“Humans are social beings and we have been able to adapt to the challenges of the current pandemic to survive but definitely not to thrive,” said DR.Arnold Williams, Psychiatrist and chairman of the medical staff of theRWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Centerin Toms River.
In the following, Dr. Williams and other expert tips on how to stay happy, healthy, and hopeful despite the isolation we faced.
Less fear– “Reduce stress by comforting yourself with a favorite book, TV show, movie or music,” suggested Dr. Williams before. “It’s also easier than ever to learn basic meditation, even if it only takes a few minutes, and there are plenty of free and inexpensive phone apps that can help.”
Stay active– “Exercise is hugely important for people of all ages, even as little as 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise or brisk walking per day, ”Hackensack told Meridian Health Dr. Gary Small . Dr. Williams agreed, adding that this may require creativity. “IIf your gym is closed or you are uncomfortable, explore outdoor activities and other sports, ”he said.
Pick up hobbies– Dr. Williams said finding new hobbies is a great way to stimulate your brain. “An easy way to get your thoughts organized and organized is to write in a journal,” he said.
Maintain a routine– According to Dr. Small “it is important to try to create a daily routine that mimics your life before you were socially isolated.” Williams agreed and recommended following the same sleep schedule every day. “It’s difficult for people to deal with the unknown,” said Dr. Williams, “but this practice can help us gain some control.”
Connect– “People can take advantage of gifts we didn’t have in 1918 – including a revolutionary new way to electronically connect through social media sites, virtual platforms, FaceTime and more,” saidBehavioral Medicine Supervision from Rutgers University‘s Dr. FrankGhinassi. “People should plan ‘get-togethers’ the way they’d arranged lunch or dinner with friends, even if it’s over the phone.”
Limit media time– “Limit the time you spend on social media watching the news,” said Dr. Williams, “and especially avoid the news before bed, as it can lead to increased anxiety.”
Practice altruism– “There are few things in the world that make people feel better than having a positive impact on someone’s life,” said Dr. Ghinassi. “Whether it’s helping someone in a retirement home who is alone, working at a board, etc., doing good for others, gets us out of us and helps us recover. While the pandemic made us feel powerless, “he said,” friendly action empowers us. “
Take it– Carolyn Beauchamp from the New Jersey Mental Health AssociationReminds people suffering from mental health problems during this time that they are not alone. “If you are feeling anxious, stressed, depressed, or worried about the emotional well-being of a loved one, we are here for you,” she said. Among the many resources available, people can contact New Jersey Mental Health Cares at 866-202-HELP (4357) , text NJHOPE to 51684 and access online mental health screenings atmhascreening.org.For more information, visitmhanj.org.
A long time NJ Advance Media / The Star-Ledger writer Susan Bloom is an award-winning New Jersey writer covering topics from health and lifestyle to business, food, and more.
This article originally appeared in Jersey’s Best Summer 2021. Subscribe Herefor detailed access to everything that makes the Garden State so great.