With Spring finally arriving, many of us were excited about getting out of the house and catching up on long-lost socializing with friends and family. As we all know much too well, those plans have been forcibly changed by COVID-19. Just as the ice is frosting, tulips are sprouting, and birds are chirping, we are being told to stay home and avoid human contact. While this situation can be frustrating for many and depressing for some, we must abide by these rules for public safety. With all of the fear-based articles and news spreading daily on social media, we’re offering a few ways to avoid social distancing to affect your mental health.
Here are 5 Ways To Avoid Social Distance Depression During COVID-19
Tip #1: Stay Social
Okay, we know – this seems counterintuitive. However, it’s important to remember that in this day and age, we have many options that were not available even a decade ago. Humans are social creatures, and we need those types of interactions to stay mentally healthy. We may prefer to visit in person, but we can temporarily take advantage of the many free video chat apps available. Families and friends can still visit, attend birthday parties, and catch up on the latest neighborhood gossip, face-to-face, every single day using technology. School teachers are even using video chat to bring students together for more than just homework. Isolated elderly residents of quarantined nursing homes can video chat or email with family “on the outside.”
If you and your friends or family are avid movie-goers, you can watch movies together virtually with Netflix. Their Netflix Party option allows you and several others to join together to enjoy the same film, while also commenting and discussing the movie in a live chat room. You can also revisit the days of sending snail mail, postcards, and packages. (Doctors agree the chances of contracting COVID-19 from cardboard and paper are relatively low, but still take precautions before sending anything, especially to an elderly family member.)
Additionally, unless you’re over the age of 60 or immune-compromised, you’re still able to leave your house. Using Facebook Groups or online forums like NextDoor, you can organize a neighborhood bike ride or dog walk. One neighborhood in Grand Blanc, Michigan celebrated a social distance St. Patrick’s day by hanging shamrocks in their windows while families walked the sidewalks and counted how many shamrocks could find. With a little creativity and modern technology, it is still possible to stay social while social distancing.
Tip #2: De-Stress
These are stressful, trying times! When basic needs are interrupted, like going to the grocery store or purchasing toilet paper, it can definitely add an increased sense of stress or even panic to any situation. Not only are we stressing about this virus, our interrupted lives, the dangers of healthcare and retail workers, but we’re subjected to constantly changing news and updates about the illness. If you’re on social media, you are also likely being subjected to a slew of fake news, rumors, and opinions posed as facts. Aside from social distancing, all of these factors can really add up to a lot of stress. This can weaken your immune system, but it can also make a trying time seem even worse than it is in reality.
It is more important than ever to find ways to calm your mind and let go of stress. Perhaps, it is exercise or crafting. Maybe it means logging out of Facebook for an entire day, starting a garden, or reading a good book. It’s easy to become caught up in the COVID-19 stress, so be sure to stay aware. When you feel like your stress levels are rising, take a few deep breaths and remember, this is all just temporary. If the constant stream of social media updates and opinions are stressing you out, check the best sources for updates. The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control are your two safest bets for COVID-19 information.
Tip #3: Practice Resilient Thinking
With being forced to make changes to our routines, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious about losing control. Surprisingly, this creates an incredible opportunity for growth. Your mindset can play a large role in how you will get through this or any crisis. Resilient thinkers are prone to look for opportunities within the challenge and are generally happier people overall. Resilience is more than being a “glass-half-full” thinker. It’s more of an “It doesn’t matter what’s in the glass” mindset. So, how does one practice resilient thinking? Excellent Question!
Resilient thinkers generally practice:
- Acceptance – they don’t dwell on what is missing or lost. They accept the situation for what it is.
- Adjustment – they change or adapt to fit the new situation.
- Connection – they stay connected to friends, family, and their support system
- Coping Skills – resilient thinkers practice mindfulness. It could be prayer, meditation, journaling, and even helping others or volunteering.
Tip #4: Become a “Helper”
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Mister Rogers.
This quote seems to appear anytime we experience a national disaster, but it is always so relevant. Instead of looking for helpers, to avoid social distance depression, we can actually become the helpers. Check on your elderly neighbors. Do they need groceries, crafting supplies, maybe a puzzle, or a book to help pass the time? Becoming a helper can not only help lessen the strain of your own social distance, but it can become a life-changing favor to someone in need. Helping others addresses your social needs, can relieve stress and helps build your own mental and emotional resilience. Instead of asking yourself, “What can I do to pass the time?” Ask yourself, “How can I help make this easier on someone else?”
Tip #5: Find Peace of Mind
With so much uncertainty about our future, it can seem like peace of mind is long gone. However, there are still ways to capture this feeling. If one of your concerns is, “What will happen to my family if something happens to me?” now could be an excellent time to meet with an estate planning attorney. Mannor Law Group and other firms across the country are adapting to the COVID-19 crisis in creative ways. For example, at Mannor Law Group, we can even schedule a video conference meeting to be held via Facebook Messenger. You still meet face-to-face with your legal team, and you still get the peace of mind that only a well-designed estate plan can provide. Gaining back some control over your future and the future of your family is a strong way to help fight social distance depression.
If you are interested in discussing an estate plan to regain that peace of mind, contact our office. Don’t let COVID-19 control your present AND your future!