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Four Mental Health Tips for the Socially Distanced

With offices (sensibly) closing to stymie the spread of COVID-19, the privilege of working from home might seem sublime at first. But for people unaccustomed, the isolation, disrupted routines, and unfamiliar work style may take their toll. Check out four tips for mental self-care to employ should you find yourself working from a virtual office, cancelling plans, and practicing social distancing.

  • March 13th 2020

Try Meditation

Perhaps you're no longer commuting and have a spare 30 minutes in your day! It's a perfect opportunity to experiment with meditation. The physical and mental health benefits of meditation include less anxiety and depression, a heightened sense of well-being, and greater happiness and emotional self-control. Learn the science behind meditation.

Meditation is something you can do from your own home, and all sorts of techniques and methods exist. Check out a beginner's guide to meditation from The New York Times. Also, several respected meditation apps are available for a little more guidance.

Vivek Murthy SH 2016
“Contemplative practices like meditation can improve emotional well-being with a relatively small investment of time.”
Contemplative practices like meditation can improve emotional well-being with a relatively small investment of time.
— Vivek Murthy

Practice Joyfulness

Though the world weighs heavy at times, we can all practice joyfulness in our day-to-day lives. "If we make room for small moments for joy, they can help us be more resilient over the long haul," says designer Ingrid Fetell Lee. Her suggestions: Brighten up a drab room with colors or recall the silliest thing in your day. Joyfulness can have tangible benefits. See why Fetell Lee says simple changes to the world around us can improve our health, stimulate creativity, facilitate social harmony, and of course, promote joy.

Healthy body, Healthy Mind

The mind/body connection is a two-way street — our emotions affect our physical health, and vice versa— and social distancing can make it difficult to stay physically healthy. The science is clear though: exercise and diet significantly affect your mental health.

Maybe you've changed what you eat because of stress, paused regular trips to the gym, or never really thought about diet and exercise in the first place. Learn from science writer Christie Aschwanden and Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research, as they give diet and exercise tips everyone can use.

Lean Into Boredom

Interpersonal relationships fill our lives, and our time. So to be abruptly deprived of friends, family, and coworkers may mean more time on our hands — but many of us are downright uncomfortable with being bored! Professors Sherry Turkle and Timothy Wilson want us to embrace that boredom and reclaim the lost art of doing nothing.

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“The capacity for being comfortably alone with yourself...is essential to the capacity for a comfortable relational life.”
The capacity for being comfortably alone with yourself...is essential to the capacity for a comfortable relational life.
— Sherry Turkle

Boredom is an opportunity for original thinking, where the lack of structure and stimulation allows natural creativity to flow. Additionally, understanding ourselves better through alone time and self-reflection can actually strengthen our relationship with others.

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