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social distancing

How to Make Sure Social Distancing & Self Isolation Don’t Hurt Your Mental Health

The Coronavirus pandemic has literally wreaked havoc in the world, forcing people to readjust and change their lifestyles in a way never imagined before. Bars and restaurants have shut down. Movie theaters are closed. Weddings family gatherings and even birthday parties are being canceled.

Governments and health institutions are putting up spirited campaigns urging their citizens to stay at home and avoid close contact with family and friends. Moreover, social distancing and self-isolation have become the norm as far as fighting the spread of COVID-19 is concerned. 

Unfortunately, these sudden changes can cause depression, panic, anxiety and a feeling of loneliness, particularly if you are living alone. 

Knowing the difference between social distancing, isolation, and loneliness can help demystify any misconceptions about these terms. Social distancing simply means staying a few meters apart from other people to avoid close contact and slow the spread of the virus. 

Isolation, on the other hand, refers to physical separation while loneliness is the feeling of being alone. Loneliness can cause all manner of emotional and physical distress ranging from insomnia and sleep disturbances to high blood pressure and declining cognition.

The main objective of social distancing is not to make you lonely but to separate and protect you from potential harm caused by COVID-19. Here are six different ways you can stay mentally healthy as the Coronavirus pandemic escalates.

Initiate Face-to-Face Interaction

In this era of social distancing and self-isolation, physical contact with your family and friends can be a huge challenge. Fortunately, with the emergence of digital communication, you can set up face-to-face interactions through online family chats and video meetings.

Avoid using social media as these platforms only encourage superficial interactions, which might not be meaningful or helpful in the end. Besides, some people use social media to promote false information about the ongoing pandemic, and this could be detrimental to your mental health.

Participate in Meaningful Activities

This is undeniably the perfect moment for you to be productive and engage in activities that you always wanted to do, but you didn’t have adequate time for them previously. Instead of staying glued on the TV checking the latest Coronavirus updates, participate in meaningful activities such as reading, DIY projects, housework or trying out new recipes. This will help reduce anxiety and lower stress levels caused by the soaring COVID-19 statistics.

Keep Smiling and Maintain Your Sense of Humor

It’s true the world is a gloomy place to live right now, but this does not mean that you should lose your sense of humor. Laughing, cracking jokes and watching comedies or silly movies can go a long way to calm your nerves and reduce anxiety. Nevertheless, do not joke or poke fun at other people’s expense. After all, everyone is going through a hard time at the moment.

Play and Bond with Pets

If you have a dog or a cat, now is the time to play and bond. Pets offer great companionship during hard times. They will always stay loyal to you no matter the situation you are facing. 

Moreover, research indicates caressing and touching your pet increases the release of serotonin and dopamine hormones, which are responsible for enhancing mood and relieving stress.

Reach Out to Friends and Family

We need each other amid this pandemic. With this in mind, it’s advisable that you reach out to a few family and friends who might be going through a hard time adjusting to the current situation. Connecting and checking with them might help reduce anxiety and loneliness. Moreover, they won’t hesitate to reciprocate and reach out to you if you are struggling.

Exercise and Stay Active

Regular exercise and staying active is great for your mental health. Since most gyms are closed, you can exercise in your yard or stay active by doing house chores and mowing the lawn. A simple 20-minute walk in your neighborhood can also help keep you focused and active.

Final Thoughts

The world needs you to do your part during these challenging times to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With that said, avoid social gatherings, keep your distance, work from home and stay home. These actions might seem like a simple ask, but doing so can go a long way to slow the spread of this highly contagious virus.

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