Mental Health During Social Distancing

By Angie Hurley, CSCS, CAT(C)

So, we’re distancing socially. Which can be mentally tough for some – easy for others. But socially distancing doesn’t need to mean passively passing time in front of a screen, or even worst for our mental health – social media.

Here are my top 5 ways to actively embrace social distancing, while improving mental and physical health, as learnt during Snowmageddon 2020…

Cook a new recipe!

New recipes can be time consuming and, during the pre-pandemic days, we were too busy. Well, now, you can order the ingredients to be delivered, and chef it up! I like to choose an ingredient I’ve never worked with before, then base the meal around it! Also a great activity to keep those kids who are not in school busy. Need new recipes? – Reach out to JK Conditioning’s nutritionist, Julia.

Read a book!

This can be a great time to catch up on that fiction series you’ve lost track of, or learn about something new with a non-fiction! Personally, I prefer non-fiction, here are my top recommendations for reads:

  1. Braving the Wilderness – Brene Brown
  2. Ripple Effect – Dr. Greg Wells
  3. Any of the old Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew mysteries
  4. The entire Harry Potter series + Cursed Child

If reading’s not your jam, try an audiobook, a TedTalk, or a podcast! For example, Dr. Greg Wells has a great podcast avail on iTunes and Spotify, and Brene Brown has many YouTube videos of her TedTalks and public speaking events.

Get outside!

The greatest place to create social distance? The great wide open! Go for a walk, hike, snowshoe, ski! Whatever your chosen mode, get outside and take in the fresh air. Or if we are really lucky: the sun. Take this time to explore a new trail or revisit one you haven’t had time for recently. Being outside, and active, brings many benefits which will contribute to improved mental health during this time.

Check up on family and friends – from a distance

During the peak of Snowmageddon in January, by Day 6, I Skyped friends of mine who were across town for an hour. I also spent hours on the phone cumulatively that week. Reach out to friends – just don’t meet up. Text someone you haven’t heard from in a while, call someone to ask how they’re doing, video chat with your family who lives away. What a great time to support each other, and hear about what was happening in their busy lives before we were forced to slow down. Social connection will be key to staying mentally sound while isolated.

Catch up on the one thing we’re lacking

SLEEP. When our lives are busy, we often sacrifice this activity first. Use the slowed down vibes to embrace an extra half hour of sleep in the evening and morning. 

Want to get better sleep but your head is abuzz with the news cycle? Try a mindfulness or meditation app or online video. I often use one, and it usually begins with “Let’s start tonight’s session with an exercise…”. I can’t tell you how the rest goes, because by the time she says exercise, I’m out. Zzz.

Hope that helps! Thanks for reading,


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