Social Distancing Keeps Us Physically Healthy, But What About Our Mental Health?
Lack of Social Interaction Affects Mental Health
Mental health issues are never easy to live with, but there are more resources (and less social stigma) now than in any other time in history. There are also more studies to research mental health and what environmental and social factors impact someone’s wellbeing, such as exercise, sleep, and social interaction.
It’s the impact of the last point that leads many people to struggle during a time of imposed isolation, whether from a global pandemic as we are all experiencing or by physical barriers due to a disability. So, with more people concerned about their own mental health or the health of their family, here are some basic guidelines and recommendations to protect your psychological wellbeing during self-isolation.
Avoid News Reports Containing Speculative Information
With any breaking news, situations can change by the day if not by the hour. While it is important to be informed, sources like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) don’t recommend consuming news articles or blogs that insist on new cures, previously unknown symptoms, or other headlines that are not corroborated or that cause you anxiety. Additionally, obsessively checking the news can lead to feelings of hopelessness. If you are a person who naturally consumes a lot of media, consider setting boundaries for yourself of only allowing 30 minutes in the morning and another 30 at night. This way, you aren’t being inundated with depressing headlines and unverified claims. Also, try to balance your consumption of media reports with official government agencies to get a more holistic view.
Play Positive Music During the Day
Everyone knows music can affect your mood. That’s why there are playlists for everything from working out to feeling sad. Music has been proven to boost mental performance, reduce stress, manage pain, and some studies even suggest the effects of music can boost memory function and decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
Sounds pretty great, right? Check out our Make Me Happy Spotify playlist for a mood-booster.
- Better Days - OneRepublic
- From Now On - The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
- Smile - Sidewalk Prophets
- Get Stupid – Aston Merrygold
- Joy - Bastille
- I Want to Break Free - Queen
- Breathin - Ariana Grande
- Run Away With Me - Carly Rae Jepsen
- The Walker - Fitz and the Tantrums
- Still Feel - half*alive
- Purple Hat - SOFI TUKKER
- Sweetest Life - KWAYE
- Can’t Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake
- High Hopes - Panic! At the Disco
- Higher Love - Kygo, Whitney Houston
- All Star (Breathe Carolina Remix) - Smash Mouth
- Rescue Me (feat. Alex Newell) - D-Sol
- Like Sugar - Chaka Khan
- Call Me - St. Paul and The Broken Bones
- Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
- Shooting Stars - Rival Sons
- Post Malone - Sam Feldt
- Beautiful Day - U2
Find Ways of Connecting with Others
Call up friends and family. A lot of people may be hesitant to talk to someone who isn’t their parent or child on the phone, but it often can be more fulfilling than a text message conversation. Since 2014, texting has overshadowed calling on the phone for Americans under 50. But as of late, many people are finding comfort in the sound of familiar, yet different voices (as in, different than the voices you hear each day in your house). So, call up your friends from high school, college, or old workplace. Call a cousin you haven’t seen in a while. Call your siblings. Even a short conversation will help lessen the feeling of isolation by expanding your social circle by 1+.
Mental Health Resources:
We’ve collected several more resources from government recommendations to self-help apps for anxiety or other disorders.
- World Health Organization (WHO): Mental Health Guidelines
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Stress and Coping
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Hawaii: Free Art and Music Therapy
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Mental Health Apps1
General Mental Health
Insight Timer - Insight Timer has over 40,000 guided sessions for helping you get to sleep, cope with anxiety, and manage stress.
What’s Up - Uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy methods to help you identify positive and negative behaviors related to depression, anxiety, anger, and stress.
Quit That! - Isolation can lead some people into bad habits, especially without access to friends or family who act as accountability partners. Quit That! helps keep track of your goals to quit smoking, quit drinking, or any other vice you’d like to keep track of.
Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM) - SAM is an app for people with anxiety who need methods outside of meditation to ease their symptoms. SAM educates the user about anxiety and gives methods for practicing self-help in a customizable tool-kit.
Happify - Happify trains your brain with various exercises to help you conquer negative thoughts, cope with stress, build self-confidence, and more. There are several paid versions, but there is also a great free version.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD Coach - PTSD Coach was developed by the Veteran’s Administration National Center for PTSD and offers resources to help you manage the stresses of living with PTSD. You can customize your tools according to your needs and can be used in concert with current treatments you may have from a therapist or other medical professional.
UCSF PRIME - PRIME aims to help people with schizophrenia by connecting them to peers and helping with goal setting with a focus on wellbeing. PRIME is still in its infancy, but click this link to email UCSF to determine your eligibility for the PRIME study.
Lifesum - Lifesum is more all-encompassing than just a food-tracker app. Lifesum also allows you to set other personal goals like building muscle or getting more steps in each day. Entering your personal data gives you a “Life Score” that you can work toward a healthier, more balanced life.
Just Need Someone To Talk To? Call Us. Really.
BraunAbility is more than just a company that sells mobility equipment. If you are alone during this time or you need someone to talk to, call us. BraunAbility is in the business of changing lives and during this isolating time, sometimes that just means connecting with a real person.
Here are some of the people you might connect with.
Elaine. Elaine has been with the BraunAbility team for 10 years and is known across the company as being a ray of sunshine of positivity. Back when we were in our offices, Elaine might say hello to 30 people in passing on her way to her desk. She’s got more close friends in the office than many other people because you feel like you could tell her almost anything.
Carrie. Carrie and her husband have six kids between them and you sort of get the feeling they would take on a dozen more because they enjoy the energy and humor that comes when you put a bunch of teenagers into a room together. Carrie has a soft voice, but a loud laugh that she spends generously and always brings a smile to our faces.
So give us a call. Tell us you read our Mental Health article and you just need someone to talk to. We are looking forward to meeting you. Call Elaine or Carrie today, 1-888-365-9417