Coronavirus And Quarantine - Can Online Therapy (Telehealth) Help?
By Sarah Fader
Updated March 19, 2020
Why Is Therapy Important? Especially During The Coronavirus?
Therapy is a great place to express your feelings about what's going on in your life. If you're struggling with mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or general life challenges, you can talk about these issues when you see a therapist.
Over the past few months, the coronavirus has swept the world by storm, and many people have been affected. We're especially concerned about people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, children, and the elderly. Many of us have been talking to our therapists about these issues. It's natural to want to discuss your anxieties and fears with someone, and during this stressful time, it makes sense for you to express your concerns about the pandemic. Therapy is a great place to speak candidly about your feelings.
Seeing Your Therapist in Person Matters to You
There's nothing like a face-to-face connection with a therapist. You can see their expression and feel the energy in the room when you talk to them. You feel supported because you can look them in the eyes, and they can see your face, too. Body language tells us a lot in therapy, whether it's the movements and behaviors of the client or the therapist. That's why some people benefit from seeing their therapist in a physical office. The experience of being in a room with a provider dramatically impacts their mental health treatment.
However, there are different ways to receive therapy, and some of them aren't in an office. There are people who prefer in-person therapy, but others thrive in online counseling. You might like seeing your therapist in their office because it's a human connection that feels genuine. When you're see them in real life, it contributes to your mental wellness.
But What If You Can't See Them Because Of The Coronavirus? How Do You Feel?
People who have been going to therapy on a weekly or bi-weekly basis may feel a sense of loss. At this time, they can't see their therapist in person, and that may impact their mental health. Therapy or counseling offers a strong sense of connection; many people develop a relationship with their therapist. When you can't see them in person, it can be challenging to figure out how to cope with the struggles you're facing or the loss of that regular appointment.
Maybe you're dealing with being quarantined or you have cabin fever from staying inside for so long, but you can't talk to your therapist about these issues because you can't visit their office. You might start to feel anxious or depressed. Without your therapist, you may find yourself stuck in your emotions with no one to confide in, and that can be hard.
Still, you have to cope with these complex emotions and maintain a sense of normalcy in your life. This includes talking to friends and family (at a distance via the phone or online) and maintaining your job. During the pandemic, these normal activities can feel challenging.
Working From Home And Your Mental Health
Some people have remote jobs, so working from home is the norm for them. They're used to creating their schedules and understand the value of setting boundaries with friends and family during the workday. However, for many people, working from home isn't a familiar routine. A lot of people go to a physical location for their job, whether that's an office, a school, or a restaurant. They're accustomed to having a schedule set for them.
During the coronavirus, many people have been pushed into an unnatural situation where they have to work from home, and they may not have the resources to do their job thoroughly. Whether you're a remote worker all of the time or you've been forced into this situation because of the coronavirus, your mental health matters, and there are certain precautions you can take to feel better while working from home.
Taking breaks is essential, as is letting your family and friends know when you need to prioritize work. People might want to check in on you more during this time, but you need to take care of your wellbeing and accommodate the demands of your life. Get your job done to the best of your ability and know that socializing can wait.
How To Manage Feelings Of Isolation And Working From Home
During the coronavirus epidemic, many of us may feel isolated. If you feel a sense of isolation because you're working from home, there are ways to socialize from a distance. You can always reach friends and family via phone calls, Skype, or video chat. For example, you can take scheduled breaks during the day to call a friend or check in with them online.
If you want to feel a sense of connection with others, social media can be useful during these times. Make sure you stay on top of your work schedule, but set aside designated times to check in with friends and family, so you don't feel isolated. You won't feel your best if you aren't connecting with others at all throughout the day. The way to combat that isolation is to talk to people through the modalities available to you, whether that's a call, a text, or something else.
Eight Tips For Working From Home
There are tangible ways that you can adapt your home into a workspace.
- Get dressed as if you're going to an in-person job.
It can be tempting to stay in your pajamas or slack on washing your hair, but don't do it. Getting ready for the day as usual will put you in work mode and make you more productive.
- Set aside time for lunch.
