As we move beyond the two week mark of school closures and state-mandated lockdowns, isolation and social distancing can truly begin to take a toll on our mental health. While many of us have adjusted to this new normal, it doesn’t mean that it’s positive or healthy for us in the long run. Humans are social creatures and we thrive on social engagement, interpersonal connection, and daily norms. While we will get through this, it’s important to take care of ourselves and those around us during these trying times. Here are some tips for staying mentally healthy during social distancing and isolation.
Prioritize Face-to-Face Contact with Friends
Many of us are used to seeing our friends, coworkers, or even our favorite barista on a daily basis. Now that we are all planted at home, these routine catch-ups are infrequent or even nonexistent. Since we must maintain social distance in order to protect ourselves and others, it’s vital to schedule video chats with loved ones. Sure, we can keep up on social media, but having face-to-face engagement with another person is much more uplifting and personal. We are all busy homeschooling our children, working out of the house, and trying to stay healthy. However, it is of the utmost importance to prioritize spending time (virtually) with friends, relatives, and coworkers.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
It’s tempting to give into quick, comforting foods at a time like this – especially as winter storms still linger on the horizon. However, sticking with a (mostly) healthy diet while cooped up inside will help your mind and body feel and function better. Fortunately for us, Boulder has a plethora of health-conscious restaurants still delivering to the surrounding area.
Many are doing a huge part in helping our community. Arcana has implemented a “pay what you can” meal system to help feed the neediest members of our neighborhoods while BarTaco is funneling all proceeds from gift card purchases to its employee fund. Boss Lady Pizza is accepting nominations for a family of the week that could benefit from a dinner, on the house. Support our local economy and community by ordering takeout or delivery from many of Boulder’s conscious establishments. We’ve put together an infographic of a few of our favorite restaurants and their offerings.
Perform Meaningful Activities
Instead of binge watching your favorite Netflix show or reorganizing the sock drawer, jot down a list of things you’ve been intending to do, but haven’t had the time. Dedicate a few days a week, or even a few hours a day, to accomplishing these tasks. Perhaps you’ve wanted to write letters to your friends telling them how much they mean to you. Maybe you have long attempted to make memory books of precious family moments. Now is the time to spend our energy on meaningful activities and practices that give hope, courage, and inspiration to ourselves and others.
Lighten the Mood
Staying indoors and interacting with the same people, even though they’re your family, day in and day out can become tedious and dull. There are plenty of fun indoor activities you can do to uplift the mood of the entire household. Host a dance party in the living room and have everyone join you to shake out all that pent up energy. If you’re close with your neighbors, schedule an after-work happy hour in everyone’s respective front lawns. Watch a ridiculous, cheesy comedy or put on stand-up from your favorite comedian. Laughter really is the best medicine.
Stick to a Routine
The majority of us are so used to having a routine that we immediately feel when it’s been thrown off. Now, almost everyone’s daily life has changed course with no end in sight. Create a routine that involves time alone, exercise, work, play, virtual interaction, and anything else that brings joy to your day. Try and adhere to this routine as much as possible in order to feel accomplished, content, and regimented. Our mental health truly suffers when we don’t know what the next day looks like. Having a routine can definitely lighten this load.
While our lives have been temporarily put on pause, it’s important to remember that we can still uplift and support each other, and ourselves. Be compassionate and extend grace to family, friends, and coworkers. We are all suffering in our own ways and need each other now more than ever.