Three keys that can help during the difficult challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic are to maintain your routine, to find time daily to do something you enjoy and to find ways to connect with others while maintaining social distancing, said Mandy Kaisner, chief operations officer for Solvista Health, and Sona Dimidjian, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
“I’ve spent 20 years studying depression, and one widely supported approach is paying attention to routine and avoid disruption of your life,” Dimidjian said.
If working from home, Dimidjian said, prepare for the day as you usually would, by keeping a similar schedule, showering and dressing for work every day and keeping a scheduled work routine.
When it comes to finding ways to doing something we enjoy, Kaisner suggested getting out family games, working on physical health either at home or individually outside, doing hobbies or activities you may enjoy, trying something new and in general just staying as engaged as possible.
“While it’s important to know some of the common emotions people may experience with social distancing, it’s also important to emphasize that we are resilient, and as a community we can come together to support one another through this tough time – we will just need to ‘come together’ in a different way,” Kaisner said “Consider if there are ways of outreaching friends and family using video options. Take the time to support our youth during this time. It’s an opportunity to dust off those family games you may have in the attic somewhere.”
When it comes to staying connected with friends and family during this period of social distancing, technology offers many options. Many smartphones also have video options, such as Facetime.
There are also several options for video conferencing from your personal computer, including Facebook and Discord.
Many online games, through personal computer, phone and gaming console, offer networked games that can be played with others.
Of course, spending too much time on social media can be a problem as well.
Kaisner said it is also important to keep the feelings of others in mind during this difficult time.
“It’s important to note that everyone responds to stressful situations differently,” she said. “While many people are experiencing anxiety and fear during this time, it is also important to note that others may be experiencing loneliness or even anger in reaction to social distancing. We can also see increases in symptoms of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, by which people begin experiencing distressing memories, feeling on edge or ‘startled’ all of the time.”
Dimidjian said one of the ways anxiety can manifest itself during times such as this is through hoarding things, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
She said that while buying these products might create a sense of relief and safety, that feeling can be taken too far and begin to spiral, which would lead to illogical behavior, such as hoarding.
“Most importantly, I think it is very important that we remind ourselves what the purpose of social distancing is,” Kaisner said. “We do this to protect our most vulnerable. Many of us have loved ones that we can easily identify that fit within this category.
“This is an unprecedented time in our country. When we look back in history, we can tell our grandkids about the efforts we took to protect our family members and our community. We can tell them how, as a community, we stood together and supported one another in a fully virtual environment. In these hard times, we have an opportunity to be part of something greater than ourselves.”
Kaisner said Solvista is offering help in several ways. She said you can call their local number, 719-539-6520, to arrange to speak to a counselor, text TALK to 38255 from anywhere in the state or visit solvistahealth.org for more information.
From our sister paper The Mountain Mail at www.themountainmail.com