While Americans have been asked to stay at home to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 crisis, the rules of “quarantine” are quite flexible.

We can visit the grocery store, take a walk, or even go for a local hike. In many European countries, however, the scene looks very different. In Spain, you’d see empty streets patrolled by police officers diligently checking the receipts of anyone who is out and about, ensuring that they were conducting essential business. Shoppers are not allowed into grocery stores or pharmacies; rather, an attendant retrieves the items on a list while guests stand outside, spaced 10’ apart. Medications are running low…not to mention morale.

Italy has been under enforced quarantine—lockdown—since March 9th, and Spain since March 14th. Italy’s lockdown was set to expire on April 13, though it has once again be extended. Spain has already been extended until April 25th.

Hopefully, you are feeling overwhelmed with gratitude now, just thinking about the fact that you can still order a pizza or pick out your own groceries. But as dire as the overseas quarantine situation sounds, not all hope is lost. Europeans have come together in extraordinary ways to survive the quarantine. Here are some of the lessons we can learn about how to keep our heads up from quarantined Europeans:

1. Leverage technology to stay connected. Social distancing guidelines have led people to use technology to stay connected. Such platforms as FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing technologies are exploding in popularity, and some crafty developers have acted fast to make virtual “game nights” available. Netflix has upgraded its platform to offer a “party” option where friends can watch a movie “together,” from different locations. Fitness and yoga classes are available online, and are oftentimes available for free. The lesson: there are endless ways to stay connected while socially distanced—take advantage of the technology that is available to you!

2. Laugh. The COVID-19 crisis is far from a laughing matter, however, Bertold Brecht said it best:

In the dark times

Will there also be singing?

Yes, there will also be singing.

About the dark times.

There has been a whirlwind of cartoons and memes created about life in quarantine. It’s okay to laugh about masses of shoppers hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer. It’s okay to laugh at the “masks” that people are daring to wear in public. Laughing is good for the soul, and if we cannot laugh at ourselves, then who can we laugh at?

If laughter doesn’t feel right, then focus on the bright spots. Restaurants that are donating food to homeless shelters and food pantries. The everyday folks like you and me who are busy at home sewing masks for frontline workers who don’t have any. We can always, always choose to focus on the good…no matter how bad a situation may seem.

3. Take advantage of helplines and mental healthcare services. While staying connected to friends and family can help mitigate some of the weight of this crisis, those who suffer from depression or anxiety may not be able to withstand the added anxiety of this pandemic for long. 

Most counselors and psychologists, and even some psychiatrists, are offering virtual sessions. Ketamine clinics like ours are open and operating by appointment only, ensuring that patients can continue to receive their treatments as needed. Learn more about how we are taking extra measures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. 

Finally, there are hotlines and helplines available to those in need:

4. STAY AT HOME. As Europeans have already come to realize, this is only the beginning. The effects of this pandemic will continue to ripple outward for a long time to come, and the impact—not only on our mental health as individuals, but on our social infrastructures, the economy, and life in general—will be significant. Collective action is the only way to survive this pandemic. Stay at home when possible, and follow the social distancing guidelines set forth by the government.

This, too, shall pass…but faster if we stick together.

Contact Vitalitas Denver

Vitalitas Denver operates some of Colorado’s leading ketamine treatment centers, with clinics located in the Denver and Boulder/Fort Collins areas. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder—if you have tried everything, and nothing has worked—please contact us to learn more about ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression and anxiety.