Quarantine Fatigue and Social Distancing are impacting our Mental health. We are nearly 5 months into a global pandemic that has brought so many unprecedented times. During the last few months each of us has faced unique challenges. Some are the battle of homeschool while being a full time working parent, or quarantining completely alone. However, gone are the days where we were content at home with our sourdough starters or Pinterest craft days with the children.
We have all hit a wall at this point and are facing quarantine fatigue. Children are bored and their behaviors are showing it. We are missing happy hour, our friends, and connections with humans outside the four walls of our home. To make matters worse, the pandemic and how to handle it has become a very divided issue. People people have very different ideas of what is safe and what is not safe. Your social media may be filled with pictures of people who seem to be living in a pre-pandemic world. You may be wondering what is happening? What pandemic are these people living while I am still sheltering in place?
The social isolation that we have been enduring can significantly impact our mental health. We have been in quarantine longer than many of us suspected and there is still no end in sight. As human beings, we are not meant to be isolated and we thrive on human connection. It is important for our overall well being to address our social needs in the ways that we can. Whether you have been quarantining alone, or with family, you are probably in need of additional social interaction.
Although I believe safety comes first, I also believe that it’s important to interact socially with the people who are meaningful to us. It is important for our mental health to foster and nurture those relationships that are meaningful to us. This may have been more difficult in the whirlwind days of early quarantine. There are safe ways to see those close to us. Whether you to meet in a park where you can fully social distance but enjoy that in person interaction or set up a socially distanced coffee group in your driveway or backyard. It is important to talk with those close to you and create a plan that everyone is comfortable with. It won’t be the same as pre-Covid days, but it will begin to fill your social bucket back up.
Changing Your Environment
Is it time to change up your environment? If you have been quarantining and working from home, you may be ready for a change of pace and scenery. Have you been entertaining the idea of taking a vacation or trying to figure out how to see family members who live far away?
Instead of hopping on a plane or going on a typical summer vacation, many people are planning road trips. Traveling anywhere in this situation does come with risks. However, traveling by car could minimize some risks. Like, doing research and planning ahead, minimizing your stops, packing your own food, or opting to camp or renting an Airbnb instead of a busy hotel. Again, this may not be the vacation that you planned to take in 2020, but it may provide you with an experience you might not have considered pre-COVID. It could be a break from the day to day stress of managing life in quarantine.
Is it possible to combat quarantine fatigue with day trips? If you are not quite ready to hit the road, but are itching for a change, it might be helpful to explore day trips closer to home. Maybe there is a town nearby you have always want to explore. A day trip will still give you the opportunity to get out and about and experience a new environment without the extra risk of staying overnight. Additionally, maybe there are parts of your own city you always wanted to get more familiar with. Perhaps you would enjoy an afternoon spent exploring an unfamiliar neighborhood or picking up food from a new restaurant and enjoying a picnic in a park. You may be surprised how being in a new place, whether near or far, can refresh or energize you and break up your quarantine routine.
Remember these are only suggestions and you have to make choices within your comfort level. Others may be quick to judge your decisions. However remember these are unprecedented times and you have to do what is right for you and your family. That may mean packing up and traveling to see family when screens just won’t due anymore. Or it may be mean changing up your routine closer to home. Everyone will have different levels of comfort in getting social needs met.
If you are experiencing changes in behavior or mood this may be an indication that therapy may be helpful. Our therapists at Family Connections Therapy currently provide tele-health and tele-play therapy sessions to accommodate people of all ages. Family Connections Therapy therapists are trained to support families in navigating scary and uncertain times and are happy to help. Call 858-776-8804 to speak with our team.