Staying Mentally Strong During Social Isolation
Throughout the past few weeks, we have all been pushed to new limits in what we have had to overcome. A lot of scary and new terms have been thrown around like “pandemic,” “state of emergency,” “social distancing,” “quarantine “ etc.
Throughout this unprecedented time, one thing remains true - our bodies are incredible healing machines that are designed to adapt, thrive and conquer! In the midst of a global health crisis we can easily lose track of this or forget about it.
Use this time to celebrate how resilient our bodies actually are. Take some time to understand its requirements in order to function and be healthy. We need proper nutrients to fuel the cells of our body so they can perform their jobs; we need exercise and movement to help flush out our systems and keep our muscles and joints healthy; we need a properly functioning nervous system to coordinate and over see all these processes in our bodies; and right now more then ever we need to take care of our mental well being.
The performance of our bodies, in fact every single cell in our body, can only achieve what our brain and minds allow. This is profound! The way we think about ourselves, our health and our bodies on a day to day basis greatly impacts the results that manifest physically. Athletes are extremely in tune with this notion. Do you think for a second that an Olympic Gold medalist ever doubts that they are able to achieve that gold medal? The answer is unequivocally no! Otherwise they would not be a gold medalist…
Here are some tips that I have started to implement to make sure that I am keeping mentally healthy during this time of social distancing and isolation.
Tips for Staying Mentally Healthy
Find something that you can control, and control the heck out of it! Most of what is going on in the world today is out of our control. There is no need to focus and dwell on the things we can’t control. Take control of what you can and run with it. We can control our re-actions. But for this tip I think it is mentally healthy to really control the shit (excuse my language) out of something. Reorganize your book shelf, clean out the closet, do a deep clean of your living space. Give your brain and mind the break of “not being in control of things” and bring some organization to the chaos.
Limit social media content related to COVID. At the start of this, I literally spend hours reading posts, articles, news updates, videos on COVID. They are absolutely everywhere with “breaking news.” Stop! Limit yourself to one or 2 a day and move on. It is so mentally draining to read about the doom and gloom all day and the new articles and posts that keep popping up.
Accept that you will not be perfect and lower your expectations of yourself. For someone who regularly went to the gym 6x/week for intensive training, working out from home just isn’t cutting it for me. I found myself more down on myself mentally for not working out at the same capacity I used to. But I’ve since realized - its alright to let that go and keep doing what I can. I changed my mindset away from operating under stress and fear. There is no roadmap here so it is impossible to fail.
Find ways to laugh. These are heavy times and lots to be worried about for good reason. However, we need to counterbalance this with lightness and positivity. It’s ok to laugh during this time. Find something light hearted and funny on Netflix or if you’re like me go down the TikTok rabbit hole for an hour + each night.
Take it one day at a time. Things have changed and are changing so rapidly. Most things are out of control so take it day-by-day. What would you like to accomplish today and don’t worry about the bigger picture and longterm stuff as much right now. When you find that overwhelming worry and stress come on, don’t ignore it, give yourself 5 minutes to embrace it and then move on to the next task or thing you can control.
Give everyone the benefit of the doubt right now. We have all been cooped up for far too long and it can bring out the worst in us. You may start to see a side of your partner or friends that you didn’t know existed. Everyone is going to have their moments. Move through the blowups with grace, don’t engage every argument you are invited to and don’t hold grudges and disagreements.
Remember, this is temporary and we WILL get through it. Remind yourself this daily.
Dr. Alfredo is an health enthusiast who’s goal is to help people and families live healthier, happier lives. My philosophy on health is simple - our body’s have the amazing ability and potential to self-adapt, self-regulate and THRIVE in this world.