting with these two scriptures:
It doesn’t have to be eloquent words. Nor do you need to retain all of the knowledge from the bible. The fact is God just want you to talk to him. He is your friend, a good Father, and the Great Comforter. Allow His presence feel the atmosphere with peace. He knows what you need and how to provide for your needs.
Small efforts to lighten your load every day may help lower negative effects during isolation. Filter what you see, listen, and focus on daily. Moderate negative news and structure a more positivity atmosphere. Pay attention to how you and your loved ones are feeling. Offer support to those who may need help and honestly, don’t hesitate to reach out for help, even to a licensed professional. I hope these tips help, and if you have other suggestions please provide them in the comment section below! Lets help each other, we are a family here on this blog!
Have a bless day!
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