And so it continues, this new way of living with a virus that can kill its host. I was optimistic while, at the same time, scared shitless. Last week I heard that the quarantee would continue where I live for an additional five weeks. My friend, who is a musician, isn’t scheduled for an indoor show until the beginning of October. He has been performing virtual shows via Facebook Live most Saturdays. Yesterday was the nineteenth show. Yeah, it has been a long time. I look forward to Saturday nights. It feels like I am getting intimate, private shows for two hours. I love live music shows and this way I do not have to worry about contracting COVID-19.
Now that we have adapted to this new life, we have to learn how to care for ourselves, including our mental health. Here are a few things you can do to maintain a healthy mind while we are kept in isolation:
- Forums and Online Groups
We can start right here on Psych Central. Sometimes we need to know that we are not the only one who is living with bipolar disorder. I just looked at some of the resources here and there are quite a bit of explanations and definitions of symptoms when you search Psych Central for bipolar disorder. I am also a member of a couple of Facebook pages for people who live with, or want to know more about, bipolar disorder. If you are a member of these pages, you will always have someone to talk to when you need someone.
- Virtual Appointments
We are pretty lucky to have the digital media capabilities we have today. We cannot have one on one appointments so that no one contracts the virus, but that does not mean we can do without mental help. I see both my psychiatrist and therapist virtually. We have appointments scheduled and I receive an email with a link and when it is time for that appointment, I click on the link and wait for him or her to pop on my computer. We talk to each other as we would if we were sitting in the same room.
- Walk or other exercise
We have all heard how important it is to exercise. Virus or not, it is still important. For a lot of us in the States, it is summer and it is hot. Throwback your alarm for forty five minutes so you have time to beat the heat outdoors and take a brisk walk or run. I am afraid to hit the gym with all the cooties in the air or on the surfaces. I think the safe thing to do is workouts at home.
- Phone a friend
It is easy to float into isolation in this new world. Be sure to reach out to friends or family. We never know, our reaching out could help someone on the other end of the call. Maybe we can find someone to connect with online. Just remember that we need to be proactive. If we want to communicate, let’s be the ones who reach out.
- Do something creative just for the joy it brings us
There are so many ways to be creative and give our minds a break. Do not let the inability to be creative stop you. We all can be a bit creative or at least follow directions. Have you seen some of these great paint by number watercolor? Crazy beautiful. There are countless coloring books. I have a bunch and a large pack of Crayola colored pencil. Think about it as your art therapy (my favorite type of psych ward therapy).
No one said this new way of living was going to be easy, but think of all you have overcome, dear reader. Keep treading water and the above ideas as ways to stay connected.