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How to Maintain Your Mental Health When Social Distancing

Matthew Cuddeback, LCSW

Much of the world is shutting down around us to manage the difficult public health issue we have been experiencing. Many of us all around the world are experiencing massive shifts in how we are going about our daily lives in many large and small ways. One key piece of curbing the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is something we have all become quite acutely aware of, Social Distancing. Below are a few key tips about how to maintain your mental health when having to distance yourself from others and isolate. 

  • Try to Maintain Your Healthy Routines: For most of us our routines bring us comfort. It can be incredibly destabilizing to be forced suddenly, to change your routines so drastically. If you are able to, try and keep many of them. For example, when working remotely, it would be easy to sleep in later, watch TV when you are supposed to be working, etc. Instead, try to commit to that same schedule, get up when you usually do, clock in when you usually do, take breaks when you usually do, etc. Of course, some flexibility here is important, nothing we are doing right now is going to be perfect, but it helps to have that familiar routine.
  • Shake Up the Activities You Depend On: If you often play video games and now that you are isolating, you plan to play even more video games. That can cause you to easily get sick of this coping mechanism faster. It is of course okay to play video games but try to be mindful of when you should stop your session. Also, mix up the kinds of games you are playing, that can help keep it fresh. Similarly, don’t binge all of a show that you could have spread out longer, in case you need that to lean on longer than expected.
  • Utilize Technology to Stay Connected: Facetime, Gchat, etc. are ways to keep in touch with friends, family, co-workers. Just because we can’t be physically around everyone we want to be, doesn’t mean we can’t still see them. Further, many museums, universities, and yoga studios are offering free information, video sessions, and tours that can keep your brain learning while stuck at home. 
  • Move How You Can: As mentioned above, there are all kinds of videos for teaching yoga, dancing, exercise that you can access. Now may be the time to finally take up yoga. If you have stairs in your building, use them, go up and down a few times to keep your body moving. Not to mention, you can still go out for a walk, or a bike ride. You can still get outside and exercise as long as you take the appropriate precautions. Maybe now is the time to finally do that bike path you have been wanting to try, or use that new running gear you recently bought. 
  • Use Telehealth for Therapy: This is an unabashed plug here. Symmetry Counseling and other therapy offices offer telehealth services. In fact, many insurance companies have expanded their coverage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to maintain your mental health in such difficult times and it is easier than ever to use telehealth sessions for this.

It is important to keep taking care of yourself in such difficult times. When we isolate like this it would be easy to neglect some of our needs and routines that are good for us, but it is more important than ever to be sure to take care of yourself. Please reach out to Symmetry Counseling if you are needing to connect to someone and work on your mental health while navigating such a difficult situation.

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