How to Take Care of Your Mental Health While Social Distancing

mental health and social distancing

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s completely understandable to be stressed in the wake of a national emergency, schools going online, and some states even enforcing residents to shelter in place. Social distancing is crucial to preventing the spread of the virus, but it can be hard on your mental health.

Although it’s important to do your part in keeping everyone safe, you want to avoid psychological distress from social distancing. “Self-isolating for days and weeks at a time in the absence of illness, without a mandated lockdown, may create other mental challenges and not be possible for everyone,” says Dr. Stacy Torres, a sociology professor at UC San Francisco. “We are social creatures.”

So, if you’re on week two (or even three or four) of social distancing and starting to feel the funk, here are a few pieces of expert-backed advice to keep all this at-home time lively and positive.
 

Binge-watch (with friends)

Although binge-watching Netflix huddled at home all day can seem lonely, it doesn’t have to be. A Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party allows groups of friends to binge-watch their favorite shows together. Quick tutorial: Go to netflixparty.com on a Google Chrome browser, install the extension, and make sure your friends have the extension too.

Go to Netflix.com, play your show, hit the “NP” button in your browser, and send your friends the URL that appears. This way you can all watch together and enjoy some lazy couch time—from a safe distance, that is.
 

Try to maintain a routine on weekdays

Try to create a routine that works for your life at home, because it will maintain a sense of normalcy when everything else happening in the world feels chaotic. Wake up, shower, do your morning skincare, have coffee, get dressed, catch up with friends, exercise, and do anything else to stay sane.

You don’t have to follow this exact routine every day (weekends should still feel like a treat with lots of sleeping in), but find something that makes each day structured. 

Be soft with yourself while social distancing

Try to do things you enjoy, whether it’s drawing, writing, painting your nails, or even just watching a silly makeup tutorial. Doing activities that make you happy under normal circumstances will help you feel happy now, and take your mind off of social distancing for a moment.

Most Importantly, remember that there’s a lot of people feeling the same way as you right now! Be honest about the way you’re feeling and you might find yourself feeling better. As they would say in HSM, “We’re all in this together!”

This post originally appeared on HerCampus

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