There’s no denying that 2020 has been a difficult year for billions of people around the globe. As we’ve worked to adjust to the changes that coronavirus has brought with it, the ways that we interact with one another have changed as well.
People are doing the best they can to keep others safe through physical distancing and self-quarantine. Most are missing out on time with friends and family, only venturing out to buy groceries and other necessities.
Back in March, when most began to self-quarantine, it looked like we would be back to ‘normal’ within a month or two. However, COVID-19 lingered longer than many people expected it to. Six months later, millions of Americans are still adjusting to new norms. Many states have mandated masks and are actively continuing to promote physical distancing, recommending against even small family gatherings.
Luckily, humans are adaptable. We make the best of the hand that we’re dealt. Businesses quickly set up work from home policies and social media was flooded with pictures of quarantine projects, binge-watching favorite TV shows, and lots of sourdough bread starter. We picked up video conferencing and found a new way to connect when we could. Still, others embraced the period of self-isolation.
One concern that many in the mental health industry have voiced is that some individuals may become too comfortable with this isolation, preferring to continue living this way even if a vaccine is developed and society begins to go back to normal.
While solitude may give you a greater perspective of your own feelings and emotions, it can also become lonely and dangerously isolating.
Long periods of isolation can trigger feelings of anxiety and depressive episodes, especially for those who have a history of vulnerable mental health. Regular contact with friends and family is critical during this time, which is why we prefer to call it physical distancing rather than social distancing. It can be exhausting sometimes to continue to try to make virtual plans with loved ones, but those connections are part of what make us human and give us the strength to make it through challenging times.
While physical distance continues to be a given norm for the foreseeable future, social media platforms, voice calling and video calling are all vital tools for continuing to make connections with the people who matter most.
Your mental health is important right now. Continuing to reach out to people who lift you up can help you avoid turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, including drugs and alcohol. According to the American Medical Association, opioid-related overdose deaths have spiked considerably as a result of the pandemic. In fact, over 40 states have reported increases in mortality.
Loneliness and depression can factor into increased substance abuse, so while technology and may not be able to recreate the warmth of a hug or in-person coffee dates with your best friends, it is better than feeding isolation and depressive thoughts.
Take the first step. Send a quick message to the people you love but haven’t spoken to in a few months. Schedule a Zoom call with your closest friends and plan an online game night. Maybe even consider putting on a mask and enjoying an outdoor physically distant coffee date.
Ultimately, we are all in this together – and together, we will get through it.
Are you struggling to recover from substance abuse, alcohol addiction or depression during these stressful times? Addiction can be difficult to overcome, but it is possible. At Rain Recovery, our clinical practitioners and holistic therapists can provide the healing and addiction treatment you need. We ensure you receive the counseling necessary to feel connected to others again. Call (818) 208-9446 to chat with one of our admission counselors.