Social Distancing and Mental Health

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt lives all over the world, social distancing has become a normal way to reduce the rapid spread of the virus from person to person. Social distancing, or the restriction of gatherings to stop the spread of infectious disease, has resulted in the cancellation of several social events. This has directly caused a vast majority of people to stay at home. Social distancing and mental health seem to have a direct relationship. When people are stuck at home alone, they can often revert to bad habits or destructive behaviors. In this article, we’ll highlight a few ways to maintain your mental health while social distancing.

What to Expect

When social distancing, expect to see the disruption of normal routines. These routines mean structure for most people. For example, someone would wake up, go to class or work, the gym, and then be home to cook dinner. However, social distancing stops these common routines from happening. This sudden change in someone’s lifestyle can cause them several emotional stresses. According to the American Psychological Association, you may experience increased fear and anxiety, depression and boredom, or irritability. These emotions can deteriorate your mental health over time if not properly understood. Below, we’ve listed a few ways to reduce these negative thoughts.

How to Avoid These Negative Emotions

Limit Your Media Consumption

While it’s important to understand how COVID-19 is affecting the world, it’s necessary to limit your negative media exposure. Constant consumption of negative media can cause you to worry over the bigger picture. While we agree it’s necessary to know what’s going on in the world, regulate your news media to an hour or two a day at maximum. Instead, you can use this energy for positive activities. 

Create a Routine

Since your daily routine has been completely changed, take this time to create a new one that revolves around your work-from-home schedule. For example, you’ll work your normal hours, but when you have free time, take an opportunity to read, exercise, watch TV, or make art for a specific amount of time. While this is a small change, creating this small routine is important to trick your mind into operating as it normally would as if you were on your normal schedule.

Stay Connected At A Distance

The advancement of technology has let the world stay connected like never before. Now, video chats, calls, texts, and other messaging systems keep us connected to our favorite people like never before. Though you may feel like you could be annoying people by wanting to talk, consider texting them beforehand to find out the best time to interact over video chat. This shows you want to interact, but also are aware of other people’s time as well.

Get Sunlight If You Can

For those of us lucky enough to have a patio or balcony, take advantage of the natural sunlight outside. According to TriCity Med, the sun impacts your mental and physical health in five different ways. Getting some sunlight helps your body create serotonin and essential Vitamin D. This small step can make a big difference in your daily mood.  Alice Park of Time Magazine writes:

“Studies of shift workers also support the possible role that exposure to sunlight has on mood. Messing up the normal light and dark cycles by sleeping during the day and being awake at night, under artificial light, can disrupt the body’s metabolism. That can have domino effects on nearly everything: how we break down energy from food, how strong our immune systems are and the vast array of brain chemicals and other substances that contribute to mood, weight, energy and more…”

-Alice Parks, Time Magazine

Ample articles link sunlight to your overall health. Starting this small step can benefit you almost immediately.

Together, We Can Stay Healthy

As we weather through this pandemic, we must do our parts as individuals to stay physically and mentally healthy in these troubling times. Anxiousness and nervousness are valid emotions in these uncertain moments. Together, we can take these moments alone to reflect on our lives and become healthier individuals. Impact Publications focuses on self-help literature and self-improvement. To read more about some of our publications, check out our website or contact us. We’ll be happy to find the best book for you and your unique journey. 

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