Coronavirus has taken over our conversations, our media, but hopefully not our health. We have taken immense pride in staying up to date with information surrounding the coronavirus and taking all precautions recommended to us. As of March 16, 2020, Mayor Jim Kenny ordered all “nonessential businesses” in the City of Philadelphia to close following the guidance of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in hopes of decreasing the curve of the coronavirus outbreak.

You’ve been asked to take part in social distancing in order to flatten the coronavirus outbreak curve but you’re not quite sure what this is going to look like. Here you will find a few helpful tips and tricks to think about as you are socially distancing yourself during the coronavirus pandemic. Your goals should be to stay healthy and decrease your worries about what this means for you while maximizing time together with your loved ones. Stay in as much control of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as you can in these times of uncertainty.

Social Distancing Tips and Tricks

  • Frequently wash your hands and try not to touch your face- antibacterial soap is best for washing your hands if you have it available to you
  • Try to keep surfaces clean using antibacterial wipes or sprays
  • Find a way to create structure- work and school offer a natural structure to our day where we are waking up and doing certain activities on a regular schedule. Try to figure out what your schedule while home can look like and stick to it.
  • Continue to work on yourself
    • Whatever you are working on in therapy, continue to put into practice the tools that you’ve been discussing
    • Work to reframe this experience as something positive in your life
      • Extra time with your loved ones
      • Time to reset yourself from all the business life has to throw at you
      • A break from the normal daily grind (rushed mornings, traffic/commute, hustling to get home for dinner, etc.)
    • Start a gratitude journal
    • Set your intentions for the day and celebrate when you achieve them
    • Challenge yourself to grow during this time
      • As an extrovert, this may be hard for you but you can find ways to be with yourself and find that fulfilling
      • Allow yourself to explore creative ways to teach your children, give yourself the pat on the back when you come up with something awesome!
      • Settle into just “being” with yourself
  • Get a good night’s rest or take naps
  • Utilize relaxation techniques- 
    • deep breathing
    • meditation
    • mindfulness
    • journal
    • take a bath
    • do a facemask or some other hygiene oriented activity
  • Bond with your loved ones- be happy you get to spend extra time with those you love
    • play games
    • have deeper conversations that you now have time for
    • steal a kiss between client meetings because you’re actually together during the day
  • Reach out- maybe you live by yourself or your loved ones are far away, that’s okay!
    • Set up phone dates
    • Videochat the friend that you usually go to their house to watch your show
    • Send a letter (yes, use snail mail)
    • Reach out using social media
  • Catch up on hobbies- life gets busy with our social calendars and kid’s activities that we too often put off our favorite activities
    • Finally, finish that book
    • Start an online book club with friends or family
    • Make your famous muffins or learn a new recipe
    • Finish the model car that is collecting dust
    • Finally, find out what happens to your favorite character in your show
    • Sew
    • Write
    • Paint/draw
    • Dance
  • Do the chore you’ve been putting off-
    • Finally, clean out that closet you’ve been meaning to get to
    • Reorganize your basement
    • Research and work on your financial portfolio
    • Make a Will
    • Apply for life insurance
    • Set up your Estate
    • Deep clean your home
    • Start and Finish the project you’ve been meaning to get to
  • Teach your children the things they don’t learn in school-
    • Get them to help you with your car
    • Teach them how to make a meal for dinner
    • Sew with them
    • Have them balance a checkbook with you
    • Show them how to draft an email when you’re sending the next one out for work
    • Show them something you use for work on one of the Microsoft programs
    • Frame this experience as a once in a lifetime experience that is fun and full of learning!
      • Your children are like sponges right now. If you feel scared they will too. TALK about it. Help them understand.
      • Let them know that they are as safe as possible and use the time to expand their world.
    • Stay active- despite gyms being closed or our favorite running group not running this week, try to find ways that you can get some physical activity during your day
      • Go for a walk around your house
      • Jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups
      • Start your morning with a good stretch
      • Bodyweight exercises
      • YouTube workouts
    • Support local small businesses
      • Think small before you go to the big guys for resources
      • Instead of going shopping in-store, purchase gift cards that can be used later or online
      • Buy your supplies via local shops, if available. Ask if they have delivery services.

Things to Avoid During Social Distancing

  • Making your loved ones feel like they are a burden or unwanted- it’s easy to complain to your neighbor or friend on the phone how rowdy the children are being or how your partner is driving you nuts, but the reality is your probably really happy to have them in your life. Try to avoid making statements like “how am I going to survive my crazy kids for the next two weeks?!” Or, “I hope our marriage doesn’t suffer being stuck around you all day!”
    • Instead say: “I’m excited at the opportunity to be able to teach you in our extra time over the next couple of weeks” Or, “I’m lucky to have extra time with you these next couple of weeks, I also think we should honor each other’s boundaries and identify when we need alone time.”
  • Going out and interacting with people if you really don’t need to- even if you are in the age range that is not at as large of risk and tend to be healthy, you can still carry the virus. Help your neighbors and elderly loved ones but take precautions to not get them sick.
  • Becoming negligent at work- try to always do your best work even when the boss isn’t there to oversee everything or, your two-year-old is being super cute and you just want to play with them. Self-control will be hard, but you’ll be so proud of yourself when you were able to complete tasks and your employer notices!
  • Overestimating/Underestimating- There is a lot of information out there about the coronavirus. Be sure your sources are factual. The CDC and WHO are good resources to check regularly.
    • Overestimating: as humans, our brains are hardwired to think from a fear-based perspective, this helped us survive when we didn’t know if berries were poisonous or the sabertoothed tiger was going to pounce on us. In a time of technology and a plethora of resources, we don’t need that part of our brains to become activated as much as they do. With that, we tend to overthink, overanalyze, and become worried about things that may not need as much concern.
      • Recognize that YOU are resilient. You’re working to do the things on the list above. You’re staying healthy. You will get through this! Look at history and know that we can come back from harsh times both as an economy and as a society.
    • Underestimating: You may not have prepared in terms of gathering food or setting yourself up for success while being quarantined. Recognize that this could put you in emotional danger, or even physical danger by not having proper supplies or the right mentality. If you are healthy, young, and in good spirits with resources this is great!
      • Please be mindful that there are people out there that the coronavirus scare is impacting both on an emotional and physical level. They may not be as healthy or young as you or have as many resources available to them. Take into account that you may be a carrier and protect those that may not be as fortunate as you in their life circumstances.

Though we are not able to see clients in-person, we are still working our hardest to see people via telehealth technologies such as online video. Our therapists are holding extended hours to help accommodate your needs during this time. To set up an appointment, call 267-495-4951. We are here to help!