With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, maintaining a healthy mind is more important than ever. The practice of social distancing has been put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While this is effective for your physical health and those in the higher-risk categories, it can negatively affect your mental health. Social distancing may inadvertently lead to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Thankfully, there are ways that help ease these feelings so you can improve your health and well-being.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is where we maintain a certain amount of physical distance from other people. To curb the transmission of COVID-19, people have been asked to stay six feet apart from anyone who is not part of their immediate social circle. No face to face contact. This has completely changed the way people live. In some areas, you are not allowed to visit with friends or family. Many businesses are shut down, people no longer go into work, and travel has basically been halted. Social distancing is good for reducing transmission but bad for your mental health.
The term social distancing itself can have negative associations. Social distancing can sometimes make you feel as though you have to completely cut yourself off from others. The term physical distancing may be a better way to look at the situation. In this case, you must remain physically distant from others but can be social, if you do so safely.
The Role Social Media Plays When Social Distancing?
Social media is an important way to connect with others. It is one way of practicing social distancing. Humans are social creatures who need to communicate with others regularly. During the pandemic, social media is being used to maintain social connections.
There are many tools available through social media to help you stay connected to your friends and family. For example, many video chat options enable you to not only hear but allow you to see the people you are missing. There are also many groups and conversations that you can join to express your feelings.
This type of connection is vital for everyone. Still, it is even more so essential for those with existing mental health issues.
The Benefits of Online Counseling
It is easy to say that you need to maintain social connections during the pandemic. It is much harder to actually do so. Social interactions directly affect a person’s mental health.
If you find yourself struggling with your own mental health, seeking professional health care online may be a great solution. Talk therapy, family counseling, and counseling for teens and kids are all available online. While you may have some reservations about seeking therapy online, there are many benefits to this counseling style.
- Safe space to talk about your feelings
- Accessible – anyone with a computer can take part
- Can be anonymous
- Sessions can be completed at any time of day
- Can maintain social distance
How Not to Feel Lonely?
Loneliness has been a very real effect of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is essential to protect people, but it is also important to protect your mental health. Should you find yourself feeling lonely, here are a few ways to help relieve the feeling of isolation.
Ways to alleviate the feeling of loneliness
- Go for a walk. You can see other people without having to get close to them
- Talk to your friends and family on social media
- Join a chat group and talk to people who are experiencing the same feelings as you
- Try online counseling
- Call your friends on the phone
- Remind yourself that you are not alone
Most people have taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. They are following the rules set out by the government to limit the spread and flatten the curve. Unfortunately, many people are suffering from noticeable deterioration in their mental health. If this sounds like you, there are ways to cope with the problems. Try connecting with others on social media or enlisting the help of a mental health professional online.
You are not alone.