Why is Matters to Keep Mental Health in Check During Quarantine
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How many times have you stood at your window, looking out? It’s incredible how situations can change our perspective of things, isn’t it?
In just a few months, things we took for granted have suddenly become really important. You now miss getting your cup of coffee at the coffee shop or even just sharing a hug with your best friend. For the extreme introverts, maybe it’s life as usual, but for the rest of us, it can get really frustrating. So, what can we do? And how can you keep socializing in these times of isolation?
How does Isolation Affect your Mental Health?
Humans are social animals, and we function at our best when we are in a community of like-minded people. As the Covid-19 pandemic forces individuals and families to stay indoors and distance themselves from others, we must be aware of the possible effects that this situation can have on your mental health.
According to the Guardian, it has been found that social isolation can have a significant effect on physical and mental health. In fact, long-term isolation can increase the risk of dying prematurely. This is due to a phenomenon called “social recession,” which is the mental equivalent of an economic downturn.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, who is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Brigham Young University, says that individuals with deeper social connections show less inflammation. In contrast, individuals that are isolated and lonely showed an increased rate of chronic inflammation.
The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) stated that the effects of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic are likely to lead to greater stress and anxiety levels. And that feelings of social isolation and loneliness, in conjunction with the health crises, can have severe health consequences for a lot of socio-economic groups.
Thus, it is necessary to look at some strategies for combating loneliness and increasing social interaction while still social distancing. Below are some things that you can try out
- Create a Chat Environment free from Pressure
Chances are, you already have several group chats with your friends or co-workers or even your family. There could be a secret one with the girls or one with your siblings that your parents don’t know about. However, in these times, you can consider moving to a platform such as Slack or Discord. They are free (at least for what you’ll need them for). More importantly, they allow you to set up channels, so that certain discussions can be zoned to specific channels. This is very nice because it enables your chat to focus on specific topics without the whole chat devolving into a mass of chatter and GIFs. This way, you can keep serious talks, such as business and politics to one channel, juicy gossip to another, and another one for cute baby or cat pictures, or sports talk. And for the singles of the world in isolation - get on the chat room apps and stay on them!
When building a digital community, you must create a space for people to talk, communicate, and still feel safe.
- Play Digital Board Games
Can you recall those good old days when you had a choice of either video or board games? Well, most board games now have digital counterparts that you can play remotely with your friends. If you have a favorite that you love to play, you can simply look for the mobile versions. Most board games have an Android or iOS version and allow you to play across platforms. Most of these games are designed for synchronous multiplayer games, you could hold a conference call with your friends on speakerphone so that you can hear everyone’s jokes. This will help you regain that old-school feeling
If you’re playing online monopoly or chess for the millionth time, check out this list of cool board games that you can try out.
- Create a Digital Happy Hour
Zoom is mostly used for meetings and other important communications. Still, it can also function really well for simple video chat. Apart from Zoom, there are other video conferencing platforms that you can use, from Google Hangouts to Skype, FaceTime, and Facebook Messenger. If you miss your after-work or weekend drinks with your friends or your midday trip to the coffee shop with your co-workers, you can shift it to a video platform. While it’ll take some time to adjust, especially if you’re the type that loves to steal your friend’s fries, once you adapt, it will be just as fun. Or even more so. For one, there’s no need to try talking over the admittedly mediocre background music in the corner of the band. Plus, there’s no need to worry about drinking too much and driving home, you’re already home.
- `See a Movie with Friends
Okay, so you can’t visit the cinema, but you can definitely host an online watch party with friends. You can schedule a movie night with your friends, and you know the best part, you can do that every single night. Missed a new season of your favorite show? Or that movie that you’ll always wanted to see but couldn’t make time for? Simply organize a watch party with friends. Facebook has a watch party feature, but it only works with videos that have been uploaded to Facebook. This means that you’ll be limited to public domain titles. However, you can set up a screen share for up to 50 people with this Discord, so 1% and play movie and their screen, and every person can watch it. Netflix also has a watch party feature that allows you to synchronize your screen with a friend so that you see the movie simultaneously.
To use it, log into your Netflix account and click the Netflix Party button, it will then generate a unique URL that you can send to your friend. When they click it, they get directed to Netflix and the movie you choose plays simultaneously on both your screens.
- Start an Online Club
Clubs are not new things, you might have joined the book club as a kid, or join the AV club in your High School. In these times of isolation, you can create a book club around something that is a common interest of you and your friends. For instance, you could decide to try a recipe from a cookbook, or work on a DIY Project.
Whatever it is, ensure that everyone that joins is interested and then draft out a list of talking points for your meeting. This will ensure that you’ll have things to talk about.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of things you can do to remain social in these trying times. In fact, you’re only limited by your imagination. Just ensure that you stay indoors and safe, and spread hope and positivity.
Oh yeah, and cherish the next time you’ll be able to have lunch with your friends.