Social Distancing and Social Isolation can lead to mental health challenges like depression
We are in uncharted territory with the changing health landscape. COVID-19 has brought on necessary measures to keep the health of our most vulnerable Canadians safe. Social distancing is the limiting of social contact outside of the individuals in your house except for necessary items. This means no group meet ups, hang outs, shopping outside of groceries or heading into the gym. That last one makes us VERY sad being gym owners!
This is creating a particular challenge to our mental health. Stress and anxiety is already high as we don’t know what is going to happen in the coming weeks. Also, humans are social beings! We enjoy being with other humans, especially those we like! Right now we just can’t do that.
So how to we protect our mental health? Make it so that we come out of social distancing stronger?
Here are a couple of ideas.
- Keep Moving: STAVE OFF is offering online classes Monday through Friday. Send us a DM if you want to jump in! Physical activity in your day is so important for your physical health of course but it has a huge impact on your mental health as well! Research shows that it is one of the fastest ways to alleviate feelings of depression or anxiety. Often times faster than meds!
- Reach out to friends virtually. We are so fortunate to have many different online platforms and way to connect via the internet. Facetime and Zoom meetups are great ways to connect with friends when you can’t see them face to face. I have seen examples of game nights being held over Zoom! How cool is that!
- Chunk your day. Having too much spare time can be the biggest factor in procrastination and lack of motivation. Both of which can give you a case of the blahs. If you chunk your day out so that you have set times for things, it can help you keep on track and make you feel more productive. Both of those things will help boost your mental health
- Try to figure out a new at home routine. Humans like being on routines. Creating a routine for yourself can give you a sense of purpose as you go throughout your day. This could be setting out activities or things to do with the kiddos. That could be working on a new project. Anything you want to do for that day. Even working from home can be such a struggle because we are not in the set routine of our work environment. Write it down! That will make you moer likely to stick to it.
- Still get ready. It is VERY easy when you know that you aren’t going out all day to stay in your pajamas. I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion. It gives me a case of the blahs though. Getting ready makes us feel refreshed and ready for the day. Shower! It’ll do you good! Haha
- Get outside each day. This one will be easier with the nicer weather on its way. Nature is good for our mental health. Whether that is a walk down the street or just hanging out in your backyard, nature of any kind and fresh air makes us feel better.
- Eat healthy. Continue to meal prep if you can. I know that might seem silly when you’re at home but having some chicken already ready in the fridge can be a game changer. When you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to cook… you won’t, and you’ll be heading for the frozen processed foods. Also, when you go to the grocery store, don’t’ buy junk food. If you don’t have it you can’t go out and get it!
- Limit alcohol consumption. When stress is high this can be a fall back coping mechanism (for myself included). Alcohol however is a depressant and can sway your mental health that way especially the next day and I’m not just talking about the hang over. Try to limit your alcohol consumption to 1-2 glasses / day at max!
- Realize it’s okay to have a bad mental health day. Whether you’re working on front lines, have been laid off, are business as usual or your kids are driving you crazy… COVID-19 has affected all of us. Many of our coping mechanisms have been taken away. That means that we can have bad days. That is okay. You will be okay. We are here for each other. Excepting that having a bad day is normal in times of stress and anxiety can do wonders.
- Reach out for help if you need it. We are ALL struggling to various degrees. This is the time to lean on each other and not distance further. Know who your network is and reach out to them. Lean in not out. Nick and I are ALWAYS here to chat to any member of our community who needs it.
Have any more ideas? Comment below or shoot us an email!
We will get through this everyone and stronger on the other side as a community!