OPINION: Social distance, not social isolate


Photo credit/ Jennifer Flynn

During this time most people are primarily concerned about their physical health; however, Contributor Victoria DeFrancis says its also important for everyone to take some time to focus on their mental health.

Victoria DeFrancis, Contributor

Nobody could have predicted the birth of a worldwide pandemic, and as human beings, we can’t be expected to know the “right way” to handle a pandemic.

We can only take our days one at a time, and can only do so much to handle an emergency like this. But we should do our very best to keep ourselves and everyone else safe.

While most people are focused on their physical health, it’s vital to also take a moment to address our mental health. It’s important to remember social distancing, but not social isolation. Being an introvert, the isolation was extremely comfortable for a while, but eventually life started to become a little lonely.

No one is alone in this, and we are lucky to have others to empathize with in such an unprecedented situation. Self-care comes in many forms. There are methods for everyone to choose that best suits each person. Here’s some ways that I found helped me take care of my brain and body:

Try a little quiet time

In times like this, we can become lonely and stick to our beds. Take a break from the bright screens and go outside, perhaps go for a walk with a friend and enjoy the surroundings and fresh air. Those who might prefer to spend time alone can always try meditation. Start small; even for five minutes.

It’s okay to be lazy, but not too lazy

Sometimes, it’s hard to leave the house. Some of us prefer to stay at home, either for personal or safety reasons, both of which are totally okay. It’s still important to remember to take care of ourselves at home, especially since we love to be lazy at times. Believe me, lazy is my middle name. Being lazy can be fun for a while, but unfortunately it becomes a habit that I can’t afford to keep.

Check up on your friends

Reach out to those you haven’t heard from in a while. Some of them may need a person to talk to and it might even make their day. While we should be following safety guidelines such as social distancing and wearing facial protection, we can still see and chat with our friends. Being around friends always gives me a boost and encourages me to make the most of every minute.

Spend time with pets

According to Petable, pets aid in combating loneliness and provide unconditional love that promotes self esteem. Petting animals release serotonin and dopamine, which are the two “happy” chemicals our brains produce. These “messengers” are apparently very low in those who suffer from depression.

Take a drive

Blast our favorite songs, jam out to them with the windows down, if weather permits, and enjoy the scenery! It’s always a good time driving with friends too! Invite a friend to drive with, or for those who don’t drive, ask a friend to take the wheel. I love drives, especially at night, and who wouldn’t love to jam out to their favorite music.

Get some food or coffee and just chat, updating each other on anything new going on. Going on drives can be peaceful, especially since we’re lucky enough to be able to view and experience the natural world around us. Just remember, be safe and wary of the surroundings.

Clearing our minds and just taking a moment to pull ourselves together can be very beneficial to our mental health. We should be grateful for our bodies, and how much it does for us. We should thank them in return, and also keep ourselves mentally healthy. Being a young adult in such an unprecedented time is undoubtedly a struggle, but it makes me feel a little bit better to know someone out there feels exactly the way I do.

Take life one baby step at a time. It isn’t supposed to be easy for anyone. But we can, and should, live it to the fullest and do our best to keep ourselves safe and happy.

Contact the writer: [email protected]