According to Jud Brewer, MD, Ph.D., “Social contact is a fundamental human need. We suffer both mentally and physically without it.”
Now, what was unfathomable weeks ago, when the country was watching videos about how to wash hands more effectively, has become reality: living in isolation.
Everything from weddings, concerts, proms, musicals, sport seasons and schools have been cancelled or closed, things people were looking forward to for the entire year.
Also there is the frightening aspect of loved ones being “at risk” suddenly or even in the hospital for something unimaginable just a few weeks ago.
Daily lives and routines have been changed completely, and now those routines include self-isolation as health professionals have learned more about COVID-19.
Isolating and the uncertainty of what one is facing can affect mental health detrimentally, but having a daily routine of seeing loved ones, friends or mentors is helpful for most struggling with mental health, according to Health Magazine.
Tara Well, Ph.D., said, “When we feel anxiety, we have a natural tendency to affiliate with others.”
For those struggling with anxiety or depression, having people to surround themselves with is very important.
Art Markman, Ph.D.,professor of psychology at the University of Texas, told Health Magazine, “For people who are prone to depression and want to isolate, it boosts your mood to be around other people.”
There is, though, a difference between self isolation and social distancing and being lonely. A few ways to help feelings of anxiety, depression or loneliness include connecting positively through social media and using platforms to spread positivity to other people that need it.
Face-to-face connection through Zoom or Facetime is also a great way to combat these feelings. People can set up a chat with family members, friends, peers or coworkers to connect while away from them. Make sure to reach out to others who are having a hard time as well.
Picking up a new hobby, playing with pets and exercise are proven to be great for mental health. Go for a run or walk with family.
Self isolation and the state of the world right now can be very scary. It is important to know that everyone is not alone, and there are ways to stay productive and calm at home. Stay healthy by staying home, appreciating essential workers for all that they do and taking note of ways to combat loneliness and mental health struggles in these uncertain times.
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