Dealing with Isolation in the Pandemic means connecting every day both inside and out
Dealing with isolation in the pandemic presents a different challenge to different people. Those who tend to isolate in the best of times may be struggling the most right now because having resources to stay sane are absolutely crucial. You may need some tips to help you find healthy things to do. If you find it hard to reach out and ask for help, here are other ways to connect and find meaning.
Hard to believe that we are 4 months deep into the pandemic that’s wrecked so many lives, but here we are! Some of us have become masters at working from home, keeping busy, and physically distancing while staying connected in other ways. But others are struggling to stay motivated and engaged. I get it; it can feel like groundhog day.
Feeling this stress is perfectly normal when it’s mandatory to stay inside and avoid human interaction
Add the underlying stress of potentially contracting the virus and you have a perfect storm to derail your mental health. We want to avoid this at all costs so that begs the question: what are the best suggestions to get through this seemingly endless period of isolation due to the pandemic? The hotspots to well-being and good mental health are found in finding ways to distract yourself and connect with others. It’s time to get creative, folks! Not necessarily in the order of importance to you. You may find looking for sources of comfort the most important tool for you. So this is a list you can rearrange to suit you.
Here are our 8 top tips for dealing with isolation in the Pandemic
Keep your daily structure
Keeping a schedule will add order to your day. It will help make your routine feel as “normal” as possible. I personally like to make a daily to-do list as well to keep me engaged and productive. It’s very satisfying to cross things off the list. Keeping a diary is another idea to stay present within the days and reflect inward.
Staying informed may not be as easy as it sounds. Try not to increase your stress and fear by feeding off of constant media updates, but stay in the know. It is important to keep up to date with the latest health information and advice. Make sure you’re focusing on credible sources. That’s not Facebook or Twitter, even though we love and use both. Mainstream news sources like the NY TImes, Washington Post, LA Times, CBS, NBC, ABC , PBS, are the most reliable news sources these days. Don’t kid yourself that any social media feed is telling you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Staying informed can help ease your mind as to what is going on in the world with the pandemic, but don’t overdo it. Being consumed with this information can have an adverse effect on your mental health.
Physical and mental health are directly correlated. Staying active will promote good mental health and help you feel good overall. Go for a walk or hop on a virtual yoga class. There are so many activities you can explore at home to benefit your well-being. There is proven healing power in exercise.
Do Something Meaningful
Being isolated can cause us to feel useless and lose perspective on our purpose in life. You might need some mental health reminders. Without meaning, you’ll feel much lonelier and isolated. We all want to feel like we belong and have meaning regardless of the pandemic, but now is a great time to explore new opportunities. Look for online volunteer opportunities, join a virtual support meeting home group, learn a new skill, take an online class … the possibilities are endless, you just need to start looking.
Connect With Others
Everyone is experiencing the pandemic in their own way, but it is important to remember we are in this together. We are social beings, so now is the time to get creative and look for new ways to connect with family, friends, support networks, coworkers, etc. Online options for connecting are growing daily. From virtual meetings to Facebook groups and online games to forums about shared interests, the internet has provided up countless ways to connect and find sober inspiration if you need it.
There are many appropriate ways to social distance in person, but again, you just need to get creative and assure you and your loved ones are staying safe. Gather in a parking lot and keep 6-feet apart for conversation and games. Or another idea is a picnic or Barbeque … how about a get together in your apartment complex where everyone is hanging out on their balconies? All good, safe ways to enrich socially.
Find Sources of Comfort
Finding comforts will make us feel safe, but also promotes self-care. It is so important to take care of yourself during these circumstances. So many of the items discussed will help your well-being, but taking time to decompress and find security is paramount. Ideas such as: giving yourself a facial, taking a bath, spending time with your pet, cook a healthy comfort food, read your favorite book, watch your favorite show, have a cup of tea, and getting enough sleep are a few of some of the awesome ways you can find comfort. Taking care of yourself needs to be your primary purpose.
Expressing yourself in various mediums can be super therapeutic. It can also allow you to get lost in what you’re doing and forget the world around you. Think of it as a mini mental vacation. Start a writing project, learn a new art skill, or dive in to a DIY home renovation — there is so much cool stuff you can do with lasting outcomes. I started a garden the first week of quarantine and have really enjoyed watching it grow these past few months. (Let’s be real, I also killed a lot of it because I kill anything green, but! I’ve replanted and learned what plants can survive in my care. Give me an animal and I can make it thrive, but give me a plant and pray it doesn’t end up on death row.)
Keep Yourself Busy
Distracting yourself is a powerful tool to help you get through this time. Remember to focus on healthy distractions. These might come in the forms of reading, watching shows, listening to music, or finding other activities and hobbies that interest you.
These are just a few of the many ways to help you deal with the isolation of the pandemic. Try to be vigilant of your mental state and compassionate toward yourself. If you find that your mental health is consistently poor and you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, and fear, it is important to reach out for help. There are many virtual therapy options as well as crisis hotlines to help you find options. While it’s normal to feel anxious and fearful at a time such as this, deteriorating mental health could indicate the need for outside help, and there is no shame in that. Remember, you are not alone, and there are many people and resources to help you.