Social contact is an essential human need and we can suffer both physically and mentally without it. As we are now experiencing social isolation, it is normal to feel depressed and anxious during this time. These emotions, while warranted, can feel overwhelming and increase our stress levels as well as impact our sleep and eating patterns, increase the use of alcohol or drugs, and cause the worsening of chronic health and mental health challenges. As we relinquish control over so many things at once, we need to look for ways to thrive while practicing social distancing guidelines.
Thriving During Social Distancing
The goal is to social distance, but not be lonely. If you are struggling with isolation, there are some things you can do to help keep your physical and mental health in check.
Reframe the Experience: This is a difficult time for so many but reframe this experience and try to make the most of the situation. What is something you can enjoy about it? What are the positives? Looking at the upside will help you mentally.
Keep and Create a Productive Routine: Routines make us comfortable. During social isolation, stick with your routine as much as possible and create new ones so you don’t fall victim to negative impulses. Get up each day, shower, and get dressed. Keep your meals and snacks at the same time. Now that you are home, create new routines such as practicing mindfulness or spending time outdoors.
Take Care of Your Body: Stressful situations can cause your body to feel tired and run down. Taking care of your body by getting adequate rest, incorporating physical activity into your routine, and including foods that are rich in nutrients and vitamins into your meals. Self-care is also important; make sure you take time each day that you find relaxing.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: This is a great way to help create positive signals to help calm the brain and ease the tension and anxiety in your body. Take a few minutes to pause and take deep breaths to calm yourself and your mind. Learn more about meditation and developing concentration and awareness from Dr. Jud Brewer, MD, PhD.
Stay Connected: Keeping your communication channels open during this time is critical and helps you to feel less lonely and down. Reach out to let others know they are not alone and focus your energy outward to show compassion to others who may be struggling. Make your virtual interactions meaningful, and don’t be surprised if some of your relationships deepen through these new communication channels.
Manage the Media: Right now, everyone wants to stay updated, but being informed does not need to be detrimental to your well-being. Limit your screen time and step away to clear your mind. Too much can become compulsive and fuel the fear of the situation.
Speak Positively: You may find this to be difficult, as we are so often our own worst critic. Think about how you would speak to someone during this challenging time; now direct those same statements to yourself. Transform any negative talk into something loving and kind.
It is important to remember that you are not alone during these uncertain times. Those who have anxiety, depression, or other mental illness are most vulnerable now. Focusing on connection and self-care is vital during this time, but it is also important to allow others to help you. If you know someone who is struggling, reach out and let them know you are thinking about them and ask them if they need help.
At Pasadena Villa, we offer evidence-based treatment for mental health disorders in multiple levels of care. We are committed to providing the highest quality clinical services and utilize recreational, social and life-skills activities within the community, in tandem with different therapeutic sessions to help adults develop the skills needed to assimilate back into a life outside of treatment. For more information on our treatment programs, call us today or complete our contact form.