While it is no news that all of us around the globe will have to live with social distancing for a long time, however, what most people fail to understand is that this new way of living is leaving a lasting impact on people’s mental health. For most of us, it is difficult to understand why social distancing, a phenomenon that has been imposed on all of us, is creating mental health issues, at the same time?
It is then important to understand that humans are social creatures who constantly need to be in the company of other humans to thrive because that it becomes difficult for us to thrive and thus leading to poor mental health.
“Loneliness is a threat to public health much like obesity and substance use” (Dr. Carolina Osorio, MD, geriatric psychiatrist). An article from Forbes magazine reported the mental health research shows that just one month into social distancing, 15% of Americans were experiencing negative emotional and mental health issues. This sentence points to the gravity of the effects of social distancing and its impact on mental health which can also lead to negative impacts on physical health.
When we consciously make an attempt to check in with ourselves and reflect on our mental health only then we can take better steps to have a healthy mind especially during these unusual times of social distancing. Here are a few things that people can do while social distancing to take care of their mental health.
5 Tips for Managing Mental Health Issues due to Social Distancing
During the period of lockdown and quarantine, people increasingly started reaching out to their friends and family who they haven’t been in contact with simply due to lack of time. Staying connected is a great way to keep your mental health in check if someone is staying alone during social distancing. This can remind people that everyone is in the same boat as them and that they are not alone
Breathing exercises can be a great way to work around anxiety and other mental health issues during stressful times, such as social distancing, that has been caused by this pandemic. Simply matching your in-breath with your out-breath can calm your body and your mind and help keep away any anxiety caused by the ideas of social distancing. While doing this you can also practice mindfulness, which will make you more aware of your surroundings. Grounding techniques can also help you distract from any anxiety and helps refocus your thoughts to the present.
Change your expectations
Since the start of this pandemic and social distancing people have only been expecting it to get over. While that is a logical thing to do, it is also important to note the gravity of this situation and accepting that it is a global phenomenon and will take its due course. Hence, accepting the situation and take each at a time can really help people go a long way and come out successfully of this pandemic when it comes to their mental health.
This is something that has personally helped me to get through these months of social distancing. There is a thin line between staying motivated and attaching expectations, as mentioned earlier building expectations will lead you to nowhere while staying motivated will only put positive thoughts in your mind and will you away from the negativity of this pandemic. By staying motivated you can even have the power of looking at the positives of social distancing and staying at home which can be a great boost to your mental health.
Sleep is another good way of managing mental health issues due to social distancing. Since social distancing has taken over our lives, we have let go of a routine that we usually followed, and that disturbed most of the people’s sleep cycle. Sleeping at 4 am and waking up at 1 pm became the new normal and these are those small things that can have a negative effect on our health. It is thus important to keep in mind that maintaining the schedule that we had before the pandemic is very important to keep our lives as normal as possible and keeping away from giving in the temptation of sleeping and waking up late just because we have the liberty to do so.
In conclusion, it is important to understand and acknowledge the fact that life with social/physical distancing is going to be the new normal for a while. It is in our hands to take care of our mental health because it is bound to get affected by this new phenomenon. However, it is not going to be impossible to do that, if only we practice the above-mentioned techniques and try to do our best every day and will we be able to get through this pandemic with as much sanity as possible.
References https://www.psycom.net/coronavirus-social-distancing-mental-health/ https://news.llu.edu/health-wellness/dealing-with-mental-health-impact-of-social-distancing https://www.forbes.com/sites/traversmark/2020/04/17/social-distancing-is-harming-mental-health-more-than-physical-health-according-to-new-survey-data/#4bfbbf58b7dd