Stressed, Sad and Lonely? You Are Not Alone
It’s been over six months since we voluntarily self-quarantined amid the COVID-19 crisis, and my days are blending. During a time of widespread uncertainty, I find reassurance and normalcy in maintaining my daily routine. Also, I remind myself of the position of privilege that I am in as an independent financial advisor, we still have new clients flowing in and have job security for the foreseeable future.
We are facing a challenging time as a nation and as a global community. Instead of being encompassed by fear, anxiety, and frustration, we should take every step to preserve our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s easy to feel helpless and scared, especially if you live alone, are older, or are dealing with a disability and/or chronic illness. Isolation can have lasting negative effects on your mental health, but there is good news: it’s easier than ever to stay connected with people who care about you.
Even before COVID-19, nearly 50% of Americans surveyed said they experienced loneliness. That figure is only expected to climb because of COVID-19, and it’s well proven that loneliness can have a major impact on mental health. It adds to depression, anxiety and stress, and can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
What’s more, loneliness can even affect your physical health. To put things in perspective, studies have shown that feeling isolated is just as harmful to your physical health as smoking 15 cigarettes every day. It affects the human body twice as much as obesity does, putting you at a higher risk for health complications like heart disease and stroke.
Those are all scary statistics, especially on top of the health crisis we’re facing. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Everyone is thinking the same thoughts that you are, feeling the same worries. We’re all in this together — and by sticking together we’ll all make it through this.
We Are Not Alone
Humans are a social species — it’s no wonder we’ve come up with so many ways to stay in touch, even during social distancing! Video chatting has really taken off in the last few months.
Here are some of our client’s favorite ways to spend time together over video:
- Weekly lunch dates with co-workers
- Games like trivia and charades
- Creative art sessions to start the morning
- Happy hour on Fridays
- Streaming yoga and other fitness classes
We have been hosting weekly “Corona-Calm” chats for 20 minutes on Zoom each Friday at 10 AM and invite you to join us. Sign up under “Confident Women’s Club” on our website and we’ll send you an invite.
If you don’t know where to start with video chatting, just pick up the phone. Call someone to catch up, especially elderly relatives who can be prone to loneliness. No matter how you choose to stay connected, hearing voices and seeing faces can really help you feel more connected even if you can’t see your loved ones in person.
Move Your Body
Another great way to stay connected happens to be great for your health in other ways, too. With gyms closing and fall approaching, it’s easy to neglect your physical wellness and that could leave your muscles stiff. If you can, do the stretches and exercises at home! You can find videos of modified exercises online. I have been taking Pilates every day through Core Pilates and enjoy it immensely. This can also be a fun activity to do with whoever is also quarantined with you. Let’s face it; you will run out of Netflix shows to watch at some point. Plus, exercising is an excellent way to access those happiness-spiking endorphins.
If you’re looking for more ways to beat isolation and stay connected, you can help your community. Caregivers and patients facing COVID-19 need resources like face masks and donated blood, and you can be part of the solution. We’re all in this together!
As I mentioned above, there are some negative, ableist comments being said in the news and on social media right now. I’m disappointed in the messages the media is conveying, and I need to take intermittent breaks from it periodically. In most states, emergency alerts are automatically sent to your phone, so you’ll still get the necessary information even if you turn off the news and Twitter notifications.
During times like this, depending on your support system is more important than ever before. Those of us with children at home are now thrust into dealing with childcare and the daily education for our kids while trying to work. Even if you take pride in your independence, don’t hesitate to ask for help, especially if it’s going to make you feel safer and make errands and chores more manageable.
Hopefully, the outbreak will end soon. We all know that setting goals is one of the best ways to motivate ourselves. It’s much easier to get through a difficult time when you have something to look forward to at the end. Instead of focusing on how this outbreak is limiting aspects of your life, make a list of all the activities you look forward to doing when all this is over.
Remember, this too shall pass. Think of how much more you will appreciate hanging out with friends, eating out at restaurants, traveling and resuming your daily routine once a COVID-19 vaccine has been distributed.