There are a number of precautions that are recommended by the CDC to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): frequent hand washing, sanitizing surfaces, and distancing yourself from other people, especially if there are cases of the virus in your community. While social distancing is crucial in preventing the spread of the virus, disruption of daily routines and increased social isolation can affect our own mental health as well as the mental health of our friends and family.
With many individuals already experiencing anxiety about COVID-19, it’s important to do what you can to help care for the mental well-being of yourself and of others. Below are a few ways to take care of your mental health while practicing social distancing.
Remain Physically Active
Regardless of circumstance, physical activity can benefit both your mental health and your physical well-being. If you are experiencing isolation or are in a situation where public venues like gyms and health clubs are temporarily closing, find ways to remain active while at home.
This may mean doing a quick search online for at-home workouts or exercise programs. Also, unless otherwise instructed, getting outside and walking or jogging are both great options to stay active. Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on mental health, so continue to remain active in any way possible.
Practice Breathing and Mindfulness Exercises
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to turn on the news or scroll through social media and begin to feel overwhelmed about coronavirus, your health, and the well-being of others. Add feelings of isolation to this, and you have a recipe for depression or anxiety.
If you do find yourself feeling stressed, take some time to disconnect from the media and focus on mindfulness or breathing exercises. In situations where you feel overwhelmed, it’s helpful to segment your time – give yourself a set amount of time to worry, but then spend time away from negative thoughts or the media.
There are a number of meditation apps available, such as Headspace and Calm. Additionally, you can find a number of helpful meditation, mindfulness, and guided breathing videos on platforms like YouTube.
Tackle A New Project
If you are confined to your home, you may not only experience loneliness, but you may become bored as well. In times of duress, boredom can be just as harmful to one’s mental health as isolation. One way to combat this is to create daily or even weekly to-do lists.
With extra time at home, find projects that you can focus your attention on. Is there a DIY project you’ve been putting off? A home improvement project you have always wanted to complete? These are great tasks to focus on, alleviate boredom, and create a sense of accomplishment.
Social distancing is also an opportunity to focus on yourself. Maybe you’ve been thinking of making lifestyle changes like eating healthier, practicing meditation, or even learning a new skill. These are all great tasks to focus on if you feel like you have a lack of things to do.
Use Technology to Communicate with Friends and Family
Increasingly, social media, mobile apps, and other technology enable us to communicate with loved ones. In times of social isolation, these tools can be invaluable for keeping in touch and communicating with friends and family. During times of isolation, it’s as important as ever to reach out through these means to keep in touch. Consider using apps or programs to share updates with your friends, your family, and even your colleagues.
Check in on others, whether you’re feeling disconnected yourself or are concerned for the well-being of a friend. Phone conversations, web chats, and other means of communication are all available means of maintaining communication throughout periods of isolation. This can be a huge lift for you or someone you know. Even something as simple as a text to check in can help alleviate feelings of distance or loneliness.
Supporting Your Loved Ones
Whether you or someone you know is currently undergoing social distancing due to COVID-19, make an effort to reach out simply to check-in with them to talk about their well-being and how they are coping with the situation. While periods of social isolation may not be a cause of concern for yourself, there may be individuals that you know who are struggling with the change. Taking the time to call, text, or otherwise communicate with them is a helpful way to ensure they’re able to cope.
Get Help if You Need It
If you start feeling high levels of stress or anxiety due to Coronavirus Disease or social distancing, consider reaching out to a mental health treatment provider for help. Some organizations offer virtual therapy or counseling services to provide help while maintaining social distancing. A trained professional can help you or a loved one process feelings of coronavirus-related anxiety, learn effective coping techniques, and lessen the overall mental burden.
At High Focus Centers, we understand the importance of maintaining social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19. That’s why, at each of our outpatient treatment facilities, we are offering mental health treatment services using telehealth videoconferencing technology. If you or someone you love needs counseling, High Focus Centers is available to help. Please contact us today or call 800-877-3628 to learn more.
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