How has the pandemic personally affected you and your everyday routine?
For some youth and young adults, there has barely been any change.
For others, the disruptions in normal routines have been more pronounced.
You don’t get to see your friends, you can’t go out, you can’t go to school, and the list goes on. This has become the new normal these past few months and can take a toll on you.
To be able to regain any sense of normalcy, strategies for compensating are necessary.
Why We Need to Compensate During Times of Isolation
We humans, by nature, are social beings.
This means that we rely on social interactions for survival, stability, and support. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced us to distance ourselves socially and isolate to reduce the risk of disease. Our social interactions have been severely limited as a result, and this is not without consequences.
Many students have been forced to study from home because of the pandemic.
Emotional health and mental health are among the factors that have been heavily impacted by isolation. You will still feel the effects, no matter how introverted you may be.
Other effects and problems also exist aside from these. As such, it’s necessary to compensate for the effects that social distancing and isolation bring. Being unable to do so may have negative repercussions, such as:
- Mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression
- Impacts on physical health, such as excessive weight gain or the increased risk for some diseases
- Feelings of being ostracized or lack of belonging
- Strains on personal relationships
- Problems with academics
Dealing with the changes brought about by social distancing and isolation is necessary for mitigating the problems mentioned. There are several ways of coping that can help.
Things You Can Do Alone
The saying “no man is an island” is accurate for the most part.
However, the pandemic has forced many of us to be alone. This is a difficult test of your capacity to be fully functional even when isolated.
As such, coping mechanisms are necessary to help compensate for being away from other people. Some of the most important ways of coping are ones that you need to do on your own.
Among the best strategies that you can try out include the following:
1. Find a new hobby
Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to do but never had enough time for?
Find a hobby that you can enjoy and be really beneficial for your mental health. A lot of these can even be done in the comfort of your own home.
Learn how to bake, pick up a new sport, do some crafts, or make some sketches. Who knows, you may have a hidden talent that you are yet to discover.
As many have shown, it’s the perfect time to learn how to bake!
2. Learn new skills
It’s also the perfect time to pick up new skills.
Any skills you learn can help you with your future career goals, so it helps to start now.
Do you want a career in programming? Read up on the latest programming languages. Do you want to work in the music industry? Hone your instrument-playing skills. The possibilities are endless.
Your purpose for learning doesn’t necessarily need to be career-driven; you can also just do it for fun.
Are you tired of reading subtitles with the foreign series that you’re watching? Learn a language. Picking up new skills now is easier than ever since we all have access to the Internet.
Make the most use out of this golden opportunity.
3. Make full use of media
There’s nothing wrong with just lounging around.
It’s especially fun nowadays, with all the streaming services available online. These might just be your best friend during the pandemic and will certainly keep you from getting bored.
Fighting boredom is necessary since according to studies, boredom can be detrimental to mental health. Go stream a movie or start a new series to keep you occupied.
4. Keep moving
Weight gain has become extremely common during the pandemic, with the 15-pound weight gain being dubbed the “quarantine-15”.
This may have links to mental health issues, so keeping the extra weight off is essential to self-care.
Keep in mind to exercise regularly to offset any pounds that you gain. Besides, exercise is known to release happy hormones, which can help you feel good.
Exercise makes you both look good and feel good. What’s not to like?
5. Do some introspection
Since you’re left alone with your thoughts a lot during isolation, why not do some introspection?
Make sure to do it the healthy way since many of us tend to get trapped in negative circles of thought. Instead, focus on your positive traits, think of how you can improve, and make a plan.
Don’t beat yourself up for your faults and instead think of how you can change for the better.
6. Stay well rested
You don’t need to be constantly occupied to be mentally healthy.
On the contrary, always being busy can instead be harmful to your mental health.
It’s also important to get plenty of rest to give both your body and mind time to recover. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a day or try to catch up on sleep through naps if you can’t.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
Admittedly, coping by yourself can be quite a struggle.
Isolation forces us to be physically distanced from each other, but this does not mean you can’t reach out. Talking to friends and family today is extremely easy, thanks to how connected everyone is online.
Just imagine how people went through isolation during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Isolation must have been a nightmare.
While we’re better connected through the Internet, this still does not mean that being isolated is a breeze. You still need to reach out to your friends and family through whatever means necessary. Doing so can be very beneficial for everyone involved.
Great ways of staying connected include the following:
Use social media and messenger services
Nearly everyone nowadays has some form of social media or messenger connectivity available, making it very easy for you to connect with anyone you wish.
Make full use of this during isolation to help you feel less alone. Of course, be sure to use these tools the healthy way.
Video chat is a great way of remotely connecting with others
Find common activities to bond over
Video calls and chats aren’t the only things that you can do with others during isolation.
New apps and games pop up that you can do remotely with your friends. Look for these as they’re excellent ways to bond beyond just talking or chatting.
Share your woes
Speaking to friends and family about your woes and problems isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do.
This was true even before the pandemic started, and the difficulty has further scaled up because of isolation. However, this is not a reason to shy away from sharing your thoughts.
While having a personal talk with loved ones remotely may seem impersonal, you have to make do. Just know that you’ll feel much better after talking to friends or family about whatever is weighing down on you.
Be sure to listen
Know that you’re not the only one having a tough time during the pandemic.
Other people may be going through the same thing that you’re experiencing. Be a bit more empathic and watch out for signs of your friends and family needing emotional help. Ensure to reach out to them when necessary and listen to whatever their worries and problems are.
Who knows, you might just make someone’s day if you listen. You’ll also be able to bond a bit more.
Other people may also have it hard. Be sure to listen.
It always helps to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and in today’s case, it is knowing that the pandemic will be over at some point.
Make a list of plans of things that you want to do with friends and family when the pandemic ends. The satisfaction you will get will undoubtedly be worth it once you get to do your plans.
Seek Professional Help to Cope Better
Some people are predisposed to specific mental health conditions, and the current social distancing situation does nothing to help.
This by no means makes them weak; it just means that they need more help with coping.
Whether you are predisposed to any mental health conditions or not, getting professional help can often be quite beneficial.
Do you or anyone you know need help with coping with the effects of social distancing and isolation? There’s no shame in admitting that you do.
Similarly, asking for professional help isn’t something that you should be embarrassed about. In fact, there are many benefits to be gained by talking to a professional about isolation.
If you’re in the Ottawa area or elsewhere in Ontario, Capital Choice Counselling is your best choice. We have professionals that help youth, adolescents and young adults in dealing with the effects of social distancing and isolation. Contact us today to find out more.