Six months ago, terms like self-isolation, shelter-in-place, and yes, social distancing had no place in everyday vocabulary. Now these phrases pepper nearly every conversation around the clock, across the globe.
While these necessary measures protect our physical health in this time of viral crisis, they can wield a damaging blow to our mental and emotional well-being.
“In times of crisis, people have instinctively come together to share experiences, show solidarity, and to help each other,” states psychologist Dr. Ruth Melia. “This social support has proven to be an important factor in protecting against the negative impact that these events can have on our mental health. The outbreak of the coronavirus is unprecedented in that the advice to self-isolate and distance ourselves from others is the exact opposite of what we as human beings want to do in times of crisis.”
A focus on these three strategies can help each of us in the battle to remain mentally healthy.
Psychiatrist Nikole Benders-Hadi, reminds us that, “Distancing is not the same as isolation.”
Just because we can’t hang out together in body, doesn’t mean we can’t spend time together. Thanks to the marvelous world of technology, we can stay connected through calls, text, and video chats, or gather by groups via Skype, Google Hangout, and WhatsApp.
We can use this strongly-advised downtime to connect with people our regular go-go-go schedules don’t permit. Consider who among your co-workers, friends, family, and even acquaintances may be especially isolated during this time, and you be the one to reach out.
Take breaks from the news and “virus conversations.”
Let’s face it, the serious nature of all this COVID-19 talk can be concerning, disheartening, and overwhelming all at the same. With so many questions and so much uncertainty swirling about, it’s imperative we practice a degree of “media distancing.” Of course, we need to be informed, but a steady diet of nonstop virus updates and woeful financial predictions will do a negative number on our mental and emotional health.
So, make a point to carve out chunks of time throughout each day as “media-free zones.” Yes, that means stepping away from social media as well as news sources. Exercise, read, try a new recipe, clean out a closet, initiate a “virus-free” conversation with a friend or family member, binge-watch a favorite series. Better yet, binge-watch while “hanging out” electronically with a friend who’s watching the same episode. Whatever you do, do not attempt to go it alone.
Take care of your body
Which, for one, means maintaining healthy sleep habits. Structure-less days can wreak havoc with our typical, healthy sleep patterns, resulting in either too little or too much sleep. Cue mood swings, depression, and irritability—the last things our already struggling psyche needs.
Resist the urge to splurge on junk food, desserts, and whatever “comfort food” calls to you during stressful times. Maintain a healthy diet, being mindful of the dangers of overeating due to either boredom, worry, or both.
Make some form of exercise part of the “new” daily schedule. Weather permitting, a walk around the block, or a bike ride can provide a needed boost by offering a change of scenery, fresh air, and the opportunity to stretch those cooped up muscles.
Rest assured, Medical Temporaries, Inc., stands by our clients and candidates during these trying times. We understand the unique stress of the Coronavirus outbreak has placed on both healthcare organizations and job seekers. Now, and in the weeks ahead, reach out to our team with all of your staffing needs.