We’re all being “alone together” these days.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, as we work to flatten the curve by staying home, it’s difficult not being able to physically get together with friends and family. It’s especially tough because this is a time when spending time with others would benefit our mental health. But we cannot.
So how do we stay in a good place when there’s so much physical space? A few ways:
- Use Social Media Wisely. Suddenly this medium is filled with people. We can see that we’re not going through this alone and we can understand that this situation means different things for different people in different parts of the world. It’s been very easy to criticize time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok in recent years, but imagine social distancing without social media. It would be very lonely. Find people who are supportive and set aside time to spend with them – and follow things that are positive or feed your creative side. You’ll feel safer and more connected.
- Set Limits. While suddenly social media is social, it can be a lot. This whole situation is a lot. It’s important for everyone to pay attention to it, but it’s also critical to set boundaries for it. We can level out the waves of big emotion by limiting what we’re taking in and how long we’re doing it. An easy way is to commit to not starting your day or ending your day scrolling. Evenings with a little laughter? It may be difficult, but Tiger King via Netflix is here to help with that.
- Maintain a Routine. Without what feels like an “official” start of the day, whether it’s the time you’re expected at work or when the school day starts for your child, it can be easy to just kind of let the day happen. That can have a negative effect on things that are really important during a global pandemic, including nutrition and sleep. It may feel silly, but your at-home work or school day can feel more official with a schedule, even if it’s a loose one filled with breaks. It can also create more productive – and fulfilling – days.
- Watch Less, Listen More. You’re getting relief from the daily grind of being out in the world that included drop offs and pick ups and appointments, and that can be an opportunity to plug into some culture. And that can be as taking a few minutes to watch Yo-Yo Ma make incredible music from his home via Twitter or listening to a podcast about managing fear and anxiety or trying a little guided meditation. With so much happening visually – whether it’s photos from overflowing hospitals in New York or videos of press conferences about mortality rates, it can be refreshing just to listen.
- Don’t do too Much. The “Corona Resolution” appears to be a real thing. Among the things that really deserve our focus during this period? Taking care of ourselves. That could translate into learning a new skill, but it shouldn’t be putting an added load onto our shoulders.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Phone calls to close friends and family are still a thing – even during a pandemic.
If you or a loved one is in a mental health crisis that cannot wait – please don’t wait. The expert team at Willow Creek Behavioral Health is a phone call away, 24/7. Call (888) 464-1498, or toll free at (844) 308-5050, to be connected with a mental health professional who can help to determine the next steps – including setting up an in-person assessment the same day.
We’ll get through this together!