Mental health expert discusses impacts of social distancing

SPOKANE, Wash. – We all know by now that keeping our distance from one another is the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Many of us are working from home and staying six feet away from family and friends. While this may be good for our physical health, what does it do to us mentally?

Imagine having to work in opposite rooms from your significant other.

“I’m just like, you’re going to have to be upstairs,” said Jenny Finley, Counselor at Charmed Counseling.

That’s the reality for many people keeping their distance during the coronavirus.

“I think that it’s really important to follow the recommendations we’re being told,” said Finley.

These include working from home, avoiding large crowds, and staying at least six feet apart from family and friends.

“It’s definitely a new concept,” Finley said.

A new concept that Finley thinks could impact us emotionally, especially those who already struggle with anxiety or depression.

“It’s really hard for people to stay positive and maintain strong mental health during this time,” she said.

While social distancing is the thing to do right now, there are ways you can still feel connected.

“Things like going for a walk, getting outside and kind of forcing yourself to do that,” Finley said.

If your work schedule doesn’t give you the flexibility to go outdoors, there are other ways you can stay sane.

“Finding ways to stay engaged, taking care of yourself and increasing your self care practices,” said Finley.

Whether that’s reading a good book, working out, or playing with your dog, Finley said these are all ways we can make the most of this new experience.

“This is a social interruption that is going to be going on for a little bit,” she said.