As human beings, we are wired to be socially connected with others. In fact, there are many positive physical and mental health benefits from being connected to others. Conversely, social isolation can carry concerns for emotional impact. However, there are many strategies to lesson negative emotional impact and even positive opportunities which may not otherwise have occurred. Sources of stress for people who are isolated or distanced socially include decreased sensory stimulation, limited social support, and lack of access to standard coping strategies, such as spiritual or religious practices or exercising outdoors. These things, along with missing work and other obligations, can trigger a powerful sense of losing control. People who quarantined may experience feelings of stigmatization in addition to feelings people who are socially isolated as a prevention strategy have. People who are socially isolated can experience:
- Increased symptoms of anxiety and depression
- The emotional and physical impact of lack of exercise
Coping strategies include keeping oneself connected to both information as well as people, virtually. Maintenance of these connections virtually can aid in empowerment and help to reduce risks association with social isolation and quarantine. Staying informed is a powerful tool for stress management. Other strategies for coping with social isolation include:
- Practicing mindfulness and relaxation exercises
- Stay connected by phone and electronically
- Keep current connections strong
- Stay informed through reliable sources
- Eat healthy and drink plenty of water
- Take on a home project, paint that wall that you have been thinking about
- Work in the garden
- Go for walks, runs and hikes (maintain social distancing)
- Get outside – go for walks, runs and hikes (maintain social distancing)
We are wired to be connected. In today’s world we are able to maintain connections electronically. Keeping a positive and informed perspective that we will get through this, together, is critical to reducing the emotional impacts and continuing to create resiliency.
The Behavioral Wellness Access Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-888-868-1649.