In response to the accelerating spread of the virus, measures to keep people apart are put in place. Schools are closed for the rest of the year, people are working from home, even some national parks are closed.

You can’t hug your mom or comfort your friend. You can’t even eat in your restaurant or enjoy a fitness class at the gym. It’s all so unnatural.

As we live through the COVID pandemic, staying at home and not seeing our family and friends have become the “new normal”. While the intention is good, studies show that social distancing has a significant impact on people’s mental health and emotional well-being.

Prolonged isolation during the pandemic may worsen or trigger mental health problems. In fact, researchers at the University of Manchester revealed that social distancing and isolation heightened feelings of anxiety and depression among the general public.

Humans are social creatures. The rational part of you may understand the need to keep two meters apart at all times, but not being able to enjoy daily social contact can take its toll on your mental health.

What you can do

Find ways to relax

In this times of uncertainty, many people are reporting that their anxiety is through the roof. I know it’s hard to keep calm and carry on, but you need to find a way to relax.

Now that you’re spending more time at home, you can use this time to start a new hobby or do things that you enjoy. It can help take your mind off things that are bothering you and alleviate your stress levels.

Stay connected

If you usually go to work and hang out with friends, it may feel like a huge adjustment being stuck at home alone. Things may seem difficult right now and it may feel like you’re alone in this struggle.

It’s important to reach out to your family and friends if you’re struggling. Phone calls, video conferencing apps, and social media are just some of the ways you can keep in touch. Also, look out for family and friends who might be finding this time difficult.