As a term that seems to have sprung up overnight, Social Distancing is on everyone’s minds. And for good reason – with the threat of COVID-19 looming, we’re all doing what we can to maintain our (and everyone else’s) physical wellbeing. But in times of self-imposed quarantines and generally trying to maintain our personal space, there can be significant consequences for our mental health.
It’s so crucial to strike a balance between our mental and physical wellbeing, and we don’t have to feel emotionally isolated – even if that’s the case physically speaking; this is still a good opportunity for phone calls, text messages, or for online support groups to enable us to better cope.
This advice will help to maintain meaningful connections during these challenging times.
Tell Others How You’re Feeling
Let people around you know that you feel scared. By saying, “This really scary. I’m super anxious” and having someone respond by saying, “Yes, this is scary. I feel scared too,” it will help you feel closer to those around you – even if you can’t do much to change the situation. This will make you more resilient and able to handle the stress.
Limit the Attention You’re Paying
A lot of the reason so many of us feel so afraid is because of the amount of attention we are paying to it. Other illnesses spread as well, but they don’t get reported in the news and we’re used to living with them; this isn’t a risk we’re used to living with, so we we’re paying it a lot of attention.
Be Aware of Social Influences
The social contagion phenomenon is when people get ideas from each other; if one person says something is important, we calibrate to each other. The reactions of people around us are very powerful, and it’s easy for us to get swept up by groupthink. Be aware of who increases your anxiety and who decreases it – and set boundaries if you have to.
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Living in the time of a pandemic is not something we’ve ever had to do before, and it stands to reason that this new problem will bring about new strategies like Social Distancing. For some, social isolation may already compound the stress and anxiety that COVID-19 inspires in us, but it is vastly important that we all work hard to take equal care of our mental wellbeing – while helping others do the same.