Social Distancing, a New Phenomenon so How Do We Deal With It?

Here’s How To Make It Through!

Social distancing, what does that even mean anyway? Social or physical distancing are non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures done to prevent the spread of a contagious disease reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other.

A nation asked by our government to stay at home and practice social distancing. We have been practicing social distancing now for over four weeks and there are rumblings that it will stretch through June- a total of 3 and a half months.

Human beings are social creatures and the new protocols of voluntarily quarantining and social distancing are not natural.  We are wired with the desire of the community. Because we are social beings, social distancing can have a negative impact on both our mental and physical well being.

A wide range of negative effects brought on by loneliness may include:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Increased stress
  • Decreased memory
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Poor decision making
  • Substance use disorder
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Delusional brain function
  • Depression and suicide

If you normally suffer from depression or anxiety, you may feel any, or all these effects more deeply due to the current coronavirus culture.  The loneliness you feel from the mandatory social distancing, working from home, hand washing, and lack of supplies may make the impact more dramatic.

Are there people more psychologically at risk than others?  Research shows that there are groups more at risk than others.  Those high-risk groups are:

  • Between 16-24 years of age
  • Women
  • Those who have a history of mental illness 
  • Those who have only one child as opposed to having more than one or none
  • Those that work in the healthcare industry
  • Those that have experienced past trauma

As you have probably experienced with yourself, your family, and your friends, there are common and uncommon reactions to the current social distancing situation and that is to be expected.  Some common emotions are:

  • Fear: it is normal to worry that you or your loved ones will be inflicted with Covid-19, the virus is contagious and the fact is, there will be many people who suffer from and even lose their lives to this pandemic.
  • Anxiety: Just look around, many people are feeling anxious about getting the food and supplies that they need.  Some people are even going so far as to hoard supplies at the risk and detriment to others.  It is not normal, in our lifetime to see empty store shelves and lines to enter banks and grocery stores.
  • Boredom: With our regular activities put on hold, it is no wonder that many are suffering from the boredom of self-containment. 
  • Depression: Mental health is just as important as physical health and people are more susceptible to depression in times of stress.
  • Anger, frustration, and irritability: People feel angry at the lack of control over the coronavirus situation and the way it has been managed.  Feeling frustrated with the fact that you can’t work or go about your daily life is normal.  As social distancing goes on, feeling irritable is a natural and expected feeling.

Now that you know that your feelings are normal and to be expected, what can you do to manage them in a healthy way?

  1. Acknowledge that these are unprecedented and stressful times.
  2. Use technology and be creative to stay connected while participating in social distancing.
  3. Practice feeling grateful and look for the silver lining.
  4. Exercise your mind, your heart, and your body with a daily routine.
  5. Be kind and compassionate to others. Being of service benefits you and those you serve too.
  6. Keep your sense of humor, laughing creates happy hormones and helps manage stress.
  7. Practice mindfulness and living in the “now” which is also a great way to live through these hard times.

This is the bottom line, while you are practicing social distancing for the physical health of all, make sure you that you are not ignoring your mental health.  With the conflicting news coverage, rumors, and conspiracy theories, limiting your exposure is recommended to maintain good mental health.

Healing Springs Ranch an internationally recognized residential treatment center known for its integrative work with adults recovering from ALL addictions (both process and substance) encourages you and your family to heal from the inside out.  We work with you to balance your physical and mental states because we understand the importance of whole-person wellness. Contact Healing Springs Ranch today.

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