As the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and social distancing rules continue, many people may observe changes in their mood, motivation, health habits, and relationships with others. If you or a loved one is experiencing detrimental feelings of loneliness, the following tips may help:
Get professional help
COVID-19 and its effects can trigger feelings of anxiety and depression. Fear and worry about your health and financial situation can worsen your state of mental health and cause impairments in work and social functioning.
A combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and antidepressant medication can help you manage feelings of stress and fear. CBT is a form of evidence-based treatment used to ease depression anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. It focuses on challenging and altering unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors.
CBT is facilitated by a licensed mental health professional. Sessions are structured and time-limited. They help individuals analyze recent mood states, learn and practice coping skills for specific issues, and improve emotional regulation.
Physical and mental health are directly intertwined, which means spending weeks without getting any exercise can negatively affect one’s ability to cope mentally.
Regular physical activity not only protects you from diseases, but also triggers the release of serotonin and dopamine. These brain chemicals help boost your mood and overall sense of well-being. They also help combat symptoms of depression such as loss of appetite and unhealthy sleep cycles.
You may be finding it harder to exercise under strict lockdown rules, but there are still various ways to stay active. You can practice Tai Chi, yoga, and cardio workouts by following YouTube videos. If you have space available, create a home gym where you can work out freely and store your equipment. Make the most of what’s around you such as water bottles, resistance bands, or your bodyweight to perform resistance exercises. Perform push-ups against the wall, floor, coffee table, and kitchen counter. You can also try some chair-based exercises to raise your heart rate a little.
One of the best things you can do to fight loneliness is to connect with others in non-traditional ways. While you may be unable to visit family and friends in person, try to stay in touch via Skype, Facetime, or Facebook Messenger. For many, staying connected with loved ones, virtually or otherwise, is the most effective way to combat feelings of loneliness.
Do more things you enjoy
Spending time on enjoyable activities will help occupy your mind and prevent you from dwelling on feelings of loneliness.
Listen to the radio show or podcast you’ve always wanted to listen to but never had the time. Try picking up a book again or listen to audiobooks, and join an online book club where you can meet new friends and be exposed to various perspectives. If you want something more relaxing, try meditation or mindfulness practices.
If you find yourself extremely lonely, afraid, and isolated during the pandemic, it is important to reach out for help. For more information about our CBT services, contact our team today.