It’s week who-knows-what of quarantine, and if you’re not on the frontlines, you’re still at home. Whether you’re alone, in a house full of people, or with your partner, you’re isolated and away from your normal routine in a time when everything is uncertain. This is a difficult time for everyone, and our mental health has taken notice. Although lockdowns are starting to be lifted in some states, social distancing is still our new normal.
If you’re struggling during this time, know that you are not alone. We are all in the struggle with you.
Although we can not control solving the cure for Coronavirus or when the doors will open, we can practice self care and start paying attention to what our stress responses are communicating to us. We can reach out to our support systems and let them know what we’re struggling with. We can find new ways to cope and carry ourselves through this moment in time.
We asked California-based Life and Relationship Coach Louise Head to walk us through her tips on navigating the loneliness, uncertainty, and overwhelm of these times, especially when we feel like we’re beginning to spiral into a dark place.
“Social isolation has very real impacts on mental health, so my first suggestion is not to ignore signs that you are beginning to feel overwhelmed. Our culture often under-prioritizes addressing mental wellness so it can be easy to find yourself minimizing your own experience or judging yourself for feeling anxiety, depression, or a lack of energy and purpose. Experiences like losing a job, caretaking full-time, struggling financially, and being separated from loved ones are stressful. Having big feelings in response to them just means you are in touch with your body. Allow yourself to connect with your mental and emotional state and have compassion for the things that are hard right now.
Ask yourself, "What am I struggling with most?" "In what ways is social distancing impacting me that I may not have noticed?" Once you identify what feels most challenging for you, brainstorm if there are any creative ways you can get your needs met. Perhaps you miss exercising and feel restless. Can you commit to signing up for an online workout class with an accountability buddy? Maybe you miss the liveliness of group hangouts. Can you and a friend organize an online talent show or happy hour together?
Finally, make sure that you use professional resources if your creative solutions and coping mechanisms aren't working. Find an online therapist and make sure you know how to connect remotely to a medical provider to receive professional support if you're spiraling and you just can't stop.”
Joining online support groups, taking up a journaling practice, and committing to speaking to someone outside of your home over the phone at least once a day are great tools for grounding and feeling connected -- to yourself, and to community.
Moving your body releases endorphins which we could all sure use during these times. Go for a walk, stretch on the bed, have a dance party in your pajamas.
Taking breaks from screen time can really help too. Sure, our devices are what connects us to the rest of the world right now, but bright lights and endless streams of information can feel really overwhelming too when sometimes what we need is to sit with ourselves with tea and a good book.
Got any tips that have been carrying you through this quarantine? Share it with us in the comments, we’d love to know