With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing every day, we found some insights on how to separate yourself from others, stay home, while still getting the metal support you need.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing, quarantine, or isolation.
Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Quarantining yourself at home can play an important role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people self-quarantine if they are concerned they may become ill following possible exposure.
Those who are actually sick with COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus, should self-isolate, so as not to spread the disease to cohabitators. The recommended time period for both conditions is 14 days.
The good news is that there are ways that may help you reduce stress and take care of your mental well-being.
Caring for Your Mental Health During Quarantine
Stay Informed, but Not Overwhelmed
People tend to experience greater anxiety when they feel like they don’t have access to the information that they need. On the other hand, however, is the sense of panic that can stem from being immersed 24/7 in reports that focus on inaccurate or overly negative information.
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
Limit News Consumption to Reliable Sources
It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19, but too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety.
Trusted organizations — including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the World Health Organization — are ideal sources of information on the virus.
Relax your body often by doing things that work for you-take deep breaths, stretch, or engage in activities you enjoy.
Plan Out Your Week
Have a schedule for the week as well. Make weekends slightly different, even if that means something simple like creating a more extravagant breakfast or something more complex like an arts or crafts project. This combination of structure and variation keeps people settled but stimulated – both important for emotional well-being.
Staying in touch with other people not only staves off boredom, but it is also important for decreasing the sense of isolation. Stay in communication with friends and family by phone and text. Reach out to others on social media. If possible, join an online discussion board specifically for people who are in quarantine or on a topic you enjoy.
Practice Strategies to Deal with Stress:
Like it or not, stress is a part of life. And this is a good time to sharpen your coping skills. Try breathing exercises, do Tai Chi, exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet or try journal writing as a stress reducer.
Quiet Your Mind:
Try meditating, mindfulness and/or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of mental wellness.
Avoid Alcohol and Other Drugs:
Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to “self-medicate” but in reality, alcohol and other drugs only aggravate problems.
Focus on One Thing (in the moment).
Being mindful of the present moment allows us to let go of negative or difficult emotions and stress about Corona. Start by bringing awareness to routine activities, such as taking a shower, eating lunch, or walking home. Paying attention to the physical sensations, sounds, smells, or tastes of these experiences helps you focus. When your mind wanders to thoughts of the virus, just bring it back to what you are doing.
Go to Bed on Time.
A large body of research has shown that sleep deprivation has a significant negative effect on your mood. And during a quarantine, it’s easy to stay up later than usual. Try to go to bed at a regular time each day, and practice good habits to get better sleep. These include shutting down screens for at least an hour before bed, using your bed only for sleep or relaxing activities, and restricting caffeinated drinks for the morning.
Play a Board Game
If quarantined with family and friends try pulling out a board game. Usually the reserve of rainy Saturdays or long holiday breaks, board games also work a treat in times of corona. They also give you something else to think about.
These are tough, uncertain times, and the best thing we all can do is be kind to ourselves and our neighbors as we all go through it. When you are feeling frustrated or cooped up, it can be helpful to think about the reasons why you are quarantining yourself.
If you have been potentially exposed to coronavirus, avoiding others is an altruistic action. You minimize the chance that you might unknowingly spread the illness to other people, even if you are currently asymptomatic.