How do you preserve mental health during social isolation?
Uncertainty, isolation, and stress are not a good combination. For people with a history of anxiety, depression and panic attacks this formula can translate into complicated days and many emotions to cope with. To me, writing is challenging. Anxiety blocks my concentration and at times it seems that the only activity I can focus on is refreshing ’the social networks of my cell phone while I listen to the news.
In just a few months the world has been plunged into a crisis that no one expected.
Hundreds of people die every day and thousands more are conquered by a deadly virus that many continue to ignore.
“It only kills older people,” they say. People only go out to the street to get supplies, and many others sacrifice themselves so that we can continue standing. Doctors, nurses, technicians, supermarket staff, sanitation and public safety are just a few of them.
It is precisely at that moment that resilience begins to take on an important meaning rather than what we can’t control. It is about the person’s ability to overcome difficult situations, and still get something profitable from them. And although applying it may not seem so easy under the circumstances, there are tips that will help calm our mind.
The first is clearly obvious: limit your connection hours to news related to the pandemic. A couple of hours at night (when there is a synthesis of what happened during the day) will suffice. Meditation and yoga also work. But if it seems complicated you can start by focusing on your breathing. Concentrate so much on it that you feel you can follow the path that air traces through your body. Inhale in 6 seconds, hold for 10 and release in another 6 seconds, slowly.
Reading a book, watching movies or series, and painting are also good activities to distract the mind. However, it is essential that you remember that you are a social being. Sit down to chat with your family or ‘roomies’, phone someone, connect by FaceTime or share games online.
I found this poem and found it very fitting:
My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Take another step.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.
– Elena Mikhalkova
We’ve got this. One step at a time will get us to the finish line.
At La Jolla Recovery, we want to remind you that not being ok is ok. We are here to discuss any questions regarding mental health as well as dual diagnosis in case there is a problem currently with alcohol or drugs. We are here to begin your journey and refer the right mental health professional for issues such as anxiety or panic attacks to serve you.