The Pitt Prescription is a bimonthly blog in which Elizabeth Donnelly, a pharmacist student and senior researcher, gives tips on how to stay healthy in college.

It’s been a week since I’ve seen my loved ones in person, and I really miss communicating with them. The days are not the same as when I don’t see my beautiful family of pharmacists or my friends from my student environment, and spending time alone can be stressful and downright boring. However, like many others, I try to be a responsible citizen by practicing social distance, which is one of the most important efforts recommended by the CDC and other health organizations during the VIDOC 19 pandemic.

What is social distance and why is it important?

Social distance is the practice of isolation from others and is often used by health workers during a pandemic. However, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a global pandemic on this scale, so this is new for everyone. Many small scenarios such as influenza epidemics have used social detachment, but the concept of total isolation at this level is relatively unknown.

Social distance can consist of many different things, but at the moment we see that the size of the groups is limited – President Donald Trump has recommended to limit the meetings to 10 people – and to close many public buildings, offices and schools that are considered insignificant. Residents are asked to always stay at least a meter away from other people to minimize contact, and events such as concerts or graduation ceremonies can be cancelled or postponed – for example, Bigelow Bash, Spring Start and other events took place in Pitt.

Social distance measures may seem too serious, but with a contagious disease like KOWID-19 you can’t be too careful (except for those of you who are wholesalers – don’t, others also need toilet paper). When it comes to social distance, it is a good rule of thumb to isolate oneself as much as possible, because the main goal is to keep personal contact in daily life to a minimum.

Read it: Attention. [Panic purchase damage]

Social detachment is crucial during a pandemic as it can help stop or slow down the spread of the disease. Infectious diseases such as COVID-19 are often very easy to spread and can be transmitted by personal contact or by contact with an object carrying the virus in a particular area (also called community dispersal). In other words, if you are not surrounded by other people, there is no possibility of being infected from one person to another. Therefore, the widest possible isolation can lead to less transmission of the virus, which is the goal.

How to stay healthy through social distance

Insulation is often difficult to manage, especially over long periods of time. If I didn’t have to stay in the health sector because of my work, I would be bored and not know what to do with myself. Leisure is good, but like everywhere, it’s only good in moderation. Too much free time can actually lead to a decrease in general happiness, which shows that balance is necessary to feel satisfied.

While physical health is crucial in the middle of a pandemic, social exclusion plays an important role in mental health. The World Health Organization recently published a handbook entitled Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects during COVID 19 Outbreak. The goal is to promote spiritual well-being in these difficult times, and below are some general practice tips.

  1. Show compassion for those who have suffered at the hands of Covid-19. The virus itself doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we. No one, regardless of nationality, should be accused of catching the virus, and we must show support, compassion and kindness to every victim. Positivity can improve mental health at this stage.
  2. Reduce the stigma behind the disease and call people with this disease people who have VIDOC-19 or people who are recovering or adjusting to VIDOC-19. The name of the current circulating disease – Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) – is not a Chinese virus or something like that. Placing unnecessary or stigmatized labels on the virus will only increase polarization and excitement, especially against those affected by these false names.
  3. Try to keep as little news as possible or check for updates regularly, especially if you are worried or stressed. Use known and reliable means such as CDC or WHO for information about the pandemic. Rumours and misinformation lead to panic and anxiety, which can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Knowledge of proven facts can help to minimize fear.
  4. Visit your family and neighbours regularly and help them in any way you can. Building relationships and having a good support system creates a sense of solidarity and can bring a community together.
  5. Surround yourself with positive things and things that make you happy. Read the stories of those who have fully repaid themselves or have invested in a new hobby. Personally, I start knitting because it is a good way to keep my hands and mind occupied, so that the end product is fun.
  6. Stay in touch with your loved ones via social networks. Daily phone calls or video chats can be an excellent way to replace personal communication with virtual replacement.
  7. Pay attention to what your person needs. Take part in healthy activities such as exercise (if possible, breathe fresh air) and go to sleep regularly. Fill your body with healthy food (if you can) and try to set up a daily schedule so that you have a system you can follow and don’t waste unnecessary time.

In general, this opinion is intended to promote a healthy mental state in all those who practice social renunciation (which everyone should do, unless there is a living reason not to do so). Maintaining a daily routine is a good first step towards improving mental health. Maintaining a normal life and respecting schedules for waking up, getting dressed and performing daily tasks can have a positive effect on your mental health.

Good mental health then opens the door to good physical health and although most gyms and sports halls are closed, there are many opportunities to train at home. Walks outside of work hours or push-ups during TV commercial breaks are just some of the ways to stay active while distancing yourself from others. Exercise can also promote mental health, which is another reason why it is so important.

Social dissociation is an important measure to be implemented in practice during a pandemic. In this period there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of pessimism. It is normal to be nervous, anxious or frightened, but working on good mental health can keep you in a much better general condition as long as this pandemic lasts. Make sure you communicate online with your loved ones and build a good support system to replace personal contact and surround yourself with friendliness and positivity. This pandemic will be difficult, but if we as a community come together (electronically) and follow the advice of public health officials, we can deal with it.