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COVID-19 Loneliness, Stress, Anxiety

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I am a foreigner and living in China for some time. I stayed together with my boyfriend, who had left for his home country, it planned to be a week trip, but he has been away for a month and has no plans to return anytime soon.
Meanwhile, an epidemic has begun in China, I don’t have friends in here, also not much overseas. I am only talking to my mother on the phone and a couple of other people.
I feel very lonely and isolated from the world .. mostly staying in the house , feeling left behind by my boyfriend. I had no work for few months (I am freelancer). I feel completely hopeless, constant anxiety feeling (From China)

COVID-19 Loneliness, Stress, Anxiety

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for writing about this isolation and frustration from staying at home. You are not alone, and there are important things that you can do to help yourself. The first of these you’ve already done by reaching out to us here at Psych Central.

I have four important suggestions for coping with what is happening. Research on resilience and hardiness during outbreaks suggests that not immersing yourself in negativity is the most important thing you can be doing for your well-being. Toward this end limit the amount of news you expose yourself to. My recommendation is no more than 15 minutes a day. You can break that up in any way you like. Three five-minute periods, a ten and five minute period, or once a day for the whole time. But keep the input of news limited as there isn’t something important that you will miss by taking this smaller dose. The information will drag you down due to its repetitive and explicit nature. Limiting the news input is one of the most important things to limit the degree of worrying.

Secondly, I would look for good new sources to be inspired by those stories and acts of courage that move us.

Next, I would encourage you to develop a routine and plan micro-goals to get through the day. Plan a schedule of what you want to do during the day, and then break it down hour by hour of what it is you feel would be productive. This might be as simple as cooking a meal or cleaning a closet. But it is important to have goals for the day and micro-goals throughout.

Finally, reach out to everyone you can through WhatsApp, the blogs we have here on psych central for COVID-19 (such as this one on being quarantined) and our Livestream.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

COVID-19 Loneliness, Stress, Anxiety

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Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). COVID-19 Loneliness, Stress, Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 10, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/04/09/covid-19-loneliness-stress-anxiety/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 7 Apr 2020 (Originally: 9 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 7 Apr 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.