Now that the world has been prompted to exercise preventative measures to flatten the curve of the spreading of COVID-19, social distancing (e.g., avoiding crowds, more closure of public places) has been suggested to be widely implemented to help fight the spread.
However, long social isolation can lead to negative effects on our mental health. Therefore, while we may be in it for longer than anyone would want, the Wellness Center would like to remind you that you are not doing this alone, and there are ways that we can all follow the social distancing measures without feeling disconnected. Together let’s help each other also flatten the curve of mental health impacts of this public health crisis.
Remember, constantly checking, watching, reading, and listening to the news on COVID-19 is not the way to feel connected and you should minimize them to mitigate your anxiety. Instead, make it a routine to stay connected in other ways. Check out some ideas below! And please share with us what other ideas you have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Go on a virtual museum tour for an artful connection: Free virtual museum
- Block time out regularly to Skype, Zoom, or Facetime with family, a friend or loved one, especially if you are not with them physically.
- Join a virtual reading group with people around the world to satisfy your intellectual curiosity Virtual reading groups or Create your own unique Fulbright ones! We
- Check out what psychology students in one institution in the U.S. are listening to and add songs to our own playlist at Fulbright Wellness Playlist; or, listen to this Isle of Calm playlist.
- Go outside! Engage with nature, go to a park, walk around your neighborhood, sit outside of your home a bit, get a breath of fresh air. Just don’t forget your mask (and 70% alcohol hand gel) 😊
- Watch 100 Humans on Netflix—a new psychology-focused series.
- Exercise—good for mental and physical health! There are plenty of good, free YouTube channels with exercise videos—Yoga with Adriene, FitnessBlender, or a 5-min Kpop Dance Tutorial! Got 5 minutes?
- Attitude shift: According to American Psychological Association (APA, 2020), focusing on the altruistic reasons for social distancing can also help reduce our own distress. Remember that by taking such measures, you are reducing the possibility of transmitting COVID-19 and protecting those who are most vulnerable.
Take some moments for reflection, if you enjoy reflective practices (source: Healthy Minds Innovations):
- Become aware of how extraordinarily interconnected we are.
- If you are feeling frustrated about remaining at home so much, try to remind yourself that the plight of many others is just as, and in some cases, much more challenging. Also, take this as an opportunity to appreciate the contributions of those around us for all they are doing to help in this crisis.
- This is a compelling opportunity to recognize that in addition to minimizing the likelihood of exposure ourselves, social distancing is also an act of generosity and compassion toward others by eliminating our interactions as a possible vector for viral transmission. Let that sink in – the primary motivation for social distancing is to benefit others.
- Doodle together 😊
- Enjoy the “Cattening” the Curve picture for a good nerdy chuckle (source: Stats with Cats)
- The Wellness Center is planning to offer weekly short zoom meditation sessions where we can create a quiet and safe virtual space to be together. Stay tuned!
- The Wellness Center is here for you (virtual and all). Book an appointment here Wellness Bookings
Dr. Jill Sirikantraporn