Maintaining Mental Health While Social Distancing

Many restrictions have been made to our daily lives here in the United States to combat the spread of COVID-19. In Spain, life is even more restricted and residents can only leave their houses to get food or go to work if they are an essential worker. 

María Martinez, a resident of Lodosa, Spain, said at first life during this shutdown was hard, but she knows why this is necessary. 

“What you are doing, staying at home, is what you have to do, and it is the only thing you can do to help,” she said. 

Martinez mentioned that not only does staying home save lives, but it also serves as a lesson: “It’s a time to think in the present, which is something that we don’t usually do” she said.

Everyone’s lives have been uprooted by this pandemic. It is an adjustment that, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), can cause loneliness, fear, and stress.

At times it might feel like you have lost touch with others, but friends and family are simply a click away, through virtual video conferencing systems like Zoom.

 Janie Egan, the Mental Well-Being Program Coordinator at the Wellness Resource Center at Temple University, shared how social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. It also does not mean you have to be super productive. 

“We can be patient with ourselves and ease up some of that pressure,” Egan said. “Just because we may be home doesn’t mean we need to do things perfectly. What would that even look like?”

The Center is holding online sessions every week encouraging students to practice self-care and find balance in their new routines. They also created a hand-out on how students can take of their mental well-being during this time.

Another person fostering community is Temple alumna Sarah Madaus, who recently started posting exercise videos on her Instagram every week. She is using her skillset as a fitness instructor to show people they are not alone. She hopes everyone knows: “It’s okay to feel really weird right now and feel kind of bad and even feel unmotivated.”

Her workouts are free to access, but she is accepting donations for Philabundance and a domestic care workers fund.

Life is quite different right now, but, remember, it is okay to not be okay.

Stay safe and focus on what makes you happy.

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