As we work together as a society to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, many of us will find ourselves spending time at home alone. It is vital during these stressful times to take proactive steps to remain connected and maintain positive mental health. Social distancing does not promote social isolation.
Consider a few ways to practice self-care while making connections.
- Socialize to increase longevity and happiness. Make time each day to connect with friends and family by phone, email, Skype or Facetime. Be sure to check in with older relatives and friends and neighbors who live alone.
- Practice gratitude to focus on the positive. Sit quietly by yourself. Count your blessings. How you think about yourself affects how you feel. Choose to be thankful.
- Meditate to relax and get in touch with your quiet side. Everyone has one! If you have never meditated before, start simply. Sit quietly in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes. Relax your muscles. Then, chose a mantra of just one or two words such as “peace,” “love” or “calm.” Breathe slowly. Repeat your mantra without saying it out loud. Feel yourself relax.
- Nurture relationships with this opportunity to spend more time with your spouse, children or friends Slow your pace as you break from hyper-busy schedules for real conversations. Share meals that you might even cook together. Play a board game. Tackle a puzzle. Just be yourself and enjoy each other.
- Share memories that start with “remember when” by paging through family albums and watching those old home videos. Step back in time.
There is no denying that these are troubling times. Remember that we are all in this together and there are always brighter days ahead.
Understanding culture is vital for healthcare professionals and their patients. In her book, Are You Culturally Competent? Elisa P. Bell, M.D. bridges cultural gaps to improve healthcare outcomes.
By Elisa P. Bell, M.D., Board certified physician in both adult and child/adolescent psychiatry
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