Navigating social distancing for anyone is difficult, but especially for those battling depression or a sudden loss from their lives.
Whether it’s a recent break-up or struggles from daily depression, people everywhere will be tested during the coronavirus pandemic on how to deal with loneliness as workplaces have shifted toward remote options and businesses around the neighborhood will soon close too. Public gatherings have also been banned.
That leaves many people, especially those who seek medical care, lonely. While isolation has been linked to better forms of creativity, it’s important to note that there are ways it can affect you negatively.
At work, loneliness can hamper production output. As for your health, a study published in the journal Heart found that people who are socially isolated or lonely are more prone to a heart attack or stroke compared to those with stronger networks of people around them. Social isolation can also make people more aggressive.
But for those battling depression – more than 264 million people worldwide are affected by depression, according to the World Health Organization – social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak can be devastating, according to clinical psychologist Lindsay Weisner.
Weisner, the author of Ten Steps To Finding Happy said whether you’ve battled depression all your life or have been faced with a recent hardship, it’s vital to establish some type of normalcy during social distancing.
She drew on points in her book that aims to help people find permanent happiness through a few key points that can be useful in the time of the coronavirus epidemic.
Weisner stressed the importance of finding people that make you happy whether it’s through people you know personally to those you’ve met online through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
“You use those platforms to connect to people who will connect with you which is positive,” she said.
“I think this is when we should be using social media all over the place.”
Weisner suggested looking to Facebook where communities exist virtually. Things like community groups or even Reddit also are options. If you’ve been recently dumped and cannot get the cylinders of your heart moving forward, it could be a time to look toward dating apps where socially meeting might be discouraged but connecting with someone could help.
“Find a routine, find distractions. You want a routine where you’re not sitting around aimlessly but part of your routine should be trying something new each day,” she said.
A routine should be something fresh and new like picking up a hobby that you’ve put off due to time constraints. Especially for people going through a hard time, it’s a way of getting hormones fired up for a new challenge that hasn’t been previously explored like reading a book outside of your genre or taking up an online kickboxing course or continuing to exercise during the pandemic.
That doesn’t mean binge-watching a new show on Netflix, said Weisner.
“When you’re depressed, being on a schedule really does help,” she said.
“Although the idea of watching Netflix all day sounds great, it’s not as good for your mental health especially because your body will subconsciously pick up on things that something is wrong.”