If you’ve felt alienated and as if you were living an alternative existence you’re not alone. Experts are warning people with underlying anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders that although social distancing is important to prevent the spread of Covid-19, it can have dire effects on your mental health especially those who are most sensitive to feeling abandoned and alone.
Humans need connection and with the closing of bars, restaurants and social events that many attend daily, the absence of places to meet up and the freedom to share times with others is no longer acceptable. Add to this the loss of celebrating family birthdays, weddings and attending church services. Even funerals are being postponed. Feeling this loss causes many to sink into feelings of depression, lethargy and a lack of motivation to do the everyday chores that may help restore our calm and feeling more in control.
If you are already diagnosed with depression it is extremely important you stay connected with your therapist. Most therapists continue to see clients on and offline.
Secondly, if you currently take medications for your mental health condition it is important you continue. There is no shortage at this time of mental health medications so make sure you get your refills and take them as ordered.
This is not an easy time for anyone, and if you find yourself feeling more irritable, frustrated, angry and sad, practicing these habits can restore a sense of optimism and hope. Set your intention on being a helper, and as much as you can, get out of your negative thinking by focusing on how you can help others.
1. Check in with one reliable news source in the morning and late afternoon to know the facts and help guide you with caring for your family.
2. Stay connected with family and friends via texting, messaging or phone calls. We feel closer to people when we hear their voice so try to call one person each day. Asking questions about how the person is doing and talking about something besides what’s happening with the virus can help keep optimism and hope alive.
3. Stay on a schedule. Continue to eat meals at the same time each day. Stay away from eating in bed or staying up late since there is nowhere to go in the morning. Eat healthy foods because junk foods make us feel worse and they aren’t healthy for our immune system.
4. Practice your faith. Continue to read scripture, quotes or watching services online. Sing along with songs of praise you enjoy; this helps calm the heart and mind as well as making you feel more connected.
5. Get outside as much as possible. You can social distance outside and run, walk, ride a bike, garden as well as play any sport. If you do go outside with others maintain social distance.
6. Alone time is important if you’re in a full house with kids. Trade off time with your partner or parents so you each can have much needed alone time to read, journal or reflect. It is also helpful to socialize and play games with each other in our homes together. Games and laughter distract us from the worries of the real world and bring a sense of normalcy to life.
We are going through a life experience never witnessed before by most living adults. Working as a community to social distance is going to help us avoid overwhelming chaos with medical care, illness and death of others. Be a helper when you can, to volunteer or emotionally support others, but be mindful of social distance and hand washing. We will get through this, and our goal is to become closer and more compassionate about caring for our communities, families and the numerous strangers we meet each day.