The term “social distancing” along with the wearing of protective face mask coverings has been merged together for safeguarding our physical health in maintaining a measurable distance from others who are not family members residing in the same household to prevent the viral spread of COVID-19 – contributing to the loss of personable contact with others, which may be having a significant impact on our mental health.

To protect the public health and safety of others, social gatherings have been non-existent for most of us over the past seven months, diminishing our individual drive to collectively engage with others and keeping people detached from one another.

This community isolation is difficult to process solely by oneself in trying to deal with a myriad of feelings such as depression, anxiety and withdrawal – increasing stress levels to new heights for ourselves while trying to stay positive throughout the daily grind of uncertainty.

Many of us are living with people in the same household and social interaction is something we should be engaged. Expressing oneself with family members with even the slightest bit of personal touch can be very supportive and caring.

“We’re seeing an increase in more of family member involvement,” Sunnyside Comprehensive Healthcare Team Lead and Bilingual Therapist Leticia Chavez said. “I think it’s a good feeling to know that you’re helping someone because you never know when someone is going to need the help.”

Making physical contact with a family member while just watching television on the couch can induce a feeling of connection and engagement that we might be missing.

An added focus on touch within our households can be extremely helpful in easing feelings of anxiety and depression at this time.

If you are experiencing a crisis, call this number provided by Comprehensive Healthcare – 800-572-8122.

“Whatever you’re going through, you are not alone.”

Patrick Shelby for the Sunnyside Sun editorial board. PShelby@sunnysidesun.com

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