With the latest Government guidance on social distancing, staying at home and isolating, cabin fever is a high risk. On top of this, we live in a world where it has never been easier to able to connect with more people, however, at the same time the issue of loneliness is ever-increasing, to the point where it is one of the largest public health concerns for the UK. The Office for National Statistics reported how 2.4 million adults in Britain are experiencing chronic loneliness. Interestingly, research has also shown how those who have more ‘online only’ friends on social media platforms are more likely to report feelings of loneliness. During a time when we are social distancing, how do we adapt and cope with this new temporary normal and keep connected?
The Stress Management Society has come up with 5 top tips on how to cope at home and ensure you stay connected during the COVID-19 outbreak:
1. Stick to a daily routineWith the latest Government guidelines in place meaning we must stay at home; it is easy for all normal routine to fall out of place. However, it is important to stick to a routine as much as possible to create a sense of normality and add structure and purpose to your day. Why not create a daily routine template and populate with your schedule each day? This will help you to prioritise what needs to be done and help you to stick to a schedule – making you be as productive as possible. This will also help to ensure you are utilising your time effectively, scheduling in breaks throughout the day and optimising your wellbeing.
2. Keep connected digitallyAlthough social distancing means it is not possible to spend face to face time and meet up with our friends, family and colleagues, the technology driven world we live in means it is more possible than ever to connect digitally. In a world where we temporarily can’t meet up, the feeling of loneliness escalates, however, we can still feel connected digitally – through the use of FaceTime, Skype and Zoom for example, these video call facilities allow you to keep in touch and stay connected!
3. Focus on what is within your controlDuring an anxious time, it is common for our thoughts to wonder and start to think of the negatives, often leading us to think ‘what if…’. This type of catastrophic thinking focuses on the negatives, so instead, shift your mindset to being more of a ‘glass half full’ and thinking of the positive consequences. Don’t waste time and energy on worrying about things that are out of your control.
4. Take time out to prioritise your wellbeing (physical, mental and emotional)Keeping physically, mentally and emotionally well is vital. Make sure you set aside time each day to focus on each. If you find yourself feeling stressed coping with the change, take some time out and do something to boost your wellbeing – for example, do a home workout, meditate and keep a mood and thought diary to reflect on your emotions.
5. Keep things in perspective – ‘Look at the bigger picture’
Our emotional state can easily change in a negative way when something significant happens. It is easy for us to focus all our attention on the here and now often only concentrating on the ‘little picture’. Remember, this is a temporary normality - it is important to focus on the bigger picture.
Now more than ever, it is important that we are checking in on each other. Although we cannot connect face to face as we are used to, the technology allows us to do this virtually. Minimise the risk of loneliness and help stay connected to those who need it the most by following our top tips.