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Ways to stay connected to loved ones during coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis

Dr. Donna Rockwell helps people avoid feeling helpless

DETROIT – Most people are doing their part to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by staying at home and being safe, but what if you feel like you’re not making good use of your time at home?

“It’s really true in life if we can make meaning of a situation then we can fair it far better,” clinical psychologist Dr. Donna Rockwell said. “If we can go through these days and create projects that are meaningful, we will feel better at the end of it all.”

Rockwell said now is a perfect time to look for ways you can reach out to the community virtually.

“We can volunteer in certain ways online,” Rockwell said. “Perhaps you can read stories through a streaming service at your community library. (There are) many ways we can participate. Volunteering makes us feel happy. A great way to cope with depression is to volunteer.”

Find ways to connect with other people and loved ones, such as virtual book clubs, exercise classes and concerts. People are finding ways to show they care, such as chalk messages on streets and sidewalks. We’ve seen white ribbons and hearts in windows to thank first responders.

“I think it’s extraordinary how the appreciation of America has increased,” Rockwell said. “Looking at our front-line medical workers, police, fire at this time, and perhaps when this is all said and done, we’ll be able to maintain that sense of appreciation for them.

“I think it’s important to let them know if we are in a shopping center and see a police officer. Thank them. Thank medical workers if you are face-to-face with them. Write an email to the hospital and talk about how much you appreciate the work they’re doing for everyone by being on the front lines.”

She said it’s important to check in with loved ones.

“We can all be mindful of each other’s experience right now, mindful of the other person,” Rockwell said. “Ask questions. Stay curious. ‘How are you feeling? What can I do to make you feel better?’ Thank each other for what you’re contributing to the survival during a bunker time.”

Rockwell recommends spending at least 15 minutes per day virtually reaching out to people in your life.

Click here if you want more advice from Rockwell.


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