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Social Distancing and Mental Health

Corona Virus or COVID-19 has taken over our lives. It's dominating the news cycles, and we are bombarded with guidelines and information to keep us safe from the virus and "flatten the curve" to contain the infection. COVID-19 is overwhelming the world's medical infrastructure and, as a result we have been asked to voluntarily self-quarantine and/or practice social distancing.

While it is essential to follow the instructions given by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is also vital to take care of our emotional health. Humans are social animals; thus, isolation can take a toll on you psychologically. Things can seem bleak and uncertain for the moment, and cabin fever can be a real struggle, but here are some ways you can offset the negativity:

  1. Set a routine: Even though you are at home, you must follow a routine. Wake up on time, shower, and change out of your night-clothes and do not work in bed. It will help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and counter any lethargy you may feel.

  2. Technology: We are in the golden age of technology! Use it to remain connected to friends and family. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing!

  3. Exercise: Being mobile and getting those happy endorphins can significantly uplift your mood and go a long way in keeping you healthy. Fresh air is essential as well! Do not be afraid to take a walk around your neighborhood. Remember to be cautious and keep a meter's distance from everyone else though!

  4. Meditation: The world has slowed down. Take this opportunity to center yourself and focus. It will help clear your mind as well as relax you.

  5. Help Out: In these uncertain times, many are more vulnerable than others. Try to help out the elderly and the immunocompromised by going to the grocery store and running necessary errands for them. Do not hoard food and supplies such as toilet paper and medical masks. Not only does it create panic, but it also creates scarcity.

  6. Hobbies: Pick up some hobbies that you enjoy but haven't had the time to indulge in a while—cooking, music, writing, etc. are all great examples. Try and learn something new!

  7. Intellectual Engagement: Reading books, watching documentaries that interest you, etc. are great ways to pass the time.

  8. Limit Internet Exposure: This also goes for news. Pick a window of time to engage and then stop. Too much exposure can make a negative impact on your mood and well-being.

  9. Alone Time: t is essential to keep connected but remember to spend some time with yourself as well. Have some downtime, watch some Netflix, and rest. Rejuvenate before the world starts speeding up again.

  10. Keep Going: Things may seem hopeless and scary right now, money might be tight, and our lives may seem like they're in limbo, but remember, it's all temporary. Things will get back to normal. In the meantime, focus on some positive news! Fish and swans have returned to the canals of Venice, communities are banding together to keep everyone safe and healthy, people are singing from their balconies and pollution has been at a record low. Earth, and everyone else is taking a break. You should too.

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