Tips for Managing Mental Health Under Social Distancing

Because CUNY is now all-online, I’m essentially in isolation besides my partner, and am expecting to be working entirely from home at least until August and possibly not seeing my family until Thanksgiving (I was supposed to visit for spring break, and see them several other times over the summer). So that’s what I’m dealing with. However, all of our situations will be different, and all of our needs different, so my tips aren’t going to be applicable to everyone. So, I’m gonna tell you what I’m doing, but you should share your own tips/practices/things that are helping you in the comments! 

  1. I cleaned my entire apartment in preparation. Stress is much harder for me to manage when I’m in a messy space.
  2. I’m getting dressed first thing in the morning every day, even though I’m trying to go out as little as possible. This makes me feel like it’s time to start my day, and makes it easier for me to be productive on the things I need to do.
  3. I’m making my bed every day. Usually I’m bad about doing this, but again, it makes me feel clean and organized mentally as well as physically.
  4. Going for walks. This was confirmed as a good practice by my friend’s brother, who works in an ER. Going outside is perfectly safe as long as you’re not in a crowded area/standing close to other people. Walking gets you a change of scenery and a little exercise.
  5. I’m keeping my phone on the other side of the room. I turned off the volume, texted my family I would be away from my phone, and am sitting on the other side of the room. It’s very easy for me to get caught up in the endless stream of messages and news articles, and it’s all stressful. In order to get my work done, I’m allowing myself to engage in that only when I choose to take a break, instead of keeping my phone near me and constantly getting distracted.
  6. I’m working at my table instead of in bed. Usually I don’t this, but it makes it feel more like “Okay, I’m at work now.”
  7. I’m trying extra hard to keep up with the cleaning and not let things fall into disarray. It’s very easy to let domestic things slide when you’re stressed and adjusting to lots of changes, but a clean space is much nicer to be trapped in than a messy space.
  8. I’m video chatting with my friends and family a lot– it’s nice to see their faces and hear their voices, even though we can always text. It’s familiar and makes them feel less distant.
  9. I’m trying to write a little about my experiences and feelings every day, in a Google Doc that some of my friends are also writing in. This way we can process our feelings, develop our skills as writers, and see what each other are thinking about.

6 thoughts on “Tips for Managing Mental Health Under Social Distancing

  1. Marissa-Anne Sciascia

    Every morning while standing in front of the mirror of your choosing:

    (1) One thing you are looking forward to.
    (2) One person in your life that you are thankful for and why.
    (3) One accomplishment you are proud of from yesterday.
    (4) One thing you like about the way you look.
    (5) Your intention/goal for the day.
    (6) Five deep breaths!!!

    I started doing this longgggg before all of this pandemonium ensued due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. I have it taped to my bedroom mirror and my bathroom mirror. Give it a try- it works! Mental health is just as important as the physical kind. Mind over matter! Stay healthy everyone 🙂

    Reply
    1. Olivia Wood Post author

      Thanks! You saying you have that taped to your mirror reminded me of something my dad told me yesterday, which he has taped to his computer– “Life is all about how you handle Plan B.”

      Reply
      1. Marissa-Anne Sciascia

        Amen- I love that! I think we are all having difficulty adjusting to the not as ideal “plan B” lifestyle. But this too shall pass.

        Reply
  2. Avril Hernandez

    I have tried to keep my chill during this weeks of craziness, and it has kind of been easy for me due to the fact that I have my family with me. I have also kept in contact with my friends by texting and video calling them. It is nice to know how others are feeling and managing themselves through all of this. We still get together and walk outside because it helps us not pay a lot of mind to what is going on, however we do not go to crowded places. Every morning I wake up I wash my face, and meditate, I plan on what I might be wanting to do during the day and think positive towards this situation. Because I know and believe this will pass, not everything in life is permanent and we cannot go crazy about certain situations.

    Reply
  3. Marissa-Anne Sciascia

    Updated feelings on this whole mess:

    We are only a few days into this disaster and things just keep getting worse. I am completely anxiety ridden; forced to report to work because my city agency is an essential service (even though I work in an office and have the capability to WFH!). Nothing has been put into place for the employees here. They are not practicing social distancing, meetings are still being conducted, strangers are still allowed to come and go in the office….Our Commissioner is not taking this seriously at ALL. Several employees were exposed to another employee in one location that tested positive for the virus and instead of having everyone there self quarantine, she closed the building for 24 hours to “disinfect” and then had everyone report back to work.

    My younger brother, a Port Authority police officer, was exposed to the virus via a criminal he arrested. He is now on a mandated 14 day medical leave and must quarantine with my sister-in-law through this period of time.

    My birthday celebrations this past Wednesday were dismal. I cannot be with my family because my fathers health is compromised from a 9/11 related illness (retired firefighter-lungs!).

    It seems like anything that once brought me joy has been robbed from me. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I worry for them. I worry about the small businesses in my neighborhood- will they survive?

    I almost wish the governor would lock down the whole state for two weeks to speed this whole process up.

    Sorry for the depressing post but I am just wondering if I am alone in my feelings on this….

    Reply
    1. Olivia Wood Post author

      Don’t be sorry!! This is exactly why I wanted to make this post– so anyone who wanted to could share our feelings and support each other. I’m so sorry your work is being so careless with employee safety– that’s completely inexcusable. But (unfortunately), you’re not alone in that– lots of workers are holding walkouts around the country to protest their employers doing similar things. It’s horrible that it’s necessary, but encouraging to me that people are banding together to protect themselves and their coworkers.

      Wishing you/your brother/sister-in-law/father all the good luck and healthy vibes, and please let me know if you need anything that I’m able to help with.

      Reply

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