How to stay mentally healthy during self-isolation

If staying inside all day has you feeling down, you’re far from alone. Doctors said a lack of human interaction can have a big impact on your mental health.

“This is an unprecedented time. People are stressed out, they’re overwhelmed,” explained Dr. Lynn Bufka with the American Psychological Association, adding that people who are going through tough times can weather them more easily with the support of others. But she said that right now, given the importance of social distancing due to coronavirus, you might have to get creative to find that support.

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“One of the things that we’re all trying to figure out is how do we stay connected to the people that matter to us most when we’re not with them,” Bufka said Wednesday. “So my office actually was just doing a virtual happy hour. You don’t have to drink, of course, but it was an opportunity for everyone to use video conferencing to just sort of come together, talk about how are you managing right now, or to laugh, to sit outside, to talk.”

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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Or maybe you and some friends all tune into the same television show and chat about it while you watch, she added. The key is maintaining emotional intimacy even if physical intimacy isn’t possible.

“Humans are social beings. We are used to seeing people and interacting with people all day long. Even the most introverted among us wants to have some sort of social connection at some point. So we’ve gotta figure out sort of what do we need for our own well-being,” Bufka said.

She added that developing a routine can also be advantageous for your mental health, especially when it comes to consistent sleep, exercise, and meals.