Psychologists are still discovering the long-term effects of social distancing. Still, many clients report that their overall mental health has steeply declined as the pandemic forced them to isolate themselves from others. If you are one of the people who know you are negatively impacted by social isolation, there are steps that you can take to stay more positive.
If practicing social distancing has caused you to spend more time doing nothing, it is natural for your mental health to decline because humans are built to stay active. Consider going for a walk or a run as physical exercise releases dopamine into your bloodstream, which acts as a natural upper. You may also want to consider gardening, even if you raise a houseplant or two indoors. Psychologists know that playing in the dirt releases dopamine as does doing a creative activity. If possible, consider outdoor activities where you can still practice social distancing as interacting with nature will also help boost your mood.
You can still stay in social isolation and build stronger connections with those around you. There is lots of technology that can help, like Facebook, Zoom and Google messenger. Practice being aware of your own emotions during these events. These activities can help you overcome the long term effects of social distancing. It may help to journal about them to find common triggers and learn how to manage them. You may even want to set up a daily meeting with a friend or two and offer each other daily affirmations.
Learn Something New
Attention, organization, planning and multitasking are all skills needed to learn something new, and they are skills that many people with mental illnesses have trouble performing. If you have more time on your hands during the pandemic, consider learning more about a subject that has always fascinated you. Try pre-planning what you want to learn, then carry out your plan. Make it a point to consider how you could have learned about the subject better and put that into practice to learn even more.
In much of the US, as the weather turns colder during the winter, a new indoor craft like paper crafting can help you develop a new talent like making handmade cards that you can share with loved ones during the holidays.
Learn to Accept Yourself
Many people have trouble accepting themselves. It consists of two different parts with self-esteem and self-concept. Participate regularly in activities that will build your self-esteem, which evaluates our positive or negative value. Praise yourself for those traits you have mastered and develop a plan to work on the negative while leaving plenty of room for grace. Self-concept refers to all your beliefs. Try creating a project that shows your core values that others can enjoy. It can be a drawing, collage, creative writing or another type of project.
Learn to Be Adaptable
The pandemic has forced many people to work hard on being adaptable. Think about ways you have adapted since March 2020 and praise yourself for making positive adjustments. Think about the areas where you need to be more flexible and resolve to do a better job. Give yourself a small reward when you positively adapt to a new situation because the pandemic has been a big adjustment for everyone.
Focusing on these things will improve your mental health.