Does anyone else think the word ‘social distancing’ is synonymous to ‘boring’?
Well, I sure do.
But boring is manageable, and necessary sometimes. Like when you’re finishing a project at work, doing chores at home, and calling that aunt that talks for hours.
Unfortunately, social distancing isn’t just boring, but it’s potentially very dangerous to your mental health.
But all you can do is just sit and wait, hoping that the quarantine will be over soon, right?
Wrong. There is more that you can do!
This article will be discussing the importance of mental health, the effects of quarantining on mental health, and 2 things you can do to help prevent the negative effects of quarantine on your mental health.
Why is Mental Health so Important?
Mental health is important for everyone, even if you don’t think so. According to trusted sources, good mental health leads to higher levels of contentment, sharpens your ability to learn, contributes to better relationships, and improves your coping abilities.
It would be fine if mental health only improved your life, and neglecting it had no consequences. According to experts in the field, bad mental health may lead to prompt extreme weight loss, excess weight gain, unexplained aches, pains, drug and alcohol abuse, and worse of all – self-harm.
So, therefore, good mental health makes you a much higher-functioning individual and bad mental health can lead to a significant loss in life quality and contentment, physical pain and self-harm.
Social Distancing Sucks…No Seriously
But social distancing does not have to mean emotional distancing.
With the current Coronavirus pandemic, many countries have mandated social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus. Like never seen before, whole industries have shut down, most people now work from home, and worldwide closure of schools and religious institutions.
Most people in the world are currently under quarantine, and it’s not without its negative effects – as humans are innately social.
According to the Australian Psychological Association (APA) quarantining is correlated to mental health diseases like anxiety, fear and even depression. In fact, some studies show that quarantining may even result in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
The APA identifies the most vulnerable populations as the elderly, healthcare workers, and individuals who require special attention for medical conditions (e.g. individuals who need ventilators full-time).
In the next sections of this article, we will talk about things you can do to health to maintain and maybe even improve your mental health for the coming weeks and months.
Move Your Body
Believe it or not, exercise is one of the best ways to maintain your mental health now and in general. Studies find that exercise is effective at improving mental health and especially potent in fighting depression.
It might be frustrating though. You may be telling yourself “I’d love to exercise, but all the gyms are closed!”.
Well, good news for you, studies show that the mental health benefits of exercise occur even when you walk for as little as 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Better yet, research shows that it doesn’t even have to be continuous. In other words, instead of one big 30-minute walk, you could walk for 10 minutes three separate times.
Ring, Ring, Ring
According to experts, loneliness can increase stress, ruin sleep, increase chance for stroke and dementia, and many other problems.
So, communicate with your friends and family as much as you can by phone and video chat. Although it may be a lesser substitute to real interaction – but it will benefit both you and the other part you are talking to. Don’t let you or vulnerable family and friends fall into isolation, especially if you have elderly parents or relatives.
All in all, it looks like the pandemic may be here to stay for a while. This means we may be quarantined for the next while, and quarantine is known to affect mental health. Maintenance of mental health is especially important for optimal function, and life satisfaction and bad mental health may lead to disastrous consequences.
So, go take a walk and pick up the phone to make sure your family is doing okay. Together we will get through this crisis, and still maintain great mental health.
What are you doing to protect yourself during the pandemic? Tell us in the comments below…
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This is not medical advice; this article was created for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not delay seeking medical advice or disregard it due to any content on this website or included in this post.