Coping In A Social Recession
Learning to stay sane while social distancing
At this time, our entire community's livelihood has pretty much been shuttered due to the Coronavirus. As of today, many states have already ordered every non-life sustaining business to close. We (at Room 33), were one of them back with the non-essential folks.
Since then, I haven't left the house. I feel like it's been forever, and it's only been a few days.
For some of us, self-isolation can be a blessing – when it's our choice. But when the choice is taken from us, over time, isolation can become detrimental to our health.
Research has shown that emotional and physical health are inextricably linked. Loneliness and isolation can increase earlier death by as much as 26%, social-isolation by 29% and living alone by 32%.*
And while these statistics are alarming, a period of a few weeks won't have that much of an effect. However, if any other predictions about the quarantine are correct, this might change.
I also bring this up, because many of us live alone. If you're one of the ones that live with someone, consider yourself lucky. Personal relationships can help us cope with stress.
But if you don't, these times might more challenging. Statistically, short periods of isolation can cause increase anxiety or depression – even within days. And while you might have projects to keep you busy, over time, your attention span will become limited and focus will become a little nebulous. Continued isolation isn't great when society is alive and kicking – even when you're physically healthy.
So, what can we all do?
Thankfully in this day and age, we have a wealth of options to stay connected.
The easiest? Call or text someone or set up a video chat. Daily interaction, even for just a few minutes, can be beneficial. If you have been working remotely, you're probably already connected to a social platform like Slack or Google Hangouts. Set up or join a virtual happy hour
If you are living alone – consider adopting a pet. It's a win-win. Not only is it scientifically shown that our furry friends increase dopamine levels, now is the time you have to train and help one get acclimated to a new home. While many places and shelters are closed to the public, most are still taking individual appointments.
Go outside and take a walk. It might still be a bit chilly where you are, but the opportunity to see life (cars, people, pets etc..) pass you by, can help stimulate senses. Plus, exercise is exceptionally beneficial to your overall well-being. There's a great TED talk on it too – check it out here about the Brain-changing benefits of exercise.
Take up a new hobby – painting, knitting, writing; or learn a new language. All of this activates different parts of your brain making it work smarter and faster and protecting it from isolation. Then join a network of folks doing the same thing – to help support each other during the process.
These are just a few ideas – I invite you to share more. There are challenging times ahead and mere willpower to do seemingly simple things may be difficult as we move forward. But if you proactively take care of yourself, the passing moments will become easier. And for anyone that doesn't know where to go or where to look, or what to do – please reach out to me. I'm happy to always talk or help make a connection. We have to look out for each other.
Rebecca is trying to learn to play the pipe to lure the rats into the Weser River, once they start taking over the lands. You can follow her on Twitter at @rstyn.