After months of isolation due to the deadly corona virus, the complete lockdown in many North American cities has lifted. The slow and gradual return to urban life includes new prevention practices that you have likely gotten used to by now. These include physical distancing, frequent handwashing and sanitizer use, and medical/custom mask-wearing indoors or in large crowds.

Your mental health may have suffered during this prolonged period of isolation. Some indicators that you have experienced a decline in your personal wellbeing include:

  • Unexplained weight-gain of more than 4.4 Kgs, or 10 lbs
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Increased dependence on marijuana to calm down
  • Changes in your sleep patterns, including either more or less sleep
  • Limited contact with friends and family by telephone, or virtually
  • A general sense of lethargy and lack of motivation
  • Increased irritability over minor problems
  • Poor eye contact
  • General sense of mistrust and paranoia
  • Extreme worry over physical symptoms and illness
  • Reduced physical exercise and sex
  • Feeling bored, unhappy, and lonely

As you re-engage in your life, you are likely to find comfort in the familiar. People, places, spaces, and activities that together constitute your experience of community will help to restore your general health to levels equivalent to a time before the pandemic.

In this way, a healthy and safe re-engagement in your local community is the first important step to regaining balance. It is also an opportunity to develop a mindful practice of gratitude for the people, places, activities, and spaces that contribute to your lifestyle. Gratitude for the familiar that you may have taken for granted in the past is a sure way to remind you about the many factors that contribute to your health and wellness.

Most certainly, there are many healthy practices that you do on your own to stay well. But the importance of people in your life like your neighbours, shopkeepers, baristas, places of worship, friends, and even kind strangers who take the time to greet you along the way are all small gifts of life-in-your-local.

Live-in-your-local is a client-centered wellness strategy clinically derived by Dr. Romano-Dwyer RSW. Proven effective with goals of behavioural re-activation, this approach centralizes people, places, spaces and activities of your client’s life in collaborative treatment planning. Live-in-your-local is an easy and effective model for clients to remember as they begin to DO the work required to Think and Feel Well.

Dr. Lisa Romano-Dwyer RSW is the owner of Lakeside Wellness Therapy Affiliates in Toronto where her team of Wellness Affiliates work with people to ease troubled minds and relationships.

#wellness #healthy #Do.Think.Feel Well.

By Dr. Lisa Romano-Dwyer RSW, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar