Coping with Isolation
We have all been given various Government advice over the past few months. This includes staying at home, and strict social distancing. This is bound to come with a feeling of isolation to some degree. Some people will tolerate this quite well, others will struggle with the lack of social interaction and loss of routine.
Being isolated from all we know can be difficult for us to deal with. Being cut off from friends and family while adjusting to a new way of living can be very stressful.
Some people will have experienced stress of managing a family and household when schools were closed, adjusting to working from home (if we are not a front line worker) our work and financial situations can become very challenging.
This can greatly impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Change is scarey at the best of times. Add on sudden and enforced change, alongside physical threats to health, and isolation - well it's little wonder people feel bad.
It is therefore important to take care of your physical and mental wellness. Some ways to do this:
Look after your body: It's easy to forget physical care in stressful times. Humans surely benefit from daily movement and exercise, taking care to eat healthily, keeping hydrated. Exercise will release endorphins as well as lower stress hormones, the bonus is you will be in a greater state of physical fitness - important when there's an unpleasant virus around. This is one of the ways I've kept myself going through these times, I can tell you it does help more than you think! It's too easy to slump into pyjamas and turn to unhealthy foods and alcohol for comfort - this will only add to the stress, as well as decrease your fitness and resilience - there is nothing comforting about that!
Maintain a routine: When isolated indoors, it's easy to miss the negative effects of losing routine. Even if you didn't have a set daily routine before this (I know I didn't) things like maintaining a good sleep and wake cycle, getting dressed each day, keeping to regular meals, can help ward off feelings of hopelessness and maintain a sense of purpose.
Plan fun: Just because we can't go out and do out usual fun stuff, we can adapt! Plan something that is just for you each day. Just knowing you have an hour each day to switch off from the world, can be enough to re-set your mind. Also plan ahead for something you'd really love to do later on when life returns to some level or normality. See, feel and imagine yourself doing this future fun thing.
This will keep your subconscious mind focused and motivated for the future.
Connect with others: The world is so much more accessible these days. Keep in touch with family or friends, or contact someone you haven't heard from in a long time. Phone or video call friends or family, use social media to keep in touch, though see below about sensible social media 😉
Limit news and social media:
We need to keep ourselves updated with events and current guidance, but too much can stress us out even more. It can help to limit your exposure to news.
Use only trusted sources eg:
Gov.UK , WHO, NHS.
Limit social media and unfollow people or pages that give you a bad feeling. Remember - lots of what you read on social media isn't true! No matter how convincing it seems, or who shared it. Also, people are likely to be highly sensitive and on edge at present, and comments can become strained!
Mental Health support: Contact your GP or local MIND or other local group for advice, or call the Samaritans if you need help. There are also lots of BWRT® therapists offering reduced rate or pro bono help throughout this time.