This article was written by Sonia L. Cepeda-Hernández, Ph.D.,
Director of the Graduate Program in Counseling Psychology, as part of a collaboration between Albizu University and Fundación Triple-S.
In the midst of a social distancing process like the one we are experiencing, we must avoid physical contact. This does not mean that we must go into complete isolation. Here are a few recommendations for maintaining your emotional balance and wellbeing during social distancing:
- Identify who makes up your support network. There are many ways we can stay in contact with our loved ones and friends. Have phone or video calls, connect through social media, or have a chat, balcony-to-balcony, with your neighbors (maintaining a prudent distance) on a daily basis.
- Establish and maintain a daily routine and develop a self-care plan. This should include physical activity, a balanced diet, rest periods, and a bedtime routine.
- Identify activities you find pleasant and do at least three of them throughout the day. These can be very simple things, such as enjoying a cup of tea or coffee, reading a good book, meditating, or having a good conversation.
- During this time, work on improving your wellbeing. Your wellbeing includes pursuing a purpose in life, active participation at work or other gratifying leisure activities, establishing healthy relationships, having a healthy body and life environment, and being happy.
- Reserve time to remember moments of gratitude. You can keep a diary where you keep a list of positive things that surround you or have happened to you. Another exercise you can put into practice is writing a gratitude letter where you give thanks to someone or for something specific.
- Cultivate positive thinking. Reflect, write, or talk about happy events you remember, your positive qualities, or positive affirmations.
- Self-monitor your emotional condition. Keep a record identifying the emotions you are feeling.
- Be careful with your use of media and social networks. Follow reliable sources and limit the amount of time you stay connected. Avoid believing rumors or falling for fake news.
- Identify several things you feel you have control over in these moments of uncertainty. Every day try to do at least one of the things on your list.
- Practice radical acceptance. Make the conscious decision to accept this moment and your anguish, and practice all your skills to diminish that anguish, making yourself responsible for your own wellbeing.
If you think you need professional help, call the PAS hotline 1-800-981-0023.