Don't Let Isolation Put You In A Box
by Michael Johnson Jr.
April 27th, 2020
'3. 2. 1. HAPPY NEW YEAARR!!!" says the entire world on December 31st, 2019. New Year is a very special time for many people, and it has it's own special meaning depending on who you ask. However for most people, we're just grateful to see another year, but also excited to see what beautiful adventure the next year has to bring. For 2020, the word adventure is definitely an understatement. I don't believe that anyone could have imagined how drastic our world would change just by the first couple month of being in new decade. No one could have guessed the great amount of loss, sadness, hurt that many people are experiencing around the world at this very moment. However, while we're learning how to fight back and the world is healing herself, it's crucial that we practice healthy mental habits to not only assist in coping with the social affect of COVID-19, but also build our mental resilience for any tough and life changing situation.
Many of our favorite bars, sporting events, concerts, movie theaters, and much more has been either closed temporarily until this 2020 villain has been reprimanded or some won't be able to recover the loss that has been dealt to them and consequently will never open again. Many of us are trapped in our homes and are only allowed to leave for necessary purposes such as going to the grocery store. However, this kind of regimen without mentally monitoring yourself and your loved ones can have its negative effects. "Forty percent of survey participants also reported they sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful and that they feel isolated. Such numbers are alarming because of the health and mental health risks associated with loneliness. According to a meta-analysis co-authored by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder. She’s also found that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity." - www.apa.org
With these alarming figures, now more than ever we have to stand guard at the doorways of our mind, protect our energies, but importantly begin teaching others to do the same. Now don't be afraid, they're very simple activities, but the key to this is practice expressing gratitude and appreciation during each technique.
Coping With Social Distancing
Stay On Track
Even though many of us are at home, it's helpful to keep your normal schedule as much as possible. If you're like me, this can be difficult because simply trying to remember what day it is is hard enough. During quarantine I tease by saying that we only have 3 days in the weeks, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the actual days are really non existent at this point. Even though the isolation feels like it could never end, but if you can try to keep some form of "normalcy" with your daily schedule it helps the process to be more managable. It's also helpful to keep a journal to log any illnesses or discomfort both mentally and physically so you can feel like your on top of the situation and now allowing situations to happen to you. Also within the journal, start writing 3 things you're grateful for each day. It doesn't have to be too elaborate or extensive, but just to remind yourself that you're still breathing, there's a lot to be grateful for even during this time, and to acknowledge to GOD that you are still blessed.
Initially, this might sound like a weird one, because if you're trying to feel better and work through a hard time why would you want to learn more about it? Come to find out, that's exactly what you should do. "In a 2020 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , an online survey of 1210 respondents from 194 cities in China showed that people who had up to date health information and advice on precautionary measures had better psychological functioning and resilience." Even though you don't want to gorge on the latest new and enable your panic, this is a great way for you to stay on top of the facts and give you a mental edge over the stress.
While it's easy to stay curled up in the covers all day or binge watch your favorite series for the 13th time, it's important to know that your mental and physical health are both sensitively intertwined with each other. Spending weeks without exercise has it's own intense negative effects on your mental health. A couple of easy solutions would be to:
1. Take a 30 minute walk around the block or on the treadmill
2. Take part in different challenges such as push ups, squats, jumping jacks etc
3. Become engaged in at home exercises on YouTube and other social media platforms
Do Something From The Heart
One of the effects of isolation if the lack of personal meaning and self actualization. If you find yourself not only feeling like you want to pull your hair out from boredom, but that your sense of purpose is being questioned than you could be suffering from a lack of personal meaning. "All of us want to feel like we belong and that our life has importance, which is why incorporating meaningful activities into each day is important. Doing something meaningful each day, even if only for a short period, will give you a sense of purpose and identity."
Know Your Comforts
Take a nice hot bath
Read your favorite book that you've been holding off on
Watch a new tv series
Give yourself a foot and hand massage
Drink some herbal tea and try new teas
Light a scented candle and aromatherapy oils
Practice good hygiene, grooming, and personal care
There are just a few that I wanted to highlight for you to focus on while we're all staying at home together. We are living in trying times, but during this trying time, it's good to use this time to try something new. Find out more about yourself, the world around around you, a new language, a new recipe, this is great time to find out more about yourself than you could ever imagine. Typically we are so busy with all of the hustle and bustle of life that we don't have the time to really work on personal development like we should, but now there's really no excuse no to grow. Here are some other helpful tips that just weren't mentioned before, read them and really take it to heart. We all need each other, and we're not as different as we might think, and together we're going to get through this.
Connect with others
Plan for your future
Practice showing compassion for others
Stay clean and organized
Meditate and visualization practices