COVID-19 coping tools

How to deal with feeling disconnected from our friends and families

As the coronavirus rages on, many of us are beginning to feel disconnected being stuck at home, separated from our friends and families. Older adults may be disproportionately affected, as public health experts emphasize that seniors must continue to take precautions to limit their potential exposure to the virus. One of the most important precautions advised: stay home unless you need to leave for essential reasons, such as to receive medical care, shop for groceries or pick up prescription medications. This means older adults are finding themselves isolated more than usual, which can affect both their mental and physical health. Practicing the 4Ms below may help.

  

 

1.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention, working to stay focused and in the present moment, and reacting nonjudgmentally to things as they are. Mindfulness and selfcompassion are effective in improving resilience as well as decreasing anxiety. You can practice mindfulness by performing any of these easy activities:

  • Stop for a moment and take note of how each breath you take feels as it travels in, through and out of your body.
  • Focus on the tastes and textures you’re experiencing during every bite of a meal.
  • Throughout the day, pause for a minute to identify what you see, hear, smell and feel.
2.

Meaningful connection

Every single person is worthy of connection and being known — including you. A meaningful connection includes being emotionally vulnerable and open with someone, showing affection to them and receiving it in return, and knowing that you can count on one another. We can meaningfully connect in marriage, friendship, and relationships with our children and with our neighbors. This can happen in person or by text, email, phone call, mail and video chats. Reach out when you want to connect, to check in on someone you care about or to ask for help.

3.

Movement

Any type of movement and stretching that you can do in the comfort of your home or around your garden or yard — as permitted by your doctor — is helpful to prevent restlessness and maintain muscle and joint health. Physical movement can also help decrease the risks of some health issues facing seniors, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and arthritis. Other benefits include:

  • Improved balance, coordination and flexibility
  • Reduced risk of falling and fracturing bones
  • Increased oxygen to the brain to improve cognitive function
  • Decreased risk of osteoporosis
4.

Mastery

Don’t forget your brain health. Taking care of your brain is just as important as taking care of your body. Much like your body benefits from physical exercise, your brain benefits from mental exercise. With added time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is an excellent time to engage in activities that will exercise your brain. Try your hand at puzzles, word searches, crosswords and other “brain games.” This type of daily stimulation can help boost your attention, verbal fluency, memory and other cognitive areas.

Source: Sharp Health News

Behavioral health

Oct 21, 2020, 08:48 AM

Visit our Behavioral Health page to learn about your covered mental health benefits. Talk to your doctor if you or a loved one are experiencing excessive sadness, anxiety or worry for an extended period.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or call 911 immediately.

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Resources to stay connected

If you are in need of community services or support, help is just a click or call away.

2-1-1 San Diego

Free access to over 6,000 public health services and resources in San Diego. They can help with food, utility, housing and financial resources, public benefits, and much more. Visit 211sandiego.org or dial 2-1-1.

Live Well San Diego

Live Well @ Home is a free resource for residents that offers community resources, activities and tutorials for older adults to help with physical activity, mindfulness and social connection.

Friendship Line CA

If you need to talk to someone, you can call the Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line anytime, day or night. They offer a caring ear to people aged 60 and older and adults living with disabilities. Call 1-800-971-0016.

Sharp Direct Advantage is offered by Sharp Health Plan. Sharp Health Plan is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment with Sharp Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Read the full disclaimer.

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