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Certified Health Coach, Award Winning Author, Motivational Muse

How to Stay Emotionally Connected During Social Isolation

In just a matter of days the world turned topsy-turvy. Last week I was in the Rhône Valley visiting vineyards for a work assignment with little access to world news. Then March 12 started a travel ban. We returned to the U.S. March 13. JFK Airport was eerily quiet at 5 p.m. when we arrived, usually a very busy time.

By Saturday, photos showed turmoil in the same location. Now we are hibernating at a time when we desire a joyful spring awakening, a week we usually go out to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Projects are on hold; three work trips for March and April are canceled. We are contemplating what’s next.

We accept life on pause. But it is disquieting. How do you process and cope with a situation that is changing by the day around the world and affecting so many people you know and work with? How do you manage anxiety creep? How do you feel less alone when your are socially isolating? What is the impact from all of this?

According to a 2017 report from Brigham Young University, social isolation can be harmful to your health, impacting physical and cognitive function, mental health and overall decline. Read this article “Social Isolation: It Could Kill You” from the American Psychological Association (May 2019) https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/05/ce-corner-isolation

Humans are naturally social creatures. Processing the directive to socially isolate is like telling us to wear our clothes inside out and shoes on different feet. We can do it, but it feels awkward and uncomfortable.

Here are some tips I hope will help

Go outside for fresh air. The days are longer and getting warmer. Being in nature will uplift your spirits and get you moving which increases your endorphins and helps generate a calming effect.

If you are working from home, which I do every day, create a quiet work space away from distractions to help you concentrate. Set aside a chunk of time to answer emails and check social media rather than throughout the day (unless that is your job). This will help you stay focused and be more productive.

If your mind is wandering, step away from what you are doing for a few minutes to reset. Try a five-minute movement break every hour. One of the advantages of working remotely is creating flexible hours to take advantage of when you feel more productive.

Manage the information you take in to avoid overload. The frenzy of news and social sharing is overwhelming. Limit television and social media screen times to specific times of the day and not late at night.

Call a friend at the start or end of the day to say hello. That person may also feel isolated. I try to call one person every day.

If your children are at home because schools are closed, this is a great time to do things together: read, cook, play games and music and limit all screen time. This is not the time to socially isolate within your own house.

Do something with your hands. I have friends who are quilting, cooking, gardening crafting and painting. I am not talking about doing chores; make it creative and enjoyable.

Finally, remember this: When the world seems complicated, try to simplify. When things feel unsettled, your life and activities may need to resettle a bit to adapt and adjust. There is help and support to stay calm amid chaos.

mother and child
Cooking can be a calming way to work with your hands and engage your children. Photo © Viacheslav Iacobchuk |Dreamstime.com

Coming Up on Fearless Fabulous You!

Want more tips? Join me on Fearless Fabulous You Wednesday, March 18 and 25 12 noon EST on W4WN – the Women-4-Women Network. Both shows will address managing anxiety and self-care, and we will take listener questions at www.W4WN.com

Sherianna Boyle
Sherianna Boyle

March 18 my guest is Professor Sherianna Boyle, MED, CAGS, a specialist on helping individuals cope with anxiety. Her latest book is “Emotional Detox for Anxiety.” Sherianna’s book arrived at the perfect time since I was feeling anxious. We’ll discuss tips for self-care and managing emotional triggers, and she will take us through her special C.L.E.A.N.S.E. method to detox from debilitating anxiety. www.SheriannaBoyle.com

Psychologist Dr. Colleen Cullen, Columbia Doctors
Psychologist Dr. Colleen Cullen, Columbia Doctors

March 25 my guest is Columbia University Medical Center Psychologist Dr. Colleen C. Cullen who will discuss how to help your children deal with the anxiety and coping during home hibernation. We will also discuss managing anxiety if you are diagnosed with COVID -19 and are in the difficult position of having to notify people. Dr. Cullen is a specialist in child psychiatry, anxiety and depression. Info

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I hope both shows will help and I encourage you to share. These shows will also podcast to iHeart.com and other podcast platforms.
Link to W4WN: http://http;//www.w4wn.com

Link to iHeart for permanent podcast. https://www.iheart.com/podcast/209-fearless-fabulous-you-27073519/

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