Social distancing has ‘devastating’ consequences for mental health patients!
Around the world, people are responding to the pandemic COVID-19 through self-care. Social distancing is a central aspect to help limit the spread of the virus. You may have heard ‘flattening the curve’. This means that social distancing would lower the number of people impacted with the virus and the condition with stabilize in a lesser time. But what is social distancing?
What does social distancing mean?
Social distancing in infectious diseases such as chicken pox or measles is common. However, during the pandemic, social distancing of the entire community means shutting off schools, curtailing social gatherings, and working from home. These efforts are done to reduce the transmission of the infectious virus and protect the seemingly healthy people from the outbreak. According to the World Health Organization, it is recommended to maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. It is also recommended that you avoid physical contact with others in social situations, including handshakes and hugs.
How does it impact mental health patients?
In a time like this most of us are worried about the physical health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones. However, during this time, we should also be concerned about the people around us who have had or have been suffering from mental health issues. This is because the social distancing would have devastating impacts on their mental health, as per psychotherapist, Emily Roberts. According to Emily, this is because we are left with our own thoughts during the isolation period. It makes you probable to overthink the situation and stress more about the ongoing situation since it is so uncertain.
Furthermore, not everyone who has been seeking help for their issues would be able to continue. This is because in-person therapy sessions are not happening. It is important to stay connected to your therapist virtually. This is because virtual therapy is found to be as effective as in person therapy. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online cognitive behavioral therapy is, “effective, acceptable and practical health care.” The study found the online cognitive behavioral therapy was equally as effective as face-to-face treatment for
major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Tips for a healthy mind
The isolation and loneliness can even put a mentally healthy person into stress and depression. Here are some tips that everyone can follow to maintain a healthy mind and reduce the stress caused by the pandemic.
Stay in touch virtually
Assure that you keep in touch with friends and family through phone or video calls. However, make sure that you know that toxic traits in these people like negative thinking and fear mongering can worsen your condition. Avoid talking about the virus because it will make you think more about the situation and result in overstressing on the issues.
Re-discover your hobbies such as reading, painting, cooking, or baking. Gardening is also a healthy hobby to explore during this time if you haven’t ever tried it. It will help you distract yourself and reduce mindless social media scrolling that will expose you to unnecessary and false news circulating the internet.
Practice stress relieving exercises
Keep moving and make sure that you practice yoga or meditation exercises. Been delaying you weight goals that you set at the beginning of the year? Now is the time to achieve that. The book you always wanted to read? Reading is also a mind exercise and will prevent you from stress.
Keep looking ahead
Be positive about the future. Plan that trip that you’ve always wanted to go to six months into the future. Have faith that the virus is a curve. Flatten the curve remember? The curve will have an end and regular life will begin again. In the meantime thank God for the things that you have always taken for granted, like a hug with a friend, or the chaos in the morning while running to office, or sending your kids off to school.