Bryan Kim
Bryan Kim

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo professor of psychology shares scientific reasons for social distancing and provides his top 10 coping methods during the COVID-19 crisis.

In an article from UH Hilo Stories, Bryan Kim discusses the importance of social distancing and home quarantine, behavioral interventions for COVID-19 and 10 suggestions to improve behavioral and mental health during this pandemic. His article is the first commentary in a series on the COVID-19 crisis.

Kim’s top 10 to do list

#1 Practice social (physical) distancing with aloha
Verbally state that you are practicing social (physical) distancing when you see a familiar person to show that you care about their health.

#2 Wash your hands often and keep often-touched surfaces clean
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and wipe high-touch surfaces often with appropriate cleaning tools.

#3 Social (physical) distancing does not mean emotional distancing
Social (physical) distancing does not mean you cannot stay for a chat with a friend and relatives—just keep six feet away from each other.

#4 Care for our kupuna
Reach out to our kupuna via phone or perhaps even video-chat with them and see how they are doing and if they need anything.

#5 Care for our young ones
Talk to your young ones and assure them that we are doing things to help all of us, and as long as we keep doing them, we will be okay.

#6 Reach out to others for support
Reach out to others through the use of video-communication platforms such as Skype, Facetime, Google Meet and Zoom. Communicating to trusted others about what you are experiencing inside can be incredibly therapeutic.

#7 Obtain accurate information, limit the amount of stressful information and stay away from the real fake news
Identify news sources that you know are valid and credible and set a limit as to the amount of negative news you view. Seeking out positive news, such as neighbors supporting neighbors, can be helpful.

#8 Exercise is therapeutic and physical care is important
Exercise will help you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Take care of your physical health through good nutrition and a sufficient amount of sleep.

#9 Laughter is healing
Find sources of laughter. Humor and laughter are therapeutic and will make you feel better.

#10 We are in this together!
Share the importance of social (physical) distancing and home quarantining to everyone around you.

For more information, view the full article at the UH Hilo Stories website.

—By Bryan S. K. Kim, UH Hilo Professor of Psychology and Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Program