From social distancing to working from home, the novel coronavirus has temporarily changed how we live our lives. We have all been asked to limit social contact with people we know and love, and the message from doctors, medical experts and government officials is one of responsibility to those in our communities.
These changes to your daily routines can bring a sense of uncertainty and emotional difficulties. And for many, being apart from loved ones can also bring feelings of loneliness. These feelings can show themselves through different symptoms.
Here are some symptoms and emotional responses to be on the lookout for:
- Irritability and outbursts of anger
- Difficulty sleeping
- Not interacting with those who are still around you
- Feelings of doom
- Catastrophic thoughts (e.g. “we will never get back on our feet”)
If you find that you are dealing with any of the emotional responses above, try some of the following to reduce the negative symptoms caused by stress and worry.
- Limit news time – Try to limit the amount of news you read and watch throughout the day to only 15-30 minutes, and make sure to only get news from trusted sources.
- Limit time on social media – Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or others, try to avoid social media that is negative, inaccurate or stressful. You can even filter out posts that mention certain words on most social media websites and apps!
- Create a daily schedule – Keep a daily schedule that includes consistent times for waking up and going to bed. Try to include times for productivity, creativity, personal improvement and safe socialization so you can still have well-balanced days.
- Get outside – If the weather and your health allow it, try going outside! Taking a bike ride or walk with the family is a great way to get exercise and that much-needed fresh air. Just make sure to maintain distance from any of your neighbors you see long the way.
- Make time for exercise –There are many free options for everything from yoga to HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to Zumba. Not only does this take care of your body physically, but it’s also proven to help negative emotional symptoms.
- Try a “virtual” vacation – Enjoy mental and emotional “vacations” through reading, movies and your favorite TV shows! Take some time to focus on the things you love and distract yourself from some of the negative messages you see online.
- Have a good laugh – Watch a comedy show, catch up with friends (through FaceTime!), play a game with your family or do anything that helps you laugh out loud. Several minutes of laughter produces positive hormones that we all need on a daily basis.
- Dance – Yes, put on some music and just dance! Include anyone in your household or get your friends to virtually join the dance party.
- Learn something new – Choose a new type of exercise, a new language or a new recipe! There are many classes available online for free (or YouTube instructional videos) that will help you feel productive, successful and a little busier while social distancing.
How are you feeling right now? Counselors Melanie Hoffman and Tina Thomas are taking virtual appointments to help you while still keeping you safe! Click here or call (972)599-9600 to schedule a televisit.