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The Effects of Isolation on Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19

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We are social creatures and being isolated could have a strong effect on our well-being. Zlatin Ivanov believes that, “All our systems, including social, psychological and biological, have developed around social groups and interaction with one another and social isolation often brings the negative effects of loneliness, anxiety, and sometimes depression.”

During this time of COVID-19, when we’re all experiencing physical distancing limitations, what can we do to protect our mental health and support a healthy immune system?  It’s often as simple as bringing awareness to your level of stress, and adopting a couple of new strategies to decrease stress, increasing our feelings of happiness and overall health.

Studies show that continuing to communicate with your family or friends by video chat can help you to protect your mental health.

 Also, following some healthy routines like regularly incorporating physical activities you enjoy, could decrease cortisol and adrenalin. Both of these are stress hormones that create extra adrenal stress.  Noticing your stress level, and then making small lifestyle adaptations such as these are ways to keep yourself healthy mentally and physically during COVID-19. 

 Additionally, using mindfulness techniques such as meditation could be effective strategies to reduce anxiety or depression in stressful times. Spending time in nature, listening to the sounds of nature and increasing your exposure to green space can all play a part in helping you to increase dopamine and serotonin – the hormones which are responsible for creating happiness and mental health.

 With a bit of extra awareness and some adaptations to our daily lifestyles in times of stress, we can achieve good results.  As Ivanov says, “We need to stay aware of what makes us happy and brings joy to our daily life.”