Combating Isolation

by | Apr 3, 2020

At the start of 2020, we shared our goals and inspirations, our plans, and things for which we were thankful. For many of us, this year has not gone as planned. At the culmination of this year, imagine the newfound appreciation we will all have for in-office work, dining out at our favorite restaurants and traveling wherever we desire.

Until then, we are working from home, our students are being taught virtually and our usual daily routines have been paused. Adapting to this new norm has been challenging, which is why we would like to address feelings of isolation and ways to stay sane during this uncertain time. 

We are all confined to our homes, attempting to continue on with life as best we can. We urge you to check in on your friends and family, especially those who live alone. They may be experiencing a different level of loneliness, and without their regular routine, may go days without interacting with the outside world. 

Take A Walk

If you are home with your family, you are likely experiencing some level of frustration by being stuck inside all day. While the weather is unpredictable here in the North East, it is still mild enough to take a walk and get some much needed Vitamin D. Without the commute to and from work, school, or wherever your normal routine would take you, you can use that time each day to get fresh air. 

Studies have shown that walking just 30 minutes a day can improve your overall health. Implement this new habit into your routine, walking at the same time every day to ensure you are getting some exercise. 

For added value, spend some time creating a music playlist or find one that you like. If you are walking down a main road, be sure to practice safety by walking against traffic, on the left side of the road, and have your headphones at a respectable volume so you are aware of cars and your surroundings (Department of Health & Human Services, 2015).

Bring along family members or your pet on this adventure, encourage them to get outside and challenge them to walk further each day.

Join a Virtual Community

One week into social distancing, our Co-Clinic Director, Kelly Donatello, had the idea to create a virtual community through a Facebook group, now known as Mind/Body Reset Support Group. The goal of this page is to keep the communication with our patients flowing and offer support for members of our community who may be struggling during this time. 

If you have a Facebook account, you have the ability to join up to 6,000 groups (2020). These groups consist of everything from people who enjoy cooking, sports, fitness and more. That said, if Facebook groups aren’t your thing, call your friends who live alone and check on them, reconnect with old friends, reach out to family members and utilize apps like Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts. 

Take an Online Class

Itching to learn something new? Online resources like Coursera, Kadenze, edX, and Khan Academy, have thousands of courses available and the best part is, they are free (Long, 2020). If you have ever wanted to learn a new language, learn to code, or expand your personal development, there is a class for that. YouTube is also a useful resource for entertainment and learning a new skill. Encourage your friends to join you to create accountability and come out of this crisis having gained a new skill.

As gyms continue to close, maintaining a regular workout schedule can be achieved by creating a new routine. Many athletic trainers have taken to Facebook and Instagram live to stream workout classes that you can do with little to no equipment. Finding these classes is as simple as a Google search. Check out this link to streamed workout classes.

Keep your Spirits High With Food

There are many ways to boost your mood.  Now, more than ever, it is tempting to ravage through the pantry, but adding healthy foods into your diet will benefit you in the long run. Start by adding more Omega 3s into your diet, such as with fish or via a supplement. 

Probiotics are also essential to maintain a healthy diet, they can be found in the form of fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh and some cheeses. Probiotics are good for your gut, help support your microbiome, and help maintain healthy skin. 

Foods with vitamin B folate are excellent mood boosters and can be found in spinach, which can be added to a salad or blended into a smoothie, and avocado, which is full of healthy fats. Lastly, caffeine, in moderation, can help you stay focused, give you energy, and maintain a feeling or normality within your day to day life.

Create a Schedule

If you have more family at home than you are used to, encourage everybody to establish a routine. It can be difficult to create a schedule so below you will find an example of what a typical day could look like. Here is what we recommend at the Center for Wellbeing:

  1. Start off by waking up at a reasonable hour and maintain consistency every day. Do your morning rituals. Wash your face, stretch, make your bed and eat a healthy breakfast.
  2. Take some time after you complete your morning rituals to express gratitude, you can do this in your head or by writing it down. By doing this, you are acknowledging your privilege to be able to socially isolate (if you are able). Spend 30 minutes or so in this state of calm by meditating, reading or simply being. 
  1. Next, we recommend stimulating your brain. If you are working from home, write a list of what you need to accomplish for the day. This will help keep you organized. If you are a student, attend online lectures, study or complete your work. If you do not work, do a puzzle, create art or learn something new.
  1. Take an hour mid day to have lunch. Give your body time to digest its food by going for a walk, sitting outside, reading, or otherwise engaging in nature.
  1. After that, do a workout or go for a walk to maintain your fitness.
  1. Be productive and clean your house, take the time to reorganize your closet or sanitize your refrigerator.
  1. Next, get back to work, finish up what you did not complete earlier or pick up a hobby to entertain yourself.
  1. Spend your evenings however you would like. Unwind with some television, video chat with your whole family or read a book.
  1. Establish an evening ritual that you can follow every day and get a good night’s rest.

Focus on keeping your spirits high, maintaining social distance and making sure to check in virtually with the people around you. Staying home does not have to be isolating, so take this time to improve your wellbeing, you will thank yourself later.

Sources:

Department of Health & Human Services. (2015, June 30). Walking for good health. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/walking-for-good-health

How many Facebook groups can I join?: Facebook Help Center. (2020). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://www.facebook.com/help/199554316755501

Long, E. (2020, March 27). Where to Take Free Online Classes While You’re Stuck at Home. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.com/where-to-take-free-online-classes-while-you-re-stuck-at-1842496408

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