As the CDC and WHO have suggested, many companies, schools, restuarants/bars, gyms, small businesses, etc. have started implementing social distancing practices, whether by state government order or their own choosing for the best interest of the greater good.
Currently, the CDC is not recommending any gatherings of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks. Many adults are working from home and children are out of school. What we understand is this will help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, while hopefully making things more manageable for our medical care workers.
But, what does this mean for those who are prone to depression and anxiety? Spending days at home, whether alone or with the family/roommates can lead to spiraling deeper into depression or anxiety. We can feel like there is nothing to do but focus on the bad rather than the good and it can feel lonely at times.
Here are a couple of quick tips to use while riding out the novel coronavirus and slowing the spread:
Workout – find some space in your apartment or home to do a workout. Some gyms are providing virtual workouts for the coming weeks. There are also programs online for on demand workouts. Whether you are part of a gym who will be live streaming coaches leading you through a workout, streaming a workout on demand, or using that dusty elliptical that had been a laundry rack until now; working out is good not only for physical health, but your mental health as well. BONUS: Working out is said to help boost your immunity.
Facetime/Video Chats: Call your friends or family that may live in another region. Spend some time chatting with them. Stay connected as best as possible. Just because restaurants are closed to in person dining, doesn’t mean we can’t still have our time with our loved ones. You could even have dinner at the same time as your friend via FaceTime. Get creative!
Read: During times like this, it is so easy to get wrapped up into streaming services. Give yourself and your eyes a break from the screens (you’ll probably be on a computer a lot for work) and pick up a book. Reading can be so therapeutic and take us away from our worries for a bit.
Journal: It’s a tried and true coping skill to journal. Journal about your experiences during this time. It’s a unique time in everyone’s lives and journaling could not only prove to be helpful to cope with the anxiety or depression, but it could be interesting to look back on when we have moved past this and are no longer being encouraged to partake in social distancing.
Start that Hobby: You know how you’ve been meaning to relearn the piano or take up knitting? Now is the perfect time to do this. Look for a hobby that is calming to you, order yourself those adult coloring books, learn to bake bread, you can even start your spring cleaning! Whatever you’ve been meaning to do that weekend that you didn’t have any plans, you can start it now.
Check with your Therapist: Most therapists are working tirelessly to provide their clients with Telehealth options. Reach out to your therapist to see what they plan on doing to help keep you and the rest of the community safe by limiting travel to and from offices. If you do not have a therapist and would like to speak to you, you can check the ADAA Find A Therapist Directory to find a therapist near you. If you are in or near Chicago, Light On Anxiety has wonderful therapists you may schedule with here.
Be Kind to Yourself: These are very interesting times that we are all trying to learn how to navigate. Grant yourself extra kindness to get through the next few days/weeks. It can go a long way.