Maintaining Mental Health During Social Distancing

Hello everyone. I hope you are all managing the many changes in our community as we all work together to help limit the spread of this virus. 

 

I wanted to share with you some ideas for mental health self care during this difficult time.

 

  • Be flexible with sleep routines (especially for teens!) within reason. This is a terrific opportunity to follow the body’s natural sleep rhythm. Just don’t spend all day in bed. Notice what works best for you and your family. If that is maintaining a regular sleep schedule for the household then do that. 

  • Maintain your usual personal hygiene routine. Shower and get dressed in something you didn’t sleep in.  This sends a message to your brain that things are “business as usual.” 

  • Get outside! Play in the yard, work in the garden, walk in the neighborhood, ride bikes. Fresh air and getting out of the house really help break up “cabin fever.”

  • Limit social media and news consumption. Yes we need to be informed (information helps limit anxiety) but too much of this can cause increased anxiety and distress. Set a limit on your consumption and move on to other activities.

  • Stay connected with others. If you are home together with family members, don’t isolate in your respective bedrooms. You may all be on your devices, but doing it in a shared space helps limit a sense of isolation.

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  • Feel your feelings. Notice and care for what you are feeling. Talk with family members and friends using technology. Write about them. Utilize self soothing activities when feelings are especially intense.

  • Maintain social connections. Schedule video get-togethers with friends. Get dressed, brush your hair and teeth, and sit together as if you were visiting in person. Consider virtual play dates for kids engaging in shared activities. Remember that teens and to some extent school-aged children utilize technology as a main source of their social connections so avoid limiting access. That said, encourage direct contact such as calling or texting over unlimited social media consumption. 

  • Consider implementing use of meditation apps (such as Insight Timer or Headspace) and establishing either a personal or family time to utilize it on a daily basis. 

  • Access online opportunities. Many learning institutions are offering free online courses. So are museums, orchestras and other performing arts venues. 

  • Exercise. Either outside or access online workouts. Yoga is great for both the body and mind!

  • Be charitable. Both with yourself and those you are interacting with. Support others in the community. Brainstorm with kids what community places they want to support and ways to do so while maintaining social distancing. This could be donating to food bank, supporting a favorite restaurant (take out or buy a gift certificate for later use), writing letters of support/drawing pictures to elders or teachers, or buying future tickets to events/admission to favorite community places. 

  • When fear, anxiety, depression, boredom or other distressing emotions are present, work to transform those thoughts into more positive ones. Consider turning them into a more active thought such as “sending loving thoughts for health to everyone” or “I am doing all I can to help myself and others,” “how can I turn this into an opportunity to do something I wouldn’t have time to do normally?”

  • Have fun! Send the message that while we are all doing what we can, we are safe and the world isn’t scary. Allow for this time to be a chance to explore things you normally wouldn’t. Bake cookies, play family games, cook favorite foods. Build forts. Eat fun foods and treats. Have family sleepovers in the living room. Your imagination is unlimited. 
     

I am available for email, telephone or video support during this time.

Feel free to reach out if you or your family are struggling. All the best and be well. 

Contact Me:

 

Email:

sallyms@sallymcintoshstoehr.com

 

Phone:

206-251-0236

Find Me: 

PO Box 1852

Silverdale, WA  98383

 

785 Ericksen Avenue NE #117

Bainbridge Island, WA  98110

© 2020 by Sally McIntosh Stoehr. All Rights Reserved

 

PLEASE NOTE: 

 

My office will usually be closed anytime local schools are closed (except summer break). Please check above or ask your therapist for specific closures.