How Mothers Can Combat the Effects of Increased Isolation

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption beyond viral infection. The need to maintain social distances has impacted the way we live. The economy has suffered, businesses have closed, and unemployment levels have risen significantly. But some of the most hard-hitting issues have been on a deeply personal level.

Moms across the country have had to limit their contact with friends and family for an extended period. This doesn’t just prevent maintaining social bonds but also limits vital sources of emotional, mental, and practical support. Not to mention that the need to balance working from home with increased childcare as schools have closed adds additional pressure to the strain of isolation. The good news is that there are ways for moms, whether they are in quarantine or simply distancing, to combat the worst effects of this social seclusion.  

Let’s review how you can best approach the challenges you’re facing at this difficult time.  

Stress and Expectations

Being isolated from your friends and family for extended periods of time is difficult enough. However, this can be compounded by the various additional stresses you experience in your life. Even those pressures that you faced as part of your everyday routine before the pandemic can be more difficult to cope with because everything can feel that bit bleaker. As such, it’s important to recognize and handle stress before it starts to take a toll on your wellbeing.   

This begins by managing your expectations. Let’s face it, moms are expected to have almost goddess-like patience and the ability to take on multiple tasks at once while having some kind of work-life balance. It’s not just society that pushes that viewpoint, we do it ourselves to an extent. This is a difficult time, and it’s important to both acknowledge and accept that you can’t be all things to all people and remain sane. You have to be kinder to yourself about what you haven’t been able to get done, or what aspects you’ve let slip. Realize that sometimes just getting through another day is an achievement in itself. 

It’s also wise to arrange a routine of stress and anxiety-relieving practices. Firstly, you need to be vigilant about the signs that stress is present in your life. Any parent knows that there can be various causes, but looking out for symptoms like hair loss, sleep deprivation, and even early signs of aging is key to intervening before it gets worse or affects your parenting. Deal with those immediate symptoms, but also adopt activities such as taking time out to meditate with mindfulness. Make sure that you are taking breaks throughout the day and eating properly. Even regularly talking to yourself positively, and utilizing affirmations can improve your response to the situation. 

Self-Image

Few of us can honestly say that we always have a positive sense of self-esteem. However, the isolation that COVID-19 has ushered into your life may well have impacted your positive self-image. You might be quick to brush this off as a minor issue, but the fact of the matter is that it can have more serious consequences on your long-term mental health, and your ability to cope with increased stress.   

Firstly, it’s important to note that with so many of the population stuck inside, with various priorities in the mix, not everybody is undertaking the same beauty regimes that they were in the before-times. You are not being slovenly by spending a couple of days a week in sweatpants. However, from the perspective of self care, it can still be important to spend some time on things that make you feel better about yourself. Even something as simple as keeping a regular bathing routine can help you feel refreshed and give you a sense of positivity about your appearance.  

You should also take care to understand how realistic your view of yourself is. The fact that COVID-19 has forced people to use video calls more frequently, with cameras and lighting that aren’t always the most flattering has been instrumental in the marked increase in plastic surgery consultations recently. Indeed, virtual consultations via telehealth services have made it easier to access these types of services. Making such cosmetic changes can indeed boost your self-esteem. It’s also important to approach the matter with a clear mind and prioritize safety. The image on a Zoom call does not necessarily reflect how you actually look, and neither should it be considered a representation of your overall self-worth. Talk to your friends and family about how you feel, and an ethical cosmetic surgeon will be open to discussing whether there is any need for adjustments, and what the limits of intervention should be.   

Personal Connections

Often the best way to combat the effects of increased isolation is to address the root problem itself. The sense of loneliness is one of many negative symptoms of the time we’re living in, but if you can find alternative ways to keep your personal connections thriving, you can find it easier to handle the rest.

Make a point of scheduling regular video calls with those you care about. Don’t make it about discussing a specific topic or having any hard intentions. Instead, just use it as a mutual opportunity for you to spend an hour together just enjoying one another’s company or expressing what’s on your mind. If possible, meet up with a friend at an outdoor area where you can maintain distances but still enjoy a hike and a chat together. These social outlets are an important tool in protecting your own and your family’s mental health.   

In terms of practical support, in a lot of cases, it may not be appropriate to arrange for your kids to be watched by friends or relatives in the physical sense. However, there is an increasing trend of virtual babysitting. While it’s not the ideal scenario, grandparents can spend quality time with the kids doing activities over Skype or Zoom, freeing you up to dedicate some time to your needs.   

Conclusion

An increased sense of isolation is common during this pandemic, and it can exacerbate the difficulties in other areas of your life. Adopt a vigilant attitude to stress, and be aware of how your self-image might be affected at this time. Above all else, use tools that help you maintain your connections with your loved ones and stave off the loneliness.  

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