It’s no secret that stress plays a big part in our overall health. My husband is a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor and always says our emotional state can lead to disease and other health issues.
Right now, with COVID-19 Global pandemic stress levels for all of us are at an all-time high.
I can’t visit my elderly parents, my dad lives in Australia, I don’t know when I will see him again, we are on lockdown and away from all the people that we love and rely on for support.
Now, more than ever we need to find ways to come together. Social distancing can feel very lonely.
I spoke to Laura Schopp, professor and chair of the Department of Health Psychology in the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri about ways to maintain community while still being responsible.
Call or video chat with family and friends. Connecting with others virtually can build a sense of community during a difficult time.
This includes virtual gaming, checking in with people through text messaging and hanging out in video group chats. People can consider using phone trees to check in on family members and to keep everyone posted on how they are doing. You can play board games using video chat or FaceTime, and you might want to consider a brief daily group call with a small group of friends to plan what you will do today in the event that you cannot get out. Just make sure that your conversations include non-virus-related topics, since it can be easy to focus on the virus and forget all the things that are going well.
Cook a meal for a friend, family member or neighbor who doesn’t cook or deliver groceries to someone who is housebound.
This is a small way to make a big impact and will also brighten your day. Consider leaving kind notes for others outside their houses or an occasional small gesture of care, such as a small jar of cut flowers or a book you’ve recently enjoyed. Make sure others who cannot leave their houses have your cell phone number. Also, don’t forget to ask about their pets — do they have enough cat litter or dog food? Additionally, consider sharing suggestions for funny videos or classic movies you have enjoyed.
Greet someone with warmth without shaking hands.
There’s no need to avoid eye-contact and smiling at your neighbor. We’re all in this together. A polite wave can make a great morale booster during these tough times.
Share resources, if you are able.
If you have extra toilet paper or cleaning supplies available, consider sharing your surplus to benefit others. Food banks, homeless shelters and other local agencies need your donations. Many people struggle in the best of times to ensure that their families have the resources they need, and the virus puts even more pressure on individuals and organizations just when securing those resources may be most challenging.
If weather permits, go outside
Sitting around a fire pit can be a way to pass an enjoyable evening. Walking outside is a great way to relieve stress, appreciate nature and enjoy the outdoors. Consider walking on a local trail, or a trip to a local park now that the weather is warming up. If your home is set up for it, a Netflix night with a one or two people can allow you to enjoy each other’s company while still sitting six feet apart.
Some of you may know that I work for a large broadcaster, CTV, we have a colleague who is leaving and we had to cancel her going-away party, but we did this instead via Zoom. It was so good to see everyone and was a great distraction.
I will leave you with this- We are all in this together. Sending you love.