Social Distancing & Coronavirus  - How to Stay Healthy & Sane During This Period of Uncertainty

I think it’s safe to say that everyone reading this has heard of social distancing by now. With the craziness of Covid-19, we’ve all probably been impacted quite a bit. Maybe you’re working from home, are out of a job, have kids at home who can’t go to school, or you’re now under an order from your state to stay at home. It has been a crazy few weeks so far. So what can you do to make sure you stay healthy but also take care of your mental health at this time?


Stay Connected While Social Distancing 

While you may not be able to get together with friends for a coffee or a movie while practicing social distancing, you can still stay connected. Use Facetime, text, talk on the phone – whatever you prefer. Just make sure if you’re feeling alone or struggling with your recovery, you reach out to someone and tell them how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Set Up Remote Therapy Sessions

If you’re used to seeing a therapist, try to reach out and see if you can set up a remote session – via Zoom, Facetime, or over the phone. It’s a scary time. No one really knows what’s going to happen or how long we are going to have to stay inside, and it’s really important to maintain a normal routine as much as possible, especially when it comes to therapy sessions. If you aren’t in therapy or your therapist isn’t able to set up remote sessions, look into something like Talkspace.

Talkspace is an online therapy platform that provides users the confidential support of a licensed therapist through an easy-to-use and HIPAA-compliant app. This might be worth trying if you’re struggling and need someone to talk to. This is perfect in a time of social distancing.

I went to the website to do some research for you all and  figure out what it was all about. When you're ready to start signing up, takes you through a series of questions – makes sure you’re older than 13, confirms that you aren’t in a life threatening situation (and if you are it will provide you with resources), and then asks what you are seeking help for. Some examples of reasons you might be seeking help that it lists are feeling depressed, anxious, traumatic experience, having trouble sleeping, issues with substance abuse, something else, or just curious. The site goes through a few more questions, and eventually gets you to a place where it tells you about payment. Payment appears to be anywhere from $65-$99 per week, depending on your plan.


Here are the plan options:

  •  Unlimited messaging therapy plus - $65/week paid monthly – text, video, picture, and audio messaging. Guaranteed daily responses 5 days/week.
  • Unlimited messaging therapy premium - $79/week paid monthly - Text, video, picture, and audio messaging. . Guaranteed daily responses 5 days/week + 1 live session per month (30 min each).
  • Live talk therapy ultimate - $99/week paid monthly - text, video, picture, and audio messaging. . Guaranteed daily responses 5 days/week + 4 live sessions per month (30 min each).

The cancellation policy says you can cancel at any time and finish out the remainder of your month.


How do they find you a therapist? They say that they use their custom matching algorithm to send you a few therapists they think would be a great fit. They’ll take into account the questions you’ve already answered as well as asking a few more.

Security and privacy – they say the technology they use is fully HIPAA compliant and all chat data is encrypted on the servers, and all communication between their software and the user is encrypted.

It seems like something that would be worth trying if you’re struggling at this time and can’t meet with your regular therapist, or you don’t have a therapist but feel like you need someone to talk to.


Set A Schedule

Having a schedule can be incredibly helpful in stressful times while trying to practice social distancing. If you are working from home and still have set hours, that’s probably pretty easy. But even if you don’t, try to come up with a schedule that works for you, write it down, and follow it! Make sure you set aside some time to do something that you actually enjoy – go for a walk (and stay away from other people), read a book, watch some TV, hang out with your dogs.

Here’s an example of one of the schedules I have been using (I have changed mine depending on the day and how much work I have to do).

  • 9am - wake up, shower, and walk the dogs
  • 10am - have coffee and eat breakfast
  • 10:45am - check emails, do some work
  • 12pm - work on website
  • 1:30pm - lunch
  • 2:30pm - more work (update my website or do work for my 'real' job, depending on the day)
  • 4pm - work out
  • 5pm - walk dogs again
  • 5:45pm - watch an episode of a TV show
  • 6:45pm - dinner

For rest of the night, I hang out with my dogs, cats, wife, watch more TV, read, or whatever I feel like doing. 

I’m fortunate enough that my schedule is pretty flexible. I can work when I want to as opposed to having to work set hours. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, it means I really need to come up with a schedule and try to stick to it, or I end up just sitting around doing nothing, feeling anxious about what’s going on in the world. I also readjust my schedule on the weekends like I would normally do. I still try to set a schedule but I give myself a lot more freedom and downtime for the weekends. If you’re the kind of person who feels better and is more productive without having a set schedule, that’s okay too! This is all about what works for you.


Read

When I want to kind of disappear from reality but I don’t want to waste my whole day watching TV, I’ll read a good book. It makes me forget pretty much everything going on in the world around me, but I feel like I’m being more productive than just sitting around and watching TV. Again, this is all about what works for YOU during this time of uncertainty and social distancing. If you want to sit around and watch TV all day, and you can do that and it makes you feel better, please do! I just started reading Little Fires Everywhere – I’ll update you all and let you know how it is!


Exercise

If you’re able to exercise, it's a great thing to do to stay healthy and sane during a time when most of us are pretty much trapped inside! You can find tons of free exercise plans on Youtube or just by googling it. Even if it's just for a few minutes a day, exercise can be incredibly helpful for your physical health but also our mental health. Exercise can be helpful in treating depression and anxiety by releasing the body's 'feel-good' endorphins. If you can't do strenuous activity, try yoga. Meditate. Do whatever makes you feel good!

 

The world is scary right now, and the best thing to do is again, what works for YOU. Do whatever you need to do to stay healthy, stay sane, and maintain your sobriety/recovery while practicing social distancing. If you have any other ideas on how to handle social distancing and the current events, please feel free to share them!


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