The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us inside. Many families are able to stay home together, but others were left with isolation as their only option because they live alone or away from their families. Some people still have to go to work every day because their jobs were deemed essential, and when they are home, often they must stay separate from their families, so they don’t risk infection of their loved ones.
Family members in nursing homes and other facilities are also separated from their families because COVID-19 protocols at their long-term care facilities prevent their loved ones from visiting. Whether you’re separated from your family because of external restrictions or personal restrictions for safety reasons, you could probably benefit from some tips to help keep your mental health in check through these hard times. Here are some things you can do that could have a positive impact on your mental state, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Keep Routines as Regular as Possible
If you’re able to stay home, try to keep your routine as regular as possible. You might be working from home, your children could be transitioning to online classes, or you could be out of work and trying to stay busy—regardless, establish a routine that you want to stick to, and try your best to stick with it.
Your routine could include an ideal wake-up time for you, time slots for work or creative activities, mealtimes, physical activity, time to call family members or loved ones who you can’t see, and time to unwind. The important part is that the schedule is conducive to you so that you are better able to stick with it. If you end up breaking the routine, though, then you should move on to the next tip.
Go Easy on Yourself
This time is hard on everybody. Being in a confined space with—or without—your family members can get stressful and can leave you feeling alone. If you break your routine, didn’t meet your goals for the day, or just feel like you’re not doing enough in general, it’s okay. Be easy on yourself during this time because everybody is trying their best to get through, and that includes you.
It’s also important to remember that being separated from your family is most likely not by choice. And if it is a choice, it’s likely you’re staying separated from them for their own safety because you’re a worker on the frontlines. Be gentle with yourself for being away from them—you’re doing this for their health and your own health, which is nothing to feel guilty about. But to feel more connected to them from afar, you can follow the next tip.
Check in on Your Family Members
Whether you live in the same house or across the country, checking in on your family members to see how they are holding up both mentally and physically can help their mental health as well as your own. Thankfully, we live in a digital age where communication from afar is as simple as pressing a button. Texting, calling, or video chatting with your family members can keep you in the loop with their lives and health statuses. Don’t forget that children and teens also need to be checked up on. Asking them how they’re feeling and if they have any questions about what’s going on in the world can help them drastically.
To establish a routine, you could plan regular phone calls with different family members throughout the week. That way, you both have something to look forward to on a weekly basis. Also if your family member or loved one misses your scheduled call, you know to check in with others to make sure they’re okay. Programs also exist for group calls where you can get many people on the phone at once, which can provide you with the feeling of a social gathering without their physical presence. You can stay inside while chatting on the phone, or you could follow the next tip to change your environment and clear your head.
Go Outside If You Can
While going out to public spaces with other people isn’t possible right now, you can still go outside as long as you keep your distance and follow the precautionary measures. Utilizing your yard and balcony can help you clear your head by getting out of a confined space to open air. If you don’t have a yard, or if you need an even bigger change of scenery, you can still go to many recreational facilities, like parks. Check online that your local parks are still open and what measures you need to follow before heading out.
At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we care about the wellbeing of you, your family, and all of your loved ones during this pandemic. While we all are prioritizing our physical health right now, it is also important to prioritize mental health, especially if you are separated from your family. We hope these tips help you stay happy and healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.