Without a doubt, we have entered a new and unprecedented phase of the coronavirus pandemic, we are submerged in guidelines about how to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy and virus-free. It is important to be aware of how social distancing poses unprecedented challenges to our mental and emotional well-being and find ways to overcome them.
From the young to the old, everyone can be affected by the new way of life that we are now in. Simply put, social contact is such a fundamental human need, we suffer both mentally and physically without it.
Common Emotional Reactions To The Coronavirus Situation
- Fear/Anxiety. It’s 100 percent normal to be worried about contracting or spreading COVID-19. Many are concerned that it is so contagious, it can survive on surfaces for an extended length of time, and supplies are low in stores. Seeing empty grocery store shelves or lines to get into the store can trigger a strong feeling of unease. Know that you are not alone and we are all in the same boat. Learning how to better manage these uncomfortable feelings is key.
- Depression/Boredom. Our normal daily routines are completely out of the norm at this point. Many of us are staying home as opposed to going into work, the kids are doing online learning instead of being out of the house and all of the feelings of a normal routine is missing. It can feel impossible to get into a rhythm with so much uncertainty. Add the fact that you can’t go to the movies, restaurants, enjoy a gathering of loved ones is sad as well as boring for so many of us today.
- Anger, Frustration, or Irritability. This grim trio of feelings is rooted in the fact that we’ve had to relinquish control of so many things at once. It may be directed at specific people, such as the customer that loaded their cart up with toilet paper and now you can’t find any; of the authorities who are imposing quarantines, and the media that convey only bad news. All of these things can trigger any of the above mentions feelings and make it hard to stay positive.
Tips For Navigating The Effects Of Social Distancing
- Stay Connected. This is probably the most obvious way to combat isolation. Technology can help us connect to the world, and can help you maintain the needed connection to friends and family. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation. Email, texting, and social media are great ways to keep in touch, check in on others regardless of location as well as maintain regular social connections. Using video chatting options provide us with facial expressions, body language, and other nonverbal cues that we need for bonding with others. Humans happen to crave face to face interaction and thankfully in this day and age, we have the capability!
- Stay Active. When trying to combat the effects of social isolation, it’s strongly recommended that you add some form of physical activity to your day. Also, exercise is amazing for your mental health since walking, jogging, or biking releases mood-boosting hits of dopamine. Take your exercise outside when possible.
- Go Outside. The coronavirus has an easier time spreading indoors, so step outside, getting some fresh air, and be active! Spring is the perfect time to inspire feelings of hope all while soaking up vitamin D. Seeing and feeling the outdoors as opposed to the same walls inside will help ease the stress of social distancing.
- Manage Exposure To The Media. It is so easy to get drawn into the nonstop press conferences or to check for online updates but all of the negative exposure can be overwhelming, to say the least. While it is okay to stay informed, your mental health will be improved by limiting the exposure day after day. Instead, fill your mind with positive information and contact the positive-minded people in your life.
- Learn To Live In The Present. While there are always external forces at work such as stress from work, the stress of kids and chores and other distractions, the fact is, that it’s how our mind regulates those external forces that can be the problem. Learning to be present and at the moment is not difficult but rather requires practice. The mind tends to jump quickly to many different topics and it simply takes practice to learn to focus on just one thing and to feel to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts. By practicing each day you will benefit from the calm that learning to be present can give you.
We have never lived in times like we have been experiencing the last few months. The coronavirus has changed nearly every aspect of our life. It is true social distancing can help keep you healthy, but it also may also spark many different emotions that can be draining to your mental health.
If you are interested in learning more about health and wellness, I encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted practitioners at SHIN Wellness. We offer many holistic treatments such as Decompression Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Neurofeedback, Psychology, Reiki, Nutrition, Corrective Exercises, and Massage. If you need some help figuring out what service is right for you, try our personalized consultation. Our Wellness Center and Chiropractor office in Miami Florida specializes in restoring your health!