5 Tips for Avoiding the Isolation Blues
By Chris Brown
The uncertainty of the pandemic, alongside rumors of potentially new lockdowns as the winter flu season approaches, can revive fears and anxiety around isolation. However, while the last two years have taught us about the unpredictability of shutdowns, these five tips can help you avoid the isolation blues.
Communicate With Others
When everything closes and public spaces become a cesspool of deadly viruses, it may be tempting to isolate yourself completely from the outside world. However, that is not a healthy approach according to clinical psychologist Dr. Neda Gould. Humans are social creatures and require interactions in order to remain mentally strong. When in-person socialization is impossible, use technology to talk to others through the phone, video call, or video games. Maintaining a community can make the difference while trying to wrestle with the challenges of stay-at-home orders.
Mindful practices, such as meditation and yoga, have a long history of success for managing stressful situations. While meditation requires practice to maximize its benefits of mental resilience, the practice of meditation can grant a sense of peace and emotional well-being even for beginners.
Be Cognizant of the Warning Signs of Depression
Daily self-checks can be an early-warning alert system when it comes to developing depression. Especially during the stresses of isolation, depression can sneak up on people and often remains undetected until it reaches a point of crisis. Catching the signs of depression-fatigue and sleep problems, irritability, appetite changes, and anxiety-early could allow you to change your patterns and incorporate positive activities to improve your state before it goes too deep into the depressive hole.
Remind Yourself of Your Strengths and Resiliency
In times of struggle, it is important to remember the hardships that you have overcome in the past. Having collectively survived these last couple years has given everyone the knowledge that they are capable of being resilient in the face of a global crisis. The unknown is the scariest aspect of any experience and reminding yourself of your previous victory over stay-at-home mandates can provide you with the mental fortitude to overcome another trip through isolation.
Get Outside and Exercise
Depending upon the lockdown's severity, and your local living situation, it is crucially important to get outside in daylight, however possible. Sunlight has direct correlations with serotonin (a mood stabilizing neurotransmitter) levels and happiness. Additionally, exercise has well-researched benefits when it comes to mental well-being. Combining the two in outdoor exercise maximizes the mental benefits to strengthen your emotional state. If going outside is not an option, exercising near a window is a secondary solution.
Utilizing these five tools for isolation can keep you mentally strong, if and when the next lockdown occurs.
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