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How To Cope With Social Distancing

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Since 1949, the entire month of May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. It may be surprising to know that 1-in-5 individuals will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. Because of this, Mental Health Awareness Month aims to bring the importance of mental health to light. This May in particular is an especially important time to raise awareness for mental health as social distancing and trauma caused by the Coronavirus outbreak have taken a severe emotional toll on individuals across the globe. 

This outbreak is incredibly stressful for a number of reasons. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children alike. But coping with this stress can make you, your loved ones, and your entire community stronger. Here at Penn Foundation, we understand the importance of mental health, and we want to provide you with some helpful tips and techniques that you can use to cope with the current situation. 

Stay Connected With Loved Ones

Living through the frightening realities of a global pandemic is traumatic, and social isolation can amplify the effects of that trauma. Penn Foundation therapist, James M., recommends scheduling regular video or phone calls with your loved ones to check in. But rather than just making small talk and exchanging basic pleasantries, James recommends setting up an ‘interview-style’ conversation that dives into raw emotions and the traumatic experiences we are all trying to cope with.

Doing this creates what is known as a “timeline of experiences” that can establish an internal sense of order. This is beneficial when the pandemic has made many feel helpless and out of control.

Stay Connected With Yourself

During this time, it is also important to maintain self-awareness and reflect on your thoughts and feelings. One way of doing this is by writing a letter to yourself or making journal entries that discuss your emotions and perceptions during the pandemic. This could include many of the same questions and answers that would be covered in an interview-style conversation mentioned above, but it should also include what you want to gain from this experience. With so much normalcy stripped away from daily life, it is important to take the time to reflect on what you hope to achieve as a result of the change in routine. 

Staying connected with yourself also involves taking care of your physical body. Due to the global health crisis, it has never been more important to stay healthy and provide your body with the valuable nutrients it needs to combat illness. Eating right, taking vitamins, and making time for socially distanced physical exercise are all good ways to keep yourself healthy during this time. Mindful meditation and yoga are also good activities that promote both mental and physical health. 

Here at Penn Foundation, we know that these times are challenging and scary for individuals and families in our community. Mental health has never been so important. We will continue to provide mental health care and substance abuse treatment to those in need. If you would like to speak to someone about the things you’re experiencing, reach out about our telehealth services.