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Dealing With Separation During a Pandemic

21 September 2020

Whether you’re practising social distancing or you’re quarantined at home due to suspected exposure to COVID-19, you may find yourself with unexpected feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Here are some tips to help you cope with your emotions while you’re away from your loved ones.

It doesn’t matter who you are, by nature, human beings need to feel connected to others – especially loved ones. This is why social distancing has become an unusual challenge for many of us who are now confined to our homes. While isolation can be difficult to navigate, there are strategies you can employ to address separation anxiety in a healthy manner. This may include finding constructive distractions, connecting with people who are important to you, and engaging in self-care techniques.

Rely on Digital Tools for Connection

You may not be able to have supper with your friends or family in person, or go to the movies, but you can still meet up with them virtually over Zoom, Skype, Houseparty or WhatsApp. Do the online version of the things you would regularly do – for example, eat a meal together, stream a live living-room concert, use the Netflix Party extension to watch a movie, play games on Houseparty or simply talk. This could help you feel more connected to the outside world and ease loneliness too.

Change the Way You Think

Stop internal dialogue when it takes a negative turn. Banish thoughts such as “This will never end”, “I can’t cope without my loved ones” and “What if I get infected?” To decrease the chances of a negative spiral, limit the amount of COVID-19 information you’re consuming by only checking updates once or twice a day.

Remind yourself that you’ll make it through and this situation is temporary. A great way to achieve this is to keep a gratitude journal and write down all the things you’re grateful for – this could be the roof over your head, the service workers who keep us safe or the fact that you can still connect with your loved ones while social distancing.

Find a Distraction

If you’re not currently working from home, take advantage of your free time. Take up a new hobby, such as writing, painting or baking, or learn a new language. You can watch tutorials on YouTube, use an app or take an online class through an online learning platform such as Udemy. Alternatively, if there are tasks you’ve been putting off, like cleaning, or sorting paperwork or your finances, use this time to get it done. And if you just want to relax because you’ve been working from home or as an essential services worker, do that too. Play uplifting music, listen to podcasts, watch your favourite shows or read that book you haven’t had time for.

Practise Self-care

Although you may be tempted to skip exercise and swap your healthy diet for comfort food, think again. An effective self-care routine plays a vital role in improving your overall wellbeing of body and mind, which in turn eases anxiety and stress. Continue doing the following:

  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day
  • Having set mealtimes
  • Eating a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, lean meats and fruit
  • Breathing deeply and with intention for 20 to 30 minutes per day. Listen to a podcast such as The Anxiety Guy for beginner deep-breathing techniques.
  • Sticking to a routine where you have set daily waking and sleeping times
  • Scheduling online dates with loved ones when you would have seen them

If you have any symptoms of stress or anxiety for 2 weeks or more, give your doctor a call as it may be time for professional help.

This article is published courtesy of CareWays.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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