Take a Pandemic Mental Health Break
Social Media and Viral Laughs are Important for Self-Care, Doctors Say
As we continue to live in uncertain times, self-care is more important than ever. With 24-hour news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and growing concerns about how far-reaching novel coronavirus will be in the United States, there are more than a few of us with heightened anxiety. Unfortunately, gone are the days when we could give ourselves a mental break from all the doom and gloom by grabbing a drink with a friend after work or hitting the gym for an intense workout session. Guidelines recommending social distancing and state-mandated lockdowns have made it difficult for many of us to manage our stress in typical ways, and this is concerning for our individual and collective mental health.
Enter social media.
In an age when we are sometimes connected to our digital devices to a fault, social media is now providing us with much-needed feelings of connection to one another. There are bright spots in any time of darkness, and several feel-good stories and videos have gone viral thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. These outlets are allowing people to share smiles, laughs, and breaths of fresh air from the constant, worrisome news coverage on the global health and financial crises.
Positive Viral Stories and Videos
If you’re in need of an optimistic story in these trying times, take a moment to check out each of the smile-inducing links below:
- Quarantined Italians singing together from their balconies
People of my hometown #Siena sing a popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their hearts during the Italian #Covid_19 #lockdown.#coronavirusitalia #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/7EKKMIdXov
— valemercurii 🌍 (@valemercurii) March 12, 2020
- Quarantined Texans and Germans inspired by the Italians to sing together across empty streets
- Dolphins swimming in the canals of Venice
Venice hasn’t seen clear canal water in a very long time. Dolphins showing up too. Nature just hit the reset button on us pic.twitter.com/RzqOq8ftCj
— Gianluca De Santis (@b8taFPS) March 17, 2020
- An NYC wedding on a near-empty street, with the officiant shouting from a fourth-floor window
Animal lovers have felt particularly buoyed by many zoos and aquariums offering livestreams and live feeds of cute and cuddly animals:
oh my god, the Chicago aquarium closed due to coronavirus, so they let the penguins run around and check out the other exhibits. (staff was present.) pic.twitter.com/YGa8CugymE
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 16, 2020
Memes for Every Mood
Laughter is the best medicine, they say, and the internet’s coronavirus meme game has been particularly strong. It’s human nature to make light of difficult situations and laughing releases dopamine which scientifically lifts our moods. (Learn more about the science of laughter and resilience here.)
Thousands of people are also posting clips and memes of their own, using the hashtag #quarantinelife to share their experiences of social isolation. Many are also sharing creative ways to exercise, to entertain kids while schools are closed, and to reconnect with family and friends in new ways.
Why We Need Lighthearted Social Media Moments in a Crisis
At times, it can feel confusing to laugh at frivolous jokes during a time of such a serious crisis or to focus on heartwarming news stories when there is life and death news reported each day. However, these things provide coping mechanisms that play a vital role in helping us adapt to a world that is rapidly changing in uncomfortable ways.
Dr. Amanda Spray, a clinical psychologist at NYU Langone Health in Manhattan, recently told MarketWatch that, “Social media is actually doing what it was meant to do: connecting more of us to each other. It really reminds us all that we’re in this together.”
In essence, social media is giving us a much-needed break from the very real and intense concerns we are facing globally. Memes and jokes that are rooted in a bit of reality make us laugh, but they also remind us that we’re not in this alone and make us feel more connected to one another.
According to journalist and author Judy Holland, who researches loneliness and anxiety, social media is acting as a panacea for many of our current ills.
“Social media is turning social distancing into just physical distancing… it reminds us of our common humanity,” Holland said in a recent interview. “And social media can be a fantastic refuge.”
There is much to be concerned about in the world at the moment, and it is precisely for that reason it’s so important that we remember to look for bright spots amid the challenges we face and never lose sight of our capacity to heal through laughter and optimism.
Self-care is always important, and it is particularly crucial when we are facing very real fears that permeate our daily life. While it’s necessary to remain knowledgeable about the reality of the COVID-19 situation, it’s equally as important to give yourself mental health breaks each day by focusing on feel-good and funny social media content that raises our dopamine levels and reminds us we’re all in this together.
Our team at Paces Ferry Wealth continues to answer phone calls and emails, speak with clients, spend time with our families, exercise, and most importantly, we are planning a video conference happy hour for Friday afternoon.
Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). This material is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney or tax advisor.