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The Hub Behavioral Health

Social distancing doesn't mean mentally isolating

Life has changed this week. We’ve canceled vacations, school field trips, and group outings. School is on hold. Offices have closed. The entire household is home together. All day. For the foreseeable future.

If you live alone, you might depend on going out to the office, gym, or restaurants for companionship.

Either way, if this is overwhelming to you, you are not alone. We’re all in this together—only from a safe distance apart.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, just take it a day at a time and be mindful of how you can prioritize your mental and physical health.

Prioritize physical health

Practice good hygiene, assess your risk and make decisions based on that. Ask yourself what you need to feel safe and comforted.

Don't be afraid to ask for help if leaving the house isn't safe for you. Neighborhood groups on Facebook are offering help. Grocery delivery services can drop food at your door. Use a mail-order pharmacy that can deliver your prescriptions to your mailbox.

If you're feeling well, make sure to incorporate some physical activity into your day. You might enjoy swapping your commute time for a daily walk or trying some YouTube workout videos.

Add self-care

From there, do what you need to do to feel mentally healthy. View this extra time at home as a benefit– It can be an opportunity to do those things we want to do, but don’t seem to have time for, like trying a new recipe or reading a book.

If you’ve been wanting to learn something new or spend time on hobbies, set time aside to do them.

Discuss with your family or roommate what everyone’s needs are, such as time alone or sharing a meal together. Keeping normal work hours can also help make things feel more normal. If you are working from home, make sure you schedule time for lunch and other breaks.

Connect

Everyone’s life is disrupted right now. It’s a shared experience, and it’s okay to talk about that and your feelings. This unprecedented time can spark feelings of fear, anxiety, isolation, and also anticipation. Talk to others about how you’re feeling and schedule some virtual social time.

You might also find value in finding something you can do or can control. Maybe that’s going for a walk every day after work, FaceTiming with a friend or helping a neighbor.

If you’re healthy and able, think about what you can do. Maybe you can run errands for an at-risk friend or give a roll of toilet paper to a neighbor who can’t find some. Some people might need a hand setting up their phone to FaceTime or with childcare, so they can get some work done. Check your town or neighborhood groups for opportunities to help.

Just because we’re socially isolated, doesn’t mean we are emotionally and mentally isolated.

Limit news

Extended news coverage takes a toll on mental health. Just because the news is on all day doesn’t mean you have to watch it all day. Check in just a few times a day to get new information, and then disconnect.

Remember to get news from reputable sources, too. Scientists are still learning about this virus and there is a lot of speculation that shows up on news programs and fills social media feeds. That can lead to fear.

Get professional help if needed

A professional can help you navigate this uncharted territory. You can make a virtual behavioral health appointment at Vivacity Care Center if you’ve already had an initial visit with a provider.

If you haven’t had an initial visit with a provider at Vivacity Care Center, Premera Blue Cross and LifeWise Health of Washington also cover virtual visits from therapists who usually do in-person sessions.

Have questions about COVID-19?

If you have more questions about COVID-19, visit our dedicated resource page.

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About Jess Fritz, MSW, LICSWA
Jess is a licensed independent clinical social worker associate at the North Spokane Care Center. She has spent 10 years as a clinical social worker in a variety of mental health settings, including inpatient, residential, crisis, and outpatient. With a trauma-informed focus, Jess provides compassionate care in collaboration with the patient.