Psychological Effects of Social Distancing

Kayla Timmerman, Co-editor-in-chief

Social distancing is something most have never had to do before. This is all brand new to all of us. As we are all stuck in our house, the psychological burden that is weighing us down is something we never experienced before. The mental effects of being away from everyone and abandoning our routines is what we need to shine a light on. 

The American Psychological Association says, “Common sources of stress during this period include a drop in meaningful activities, sensory stimuli and social engagement; financial strain from being unable to work; and a lack of access to typical coping strategies such as going to the gym or attending religious services.” All of these together cannot be good for one’s mental state. One of the biggest things a person can experience is fear and anxiety. Anxiety can arise from many things during this time, from finding out how to get food, pay bills, fulfill family care obligations, and overall, having oneself or a loved one not catch the virus. Another thing many people experience is depression. Being away from all people and locked up in the house most of the week can weigh down on those who aren’t good with being alone with their own thoughts. Another feeling that can be experienced is the anger and irritability of having all freedom of life and going outside ripped away from us, or being angry at those who do not follow the quarantine rules. The psychological effects weigh down on everyone differently, so be patient with those who may be in a troubled headspace. 

Being emotionally unstable during this time may seem unimportant with everything else going on, but psychological and emotional wellness is one of the most important things to focus on right now. All of these feelings are completely normal and something the majority of all of us are feeling right now. To cope with these feelings, you can stay virtually connected with friends and family, create a new daily routine, limit news consumption, and find fun and easy distractions to keep your mind busy and positive. Find what works best for you. We are all in this together.