Prepare food in advance and set aside time to eat it when you would normally have a meal. Even if you eat while on shift, it's important to stay nourished throughout the day.
- Stick to your work hours.
If they're not set for you, set work hours for yourself. Go to bed at roughly the same time every night, so you're well-rested, and don't stretch yourself too thin by working outside of your business hours.
- Use the time you'd normally use to commute to do something fun.
Saving the time you'd need for a long commute is advantageous. Use it to make yourself a nice breakfast, listen to a podcast, make art, or do yoga in your bedroom. Find a new hobby or return to something you used to love and no longer have time for in your day-to-day life.
- Complete your work in a designated spot.
Work at your desk, a table, or anywhere else where you can reasonably work for the duration of time you're working from home. In addition to getting dressed, having a designated work area helps you focus and be productive.
- Get fresh air at least once daily if you can (keeping a six-foot distance from other people).
If you're able to take a walk or step outside for some fresh air, do it. Even if you're working remotely outside, it's relaxing and might help your cabin fever at least a little bit.
- Enjoy at least one screen-free activity during your downtime.
Working from home probably means you're looking at a computer a lot. If that's true for you, limit your screen time outside of working hours and try to do something else like the activities mentioned in #4.
- Set boundaries with friends and family.
As mentioned previously, it's crucial to set boundaries with friends and family when you're working from home. Be as attentive as you would be at a normal job, and hold yourself to the same standards that you would in an office.
Some In-Person Therapists Are Offering Telehealth-Here's Why:
Some therapists offer in-person sessions and have a private practice or office while others offer online therapy. During the coronavirus, many of the therapists who usually work in-person are offering remote therapy sessions. They want to maintain their health because they don't know who is affected by COVID-19 and who isn't. Providing teletherapy is a way to make sure that they're safe while also protecting their clients from the virus.
Also remember that therapists have families, too; they might have elderly family members or kids. If a client comes in and they're ill, a provider could bring that back to their family, and that's potentially dangerous. Telehealth is a great alternative; you can still connect with your therapist via phone or video chat during the pandemic without risking your health or anyone else's.
It's Important To Connect With Others Even Though We're Self-Distancing
Human beings thrive on social connections. During this challenging period, it's difficult to see people face-to-face because the CDC is telling us that we need to stay away from others. Social distancing is essential, so we don't spread the infection. People who carry the virus are dangerous to others, and some may not even know they're carrying it until they show symptoms up to two weeks after they're infected.
Even though we're being cautious, it's vital to connect with others because human beings are social animals. Make sure you talk to your friends on the phone, via video chat, or online through social media, so you can stay connected to others. It'll make you feel better to speak to your loved ones and can prevent the adverse effects of social isolation.
How Online Therapy Can Help
You might not be able to see your therapist in a physical office, but there is another option, so you can get mental health treatment and cope with the current stressors in our world. Online therapy is an excellent place to discuss any concerns you have, including anxiety about the coronavirus. It's flexible, so you can easily integrate it into your work-from-home schedule.
If you can't see your therapist in person or if you're experiencing stressful feelings about the pandemic, it's a great time to try online therapy. During this complicated time, you might benefit from talking to a mental health professional, even if it's not part of your typical routine. Online therapy is safe, secure, and confidential. Here's your chance to work on your mental health; even if you've never been to therapy before, you can try speaking to someone online.
Telehealth And Online Therapy Are Great Ways To Connect With The Outside World
You might feel socially isolated due to COVID-19. It's natural to want to connect with other people, but when external forces prevent these connections, it's easy to feel depressed. With online therapy, you can forge a genuine human connection with your therapist. You can talk to them via phone, video chat, or messenger online, so you can feel connected to the "outside" world.
Online therapists are real people who care about their clients. They want to help you. Online therapy is a wonderful place to discuss the challenges you're facing with a real person. It can also help you connect with someone else and feel like you're a part of something bigger. If you're interested in online therapy, consider the online mental health professionals at BetterHelp. If there's any time to try it, it's now. Seize the opportunity and know that you can get help from a licensed provider online.