Social distancing. School closures. Cancelled events. Terms like these have become a regular part of our vocabulary over the past few weeks. Spending days or weeks at home with limited resources, stimulation and social contact can take a toll on mental health.
Coping with Social Distancing
Here are some tips you can use to adjust to physical distancing and take care of yourself during the outbreak:
1. News Consumption: Limit news consumption to reliable sources. It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19, but too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety.
When this first began a few weeks a ago, I found myself checking the latest headlines throughout the day then realized the negative energy it was creating for myself. Now I check it once a day at the end of the day, to stay informed and create balance in other more life giving activities, such as reading, listening to music or learning a new language. Perhaps you benefit from taking a digital detox to take a break from news and triggering headlines.
2. Daily Routine: Create and follow a daily routine. This can be a hard one with kids and having school at home. Maintaining a daily routine can help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely.
3. Find Hope: Find something to look forward to each day of the week (e.g. Monday is game night, Tuesday is movie night, Wednesday is pizza night, etc.). I have found myself trying to tackle the spaces in my home that need a little cleaning or organizing.
4. Virtual Connection: Stay virtually connected with others. Your face-to-face interactions may be limited. Now is a time I am more grateful for our advanced technology. Using phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media to access social support networks. Schedule weekly or daily check-ins with family or friends.
5. Group Chat: Create a group chat with close friends that you are only allowed to send funny memes, songs, or photos. There is nothing like having a good laugh that can brighten our days of social isolation.
6. Play with LEGOs: come up with a theme and have everyone in your family join in. Who can make a car that will go the farthest? Build a house with themed rooms?
7. Creative writing/journaling: pick up a piece a paper and pencil write down your thoughts, feelings or a list of what you look forward to following social-distancing.
8. Bake: there is nothing like a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies that soothes the soul. Let your kids help measure and mix.
9. Crafts: Try a DIY crafts on YouTube.
10. Bubble Bath: there is nothing like a tub full of bubbles and warm water that can be soothing for the soul.
11. Workout: Try a new kind of workout on YouTube such as yoga.
12. Gratitude: Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for. We can start each day by reflecting on what we do have instead of the restrictions.
13. Change it Up: Try new looks (e.g. with clothing, makeup, etc.).
14. Try a Face Mask: No we’re not talking about germ control masks (although those are a good idea too) but a spa day for your face. There are so many recipes online for natural face mask recipes with items you will have at home. Men – if you attempt a mask and post pictures of the evidence you get bonus points!
15. Play/Make Music: Make a instrument or pick up the one in the corner collecting dust.
16. Rearrange Your Room/Living Space: By simply moving the position of a chair it can change things up allows us to have a different perspective.
17. Fun: Do a puzzle or word search.
18. Creative: Color, draw or try graphic design.
Although we don’t know how long social distancing will last, there are many different things you can do to make use of the time and take good care of yourself. If you need support, you can always (virtually) reach out to a friend, relative or anyone else you trust. How will you choose to cope today? Share your ideas of how you are making it through Social Distancing.