In this pandemic, health is a vital issue to be addressed due to COVID-19 still running amok in most countries. Its effects are affecting everyone, even the ones who are at home. It is because it does disrupt not only physical health but also the mental health of the people. To “flatten the curve,” the government implemented quarantine to avoid widespread infection, considering how infectious the virus is. Therefore, people are locked away in their homes devoid of socialization and physical interaction.
The quarantine is very beneficial because it can help the health workers to have a manageable number of cases to resolve. However, it does not prove helpful to the people in quarantine in terms of mental health. They are susceptible to the negative psychological impact of being isolated and away from their usual routines. A 2019 review in The Lancet analyzed the possible implications of COVID-19 on quarantined people. It reveals much psychological distress, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress symptoms
- Depressive symptoms
- Low mood
- Emotional disturbance
- Emotional exhaustion
Physical distancing should be prioritized, but we are social animals as well. It is in our nature to interact with others, especially with our loved ones. Fortunately, we are living in a generation where socialization is not bound by long distance anymore. Given our present circumstances, distance socializing has promising benefits for us to cope well in quarantine.
Technology as a Helping Hand
In times like this, technology really offers a hand for the welfare of mental health. With social media, we keep ourselves updated about what is happening outside our homes without actually going outside. It also works wonders when in terms of socializing people. Exchanging messages across the globe are now possible. As a result, people tend to spend most of their time online to interact with each other. And I saw that as a necessary adaptation from modern society in response to physical distancing.
Don’t you love it when you get notifications from your friends, family, or lover? That’s invigorating to experience because social connectedness can help us avoid adverse psychological effects with the aid of the internet. Researchers have found that a higher level of social connectedness among adolescents not only contributes as a protective factor against an array of risk behaviors but also fosters more positive mental health outcomes by decreasing feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness (Beam et al. 2002; DuBois and Silverthorn 2005; Hawkins et al. 1999; Zimmerman et al. 2002). This connectedness is a need, especially for the teenagers who always wanted to express their ideas to their peers.
Don’t be shy to ask for a conversation with a friend if you are feeling lonely. Considering the hardship brought by the pandemic, it is vital to communicate your feelings to others. Messaging applications like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger give us this opportunity. You can freely express your ideas towards a specific subject or give away your thoughts to create a mindful conversation with your friends. Also, engage yourself in topic discussions of your liking through apps like Reddit and Discord. They feature different online communities and servers that may cater to your personal preferences. If you aim to find people with the same interest as yours, they are the apps to look for.
In social media, don’t hesitate to post what’s up with your everyday life so that everyone knows you are doing fine. A “love” react from your post about having enough of your situation or receiving a comment “How are you today?” from your peers make a huge difference. If you missed someone, call them so their voice may provide you tranquility. If you want to say something, it is time to spell it out. In this quarantine, everyone deserves to voice out their feelings.
Care with your Bonds
We are living in a time where our health is in the face of multiple threats. We may be far away from each other, but it is always time to express our love to our loved ones. Especially nowadays, we would never know what will happen tomorrow. Now is the time to treasure our bonds with our distant friends and family. Through online, we can check them out and appreciate every single moment of connectedness.
Distance socializing through the internet is one of the essentials for the welfare of our mental health. Chatting with your loved ones provides us peace of mind and a good mood for the day. It helps us to share our thoughts with our peers and let loose negative feelings stored in our hearts. It also nurtures our bonds with our distant loved ones. Honestly, it feels great being connected with everyone we loved in these trying times of pandemic. So press the send button and tell them how you feel.