Happy St Patrick’s Day!
As we all do our best to curb the spread of the virus by self-isolation or by working from home, it can take a toll on our relationships, our mental health and our physical health too. Personally, the words @socialisolation feels like we shouldn’t talk or connect with one another. I prefer the words @physicalisolation. So we stay connected but we physically distance ourselves to hopefully prevent the infection from spreading.
As an attachment-based, emotionally focused therapist, I know we are social creatures by nature and we need connection and conversation to be healthy and survive. I also see this time of self-isolation as life, giving us time for a pause, gratitude, appreciation and reflection from the hustle and bustle of work-life and catch up on things. Here are some suggestions to stay connected and reconnect with yourself too.
It’s time to rekindle our relationships.
Checking in on our relatives to see if they are ok, for some of us, is something that doesn’t take much effort. A chat with them will do wonders for their mental health. For couples, it’s time for that tough discussion that we need to do, that bring us closer. For families, depending on the age of your children, I remember playing board games when I was younger, and that helped me learn about relationships and myself. It’s also extra quiet time for some of us who have exams this summer. So make the most of being away from school!
Check-in with our neighbours and friends
Don’t forget, check-in with your neighbours and friends. The #self-isolation requirement can increase the feelings of loneliness. Loneliness can also increase the mortality rate. So keeping in contact with our friends and neighbours can break the isolation we may feel creeping upon us in the next few days or even weeks.
Especially for our neighbours or friends who are not mobile or find it difficult to leave the house for whatever reason. Why not offer to get the shopping done. Or you can deliver or make food for them. Offer to pick up their medication or show them how to get their medicine online.
If they like to read the offer to get books from the library or offer your own books. Or show them how to surf for reading materials online! My friends and I have started a list of box sets we can binge-watch, which is fabulous! I have started mine too. Why not share a list of box sets they can watch. So, when you call them up for a chat, you can talk about the books they have read or the box sets they have watched.
This is also the time to learn or teach others how to @skype or @zoom or use other teleconference platforms so that they can communicate and ‘see’ their family and friends near and far.
Stuff you can do for yourself
Start or finish that project or book that you have been meaning to do. This is also the time to learn something new! You now have all the time in the world! Learn how to get online to talk to your loved ones. Instead of overwhelming yourself with #coronavirus information, learn something online. There are so many free online courses you can do. I don’t mean an online degree or master’s class, but there are subject like knitting and calligraphy for the creatives, to corporate classes that help you to upgrade your skills.
Personally, I have been meaning to start listening to podcasts and/or audiobooks as I clean up my ever-messy linen cupboard! That space has been dying for a makeover and cleans up for years now. This is the time to do it!
Finally, when was the last time you slept? Like a good, deep, long sleep without worry having to wake up early and trek to work. This is the time to take that time back and sleep in for a bit. I bet your mood will be way better too. Good sleep equals good spirits equal better day to day interaction with your friends and family and work also. It will help us face these trying times better too.
So, we are not #sociallyseparating really. We are #physicallyseparating. We are physically disconnecting and reconnect with everyone.
Have a good rest, stay safe, stay connected and look after each other!
Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality. Perspectives On Psychological Science, 10(2), 227-237. doi: 10.1177/1745691614568352
Triantafillou, S., Saeb, S., Lattie, E. G., Mohr, D. C., & Kording, K. P. (2019). Relationship Between Sleep Quality and Mood: Ecological Momentary Assessment Study. JMIR mental health, 6(3), e12613. https://doi.org/10.2196/12613