Social Distancing and Staying Mentally Healthy
At the beginning of lockdown, social isolation, restrictions on our activities, and limited contact with our friends due to Covid-19 were relatively bearable.
Now, for many, after months of social distancing, it is not.
Many people are beginning to experience a severe decline in their mental health during this time, particularly 16-24-year-olds, women, those with a history of mental health issues and health workers.
It hasn’t helped with the conflicting information surrounding social distancing guidelines, which has heightened the stress and anxiety with the confusion and fearmongering.
The very phrase ‘social distancing’ makes you feel depressed – keeping away from other people goes against our human psyche as we are ‘herd’ animals and want to feel connected to each other, we are biologically wired to be part of a human group, after all.
Even if we appreciate why we have to keep our distance from each other, it doesn’t mean we have to like it, and for some of us, well, it’s damaging our mental health.
Feeling lonely during this pandemic is usual, but for some of us, this loneliness may be challenging to manage.
Those people who have a pre-existing mental health issue are probably suffering from not going to their ‘non-essential’ therapy sessions. Still, there has been an increase in people requiring mental health support due to heightened feelings of anxiety and depression amongst many of us who weren’t suffering before.
This is because we have a sense of loss with social distancing – a loss of structure and routine as we try and balance working from home with childcare, a loss of face-to-face interaction, and a loss of meaning of daily life.
Physically being around others and giving your friends or family a hug releases oxytocin, the love or feelgood hormone, and which plays an essential role in happiness, positive mental health, and the feeling of belonging, all of which are imperative for optimal mental health.
The physical distancing that COVID-19 brings means we are not able to get the same levels of oxytocin, and thus it is reasonable to experience feelings of low mood and detachment.
So, what can we do to stay mentally healthy?
What is important to remember is that social distancing is not social isolation – you can still keep in touch with your friends and family with technology.
There are several things we can try and do while we still have to social distance ourselves during this challenging and stressful time.
But if you are finding creating your daily structure of exercise, nutrition, having fun activities, and talking to your friends and family with technology aren’t helping you enough to combat the depression, perhaps it’s time you sought professional help.
Asking for help is taking care of yourself
We must recognise that depression isn’t a sign of weakness and that asking for help and support is the right thing to do if you can’t manage it alone.
With the advent of online therapy and support, you could receive online counselling from professional therapists using Zoom, Skype and FaceTime, apps, texts, emails to name but a few tech devices which are now being used to help you manage the fallout from social distancing.
By going online to a website such as beecholmeadultcare.co.uk, you can choose a therapist or life coach who can help you through this challenging period.
They’ll help you find new ways to reconnect, even during a global crisis. You’re not alone.