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How are you really doing? Experts offer advice on self-evaluating during isolation

While "pretty good," and "OK" are quick answers, experts say finding out how you're really doing will help in the long run.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Now that we’ve been social distancing for about a month, mental health experts say it’s a good time to re-evaluate how you’re doing.

“It’s really is important to ask ourselves how we are doing and what we might do differently in order to feel better,” said Dr. Jeffrey Eisen, Chief Medical Officer at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare.

Eisen said besides getting good sleep and eating well, a big part of how we're doing hinges on whether we've created a new routine for ourselves during this time of social distancing.

“If we don't have a defined routine to help us through each day, sometimes we can just get stuck thinking and letting our minds go further than we want them to,” Eisen warned.

He suggested taking a daily walk and also reaching out to loved ones by phone or virtually. He said connecting with others fulfills an important part of our human nature. 

“I don't know how much we were aware of how we enjoy our interactions and connecting with others,” said Eisen, “until we're not even going to the grocery stores as much and saying ‘hello’ to people.”

Experts caution that consuming too much media might also impact how we're doing, and suggest setting a limit.

“Certainly it’s very important to catch up on the latest news around COVID-19 but sometimes, if we listen to too much, it can begin to make us excessively worried or anxious,” said Eisen.

For those struggling with mental health or experiencing a setback from substance abuse recovery, Eisen said it’s important to know that help is still available even during the COVID-19 crisis. Multnomah County offers several resources as do other counties in the area. 

Finally, Eisen said no matter how you’re feeling, it’s always good to stop and be mindful.

“Just slowing down and taking a moment to breath can be a great first step.”

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