Isolation survival guide: caring for yourself and your family
Silence may be golden, but too much of it can be detrimental to your well-being. As naturally social creatures, we crave interaction with others. However, in this “new normal”, where social distancing from one another is mandated to try to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the isolation may be creating other problems, such as anxiety, frustration and depression.
To combat negative feelings, consider the following recommendations to help you and your loved ones maintain your well-being and a sense of normalcy during this unprecedented period:
Keep in touch
- Arrange whenever possible to video chat with friends and family who you’d normally see in person. The ability to see faces is important to your social wellness.
- Set times to talk on the phone or text when you feel the need to reach out.
- Continue to meet with your social groups virtually. You can organize a group chat, video chat or simply email each other with your thoughts about a book or movie.
Make connections with others in similar situations
- Check out your local community website, Facebook group or similar online gathering spots. There are plenty of people in the same situation. Share tips or stories about how you’re spending your time. You may come across some great ideas to try.
- Stay active on social media, but in a healthy and positive way. While it’s important to stay connected, be judicious about the amount of time you spend online. Avoid political discussions and talk about COVID-19, especially given the level of misinformation out there already. Use your online time to distract yourself and to be social.
Commit to a routine
- Plan out your time and post it in a location where you’ll see it. This is especially important if you have small children who crave a routine.
- Try to follow your routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time every day and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule, if you need to do so.
- Plan activities to do on different days.
- Agree on a household routine, and make sure everyone has a say in the schedule.
- Plan regular dinners together. Even if you’ve spent all day in the same place, between work and chores, it’s doubtful that you’ve had a lot of time to talk.
- Try to respect each other’s privacy and give each other space when they want it.
You should build some type of physical activity into your daily routine, regardless of whether you have home exercise equipment. Try:
- Vigorous cleaning like scrubbing the bathroom or wiping down windows
- Walking or jogging up and down stairs a few times
- Online exercise workouts that you can follow
- Stretching, yoga or simple calisthenics like jumping jacks
Seek out sunlight, fresh air and nature
Sunlight, fresh air and nature are vital to mental health and well-being. Each can improve mood, reduce stress and anger, and ease tension:
- Open windows to let in fresh air and try to get as much natural sunlight as you can. If you have a yard, spend time there, or sit on your doorstep.
- Find a comfortable space by a window where you can get a view of trees, animals or the sky.
- Take a virtual tour of the national parks. NPS.gov offers photos and videos of the best sites in each of the parks. Or take a virtual tour on Google maps. You’ll be surprised at how immersive an experience it can be.
Exercise the brain
- Your local libraries may have apps you can use to borrow ebooks, audiobooks or magazines from home for free.
- There are lots of apps that can help you learn things, such as a foreign language or other new skills.
- Keep challenging yourself with puzzles, games, quizzes. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and documentaries.
- How are your finances? Now’s the perfect time to review your accounts and get a picture of how close you are to your financial goals.
Source: Navigating Home Life Guide, ComPsych Corp.