April 8, 2020
A Note from Patricia: Coping with Social Distancing & Isolation
Since Colorado governor Jared Polis issued the state’s Stay-at-Home Order, most of us are primarily confined in our home, only leaving for quick trips to gather essentials. While these measures are essential to reduce exposure and flatten the curve, this sudden change in our lives can have an impact on our mental and physical health.
During this time, you might find yourself experiencing:
- Anxiety, stress, worry or fear;
- Uncertainty or ambivalence;
- Anger, irritability, or frustration;
- Boredom or restlessness;
- Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, or sleeping too little or too much;
- Symptoms of PTSD such as hyper-vigilance (feeling easily startled), feeling trapped, distressing memories, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts.
These feelings are a normal part of crisis and stress. That’s why it’s helpful to take intentional steps to care for ourselves and each other. Here are a few tips we’ve put together to get you started:
Create a new routine.
Consistency and structure can help create stability and a sense of control. Having a plan for your day can alleviate uncertainty and stress. For example, if you are now working from home, try to start and end work at the same time each day.
Eat well and stay hydrated.
Good nutrition and hydration is critical to maintain your health and boost your immune system. Check out these tips from the World Health Organization on Food and Nutrition in Self Quarantine. And if you need emergency food resources, please contact us at 719-471-8181, ext. 140.
Take a break from the news.
It seems that bad news is everywhere you look these days. Make sure to give yourself breaks from the news and social media, while staying up to date by connecting with credible sources of information such as WHO, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
Move your body.
Physical movement can lighten our mood and release stress and tension. A change of scenery can also do wonders so, if possible, get outside for a walk or bike ride. Just be sure you’re keeping six feet between yourself and others. The YMCA also offers virtual workouts and our partner Morgen Thomas at Yoga Studio Satya is presenting a free adaptive yoga class every Thursday at 4pm MT. For more info, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-201-3186.
Start a new hobby or project.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never had time for? Now’s your chance! Dive into some new books. Take a virtual art class. Start growing your own food. Learn a new language. The possibilities are endless!
Discover a TV show, movie, or podcast.
With all the ways to access television shows, movies, and podcasts, there’s something out there for everyone. Whether it’s watching old reruns of Bob Ross painting “happy little trees” or listening to a podcast about a favorite topic, these are great ways to escape!
Use grounding tools.
To help center yourself and alleviate anxiety, try different grounding tools to see what works for you. Play music or nature sounds, unwind with an adult coloring book, take a hot shower, play with your pet, dance, walk outside and take a few deep breaths, or practice meditation.
Connect with loved ones.
Social distancing means it’s more important than ever to reach out to friends and family. Call, text, connect over social media, do video dates over coffee or a meal. (In next week’s post, we’ll be offering even more ideas how to connect and create community.)
Remember, all of us at The Independence Center are here to support you. Just give us a call at 719-471-8181.
If you have a more urgent mental health need, call Colorado Crisis Services at 844.493.8255, or text the word “TALK” to 38255.
CEO, The Independence Center