If by now you’re starting to feel the effects of dealing with social isolation on your mental health you are not alone. We as humans, are social beings and spending time with others has a hugely positive impact on our wellbeing. Without this, it’s natural that our moods, feelings and approach to everyday life can change.
Coping with isolation is hard for all of us and we will all find different ways to manage our feelings. There has been such a wave of support and kindness that has come from lock-down so it’s important that we reflect on the good as well as the challenges and appreciate some of the things that social distancing has taught us…for the better.
1. We’re all in this together supporting the greater good – During this time we will all feel lonely at some point, however it’s great to see that the majority of us are respecting social distancing guidelines to support the greater good. Some days coping with isolation will be easier than others but if you find that you’re struggling, try standing in front of a mirror and saying to yourself that you are not alone, we are all going through this together, it’s not permanent and that by staying home you are keeping your loved ones safe. Keep repeating until you feel your anxieties begin to ease.
2. We’re appreciating local businesses – At the beginning of the lock-down we were probably all guilty of reaching for the naughtier snacks like chocolate, crisps and alcohol – and that’s ok. It’s natural for us to indulge in comfort food when feeling unsettled. However, we know this can have a negative impact on our mood and energy levels over time, which is why reports of local businesses experiencing surges of customers wanting to support them during this challenging time by purchasing fresh produce is a wonderful thing.
3. We’re more focused on our physical health – With an influx of fitness influencers sharing their tips for easy-to-follow exercise sessions at home together with free online workouts available through Instagram and YouTube, we’re all becoming a lot more conscious of our physical wellbeing which in turn is helping us to feel better at a time we need it more than ever.
4. The NHS and careers are receiving the recognition they deserve – From the 99-year-old WW2 veteran raising millions for the NHS by completing laps in his garden and Thursday night’s weekly ‘Clap for our Carers’, to the ‘run 5, donate £5’ fitness challenge taking Instagram by storm, the nation is coming together to proudly celebrate all the amazing people who are caring for those being treated with and recovering from the coronavirus.
5. We’re bonding as a community – Whether it’s supporting elderly and vulnerable neighbours with shopping or making a conscious effort to say hello to those around you, communities all over the UK are coming together and forming relationships helping us to feel more connected and united, which can have such a positive impact when we’re missing friends and family.
6. We appreciate the great outdoors, now more than ever – Even if you have a garden, being in your home environment can feel hugely claustrophobic, which is why it’s so important that if you’re not self-isolating you get outside at least once a day to soak up different scenery. One thing the lock-down has taught us is to enjoy the great outdoors we have available to us, including all the nature we’d usually take for granted.
7. We’re learning how to express ourselves creatively – As we socially isolate, we can lack mental stimulation causing us to feel more lethargic and irritated. But, with an increased amount of time on our hands, many of us are trying out a new creative hobby such as paint by numbers, colouring in books and crochet which are all perfect outlets to express and occupy ourselves.
8. There’s a growing appreciation for the everyday norm – At first, the thought of being home in joggers all day without washing our hair was welcomed by many of us. However, this feeling tends to not last too long and without proper structure our moods can become affected. Getting showered and dressed each day as we would if we were going about our normal activities is being appreciated more than ever in helping us to feel in control of the current situation and allowing us to start our day off in a positive way.
9. We’ve grown a newfound respect for our planet – With the lack of transport on the roads and in the skies, there has been a marked decrease in smog, air pollution and CO2 levels across the globe with countries like Japan and Venice in particular experiencing huge positive changes to their environments. Not only are we falling in love with getting around by foot, but we are all likely to come out of this experience having a newfound respect for our planet and understanding of how we can better support it for generations to come.
10. We’re opening up about our feelings – All of us in some way will be worried about what happens post-COVID. The current environment is so challenging, not only because it’s constantly evolving, but also because coping with isolation is beyond anything we have ever had to deal with before which makes it an anxious time. That’s why it’s great to see so many of us opening up about our feelings and how they are changing, helping us to support ourselves and others in the best way possible. However, sometimes this can be difficult to do, and that’s ok, because there are other ways you can receive the support you need. Online therapy can be a great way to speak to someone qualified who can help talk through your feelings at a time and via a platform that’s most comfortable for you.