This coronavirus pandemic could leave many of you isolated and alone. We are social animals who are not, by nature meant to be apart from one another. If this goes on long enough, your mental health is bound to be affected. So, what can we all do now?
Keep A Routine
One of the best thing you can do to fight loneliness during the coronavirus, is stick to a consistent schedule and routine every day. In a world that is so ever-changing right now, having a daily schedule that is routine and predictable can help you feel stable and grounded.
It is also helpful to have some part of your “normal” life integrated into this “new normal” we are now living. If you continue to stick to your normal routine amidst all of this chaos, it can help you to feel more “normal”.
Make sure to:
- Keep your normal sleep and wake times.
- Keep your normal morning routines. If you used to get up and shower, get dressed and then eat breakfast, then do that.
- For women, if you always wore makeup and do your hair, make sure you do those things.
Trust me on this, too. If you keep to your routine and to what you are used to as close as possible, once this is all over and you need to return to your job and daily life, the transition will not be such a shock. Imagine how hard it will be to go back to your “old normal” if your “new normal” turns into a life where each day rarely, if ever, resembles the next.
Don’t stay inside. If you are in one of the areas in this country where there is a stay at home order, don’t forget that there is still a whole-wide world out there.
Moderate exercise has been shown to improve mood, so it really is important to keep moving. So get out there and take a walk, get in a hike or a quick run. What could be better than combining that with some fresh air and some sunshine? After all, soaking up the rays helps with your Vitamin D levels, which helps regulate mood and staves off depression.
Getting out, you’ll most likely see other people out there doing the same thing. That alone is a positive thing to do. Even if you can’t get close to someone else, just make a point to get out, see other people and giving yourself a much-needed change of scenery. Nothing could be worse than sitting at home, day after day, secluded.
Remember: nobody said that you have to stay inside. All that you need to do is keep a safe distance from one another so that you don’t spread the disease.
Shift Your Focus
Fighting loneliness during the coronavirus is about seeing this as a rare opportunity for you to have the chance to do all of those things you never had time to before. You know…all of those projects in the house that you’ve been putting off until you “had more time”. Well..you have more time.
Or, write down a list of all those things you always said you wanted to do, “if I only had more time”. Like…
- Read that book you bought years ago
- Start writing that novel
- Learn a new language
We all have those things on our “list” that we now just happen to have more time to actually do.
Yes, we can get very upset, scared, angry, sad over this situation. And, I am not discounting that for many reading this there are very valid reasons why you have every reason in the world to feel how you do. For many, the impact that this is having on your families, careers, income, businesses, etc… can feel overwhelming and devastating.
However, what I am trying to say is that only focusing on those things when you do not have any control over them is not going to help you at all. In fact, if all you do is spend your time focusing on those things, you will most likely end up suffering from depression.
All I am suggesting is that while there are many, many unfortunate ways in which this pandemic is probably having a very negative and overwhelming effect on your life, if you can try to shift your focus on some of the things you can actually control, then you are bound to get through this far better than if you don’t.
Just because you aren’t able to go to a concert, see your best friends at Happy Hour after work on Friday or hang out with your family on Sunday doesn’t mean you can’t still keep up with all the important people in your life. Thankfully, we live in the day and age when there are plenty of ways we can communicate with one another.
There are so many ways we can still connect and see one another….Skype, Snapchat, Facetime….just to name a few.
While the internet and phone are just not the same as actually having in -person, physical contact with other people. But what is the alternative? Sitting at home waiting for the “all-clear” for us to get back to life as we used to know it probably isn’t going to help you get through this any better.
Seeking the support of others can be one of the best things you can do. Talking to friends and family can be helpful. However, they aren’t professionals. And while they care and want the best for you, they don’t have the background and training to help if you’re dealing with depression or having suicidal thoughts.
Luckily, we are in a day and time when reaching out for help has never been so easy. There are plenty of therapists who now offer sessions over the phone or via video, so you can get all the help you need during this time.