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Posted 03/23/2021

Quality Time Can Reduce Effects from COVID Isolation

The long-term effects on our mental health due to COVID-19 may not be fully known for some time. However, preliminary research is indicating that the additional stress, boredom, and depression from extended isolation during the pandemic is tied to a significant increase in alcohol consumption, particularly among females and those who were isolated at home with children.

When used as a coping mechanism, alcohol can temporarily ease stress, but anxiety and negative emotions tend to return more elevated once the alcohol wears off. Recognize that the pandemic has been a long-term event, and increased drinking during this time could lead to alcohol use disorders.

It’s no surprise that all the extra time at home generated new responsibilities, challenged our relationships with those we live with, and separated us from our friends and family outside our homes. If you’ve experienced any of these setbacks, here are a few quick tips to get you back on track:

While stress can result in increased substance use, aggression and sleep disruptions, the good news is finding quality time for you and your family can help offset these negative outcomes, reduce anxiety and depression, and foster resiliency for you and your family.

  • Spend quality time with your children. Setting aside time to listen to your children can give them a sense of security and lets them know they are valued
  • Exercise with your family. Talk a family walk outside or try an exercise activity indoors.
  • Find time for yourself. Reflective thinking, mindfulness, and guided breathing can reduce stress and help you function more productively throughout the day.
  • Stay connected with family and friends. Whether it’s a phone or video call with grandparents, cousins or best friends, adults and children benefit mentally and emotionally from social interaction.

Deanne Vick | March 2021