How to get through self isolation?
In response to the current pandemic crisis, the CDC and other relevant organizations have implemented an interim protocol devised for the community. The strategy plan encourages the idea of social distancing. Social distance or self-isolation has been imposed ever since COVID-19 was declared as a world public health concern. This drastic change has psychologically affected millions of people worldwide; with the crippling loneliness and fear of the unknown it is important to recognize how stressful physical distancing can be for us.
As social creatures, we strive upon social relationships and interactions with the environment. Ever since these stringent restrictions have been imposed, the WHO has outlined a mental health guide for the public, stating how “this time of crisis is generating stress in the population”. It is normal to feel lonely in a world where everything else is out of our control. Loneliness is a subjective behavior, and you are not alone in this struggle. (COVID-19: How the World Is Coping with Restrictive Measures, n.d.)
Self-care in self isolation:
Many psychologists emphasized the need to engage in self-care. Dr. Lucy Atcheson mentioned the act of micro-lifts we unconsciously implement in our lives. Picking up your preferred coffee or having lunch at your favorite café are ‘micro-lifts’. Small actions such as this, help you appreciate the finite things in your life. Impose the same idea at home, pick up a new hobby, or polish your rustic piano skills. Read a new book; or join an online course if you want to learn a new language. These small acts of achievement; or ‘micro-lifts’ helps to draw out the negative emotions spiraling inside you. (How Proper Self Care Can Reduce Your Stress Levels, n.d.)
Physical exercise during self isolation:
We know how physical exercise is important for our psychological well-being. It improves our mood and emotional state; try to get some exercise in a secluded outdoor area. Bask in the sun or go for a light jog to the nearest track; provided that you are following the social-distancing protocol. One does need to go to the gym for exercise, download a weight-training app and organize a small workout area in your living room which will keep you motivated. Alternatively, yoga is an effective mindfulness routine that will help you channel your emotions and create self-awareness. (Physical Activity and Mental Health: Evidence Is Growing, n.d.)
Create a healthy diet plan:
During these unprecedented times, binge-eating high carb products is part of a psychological stress response. Avoid indulging in unhealthy eating habits and form a strict diet routine that will help alleviate your mood. Eat a generous portion of fruits and vegetables, along with fiber-enriched cereals. Be kind to yourself and do not over-indulge in alcohol or caffeinated drinks. If you are an older member of the community look for volunteers or an online delivery system; whoever can provide support with grocery shopping, our Virtus Care workers are experienced in handling all grocery and outdoor errands for all of our clients in a fully sanitized and safe manner.
Channel your inner creativity during self isolation:
We are vulnerable to feelings of uselessness and the resultant mental stress; being stuck at home means spending a superfluity of our time over-analyzing our current lifestyle. Try to channel your inner creativity, re-organize or declutter your wardrobe or maybe change up the house décor. Rediscover your hidden talents and try out a new recipe; you can even knit a new sweater or create a wall art design. One does not need to be a perfectionist; try to enjoy yourself and embrace these small actions as a successful endeavor.
In addition, Self-isolation can put a strain on our mental health, however physical distance should not stop you from staying connected with your loved ones. WHO recommends to, ‘try as much as possible to keep up our personal daily routines and stay connected via emails or social media’. There are lots of social networking sites for establishing communication including, Skype, WhatsApp, or Zoom for group calls. If you are struggling with isolation, do not hesitate to share your feelings with others since they are suffering from the same issue. Emotional support from family members and friends is important, share your burden instead of suppressing these emotions.
Do not overwhelm yourself:
Lastly, if you are overwhelmed with the constant COVID-19 coverage and the staggering rise of death numbers, then limit the amount of news intake. Your mental wellbeing should be your first priority and therefore, do not feel distressed if you are missing out on the coronavirus update. Assign an hour of news information daily, and only rely on knowledge coming from credible sources like WHO or CDC. Avoid engaging in social sites where false rumors can make you uncomfortable with the information. (CDC, 2020)
It is normal to struggle time after time; progress is never linear. If you are still struggling with self-isolation, then seek help from a mental health professional.
COVID-19: How the world is coping with restrictive measures. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-pandemic-some-top-coping-strategies-and-why-they-work
How Proper Self Care Can Reduce Your Stress Levels. (n.d.). Verywell Mind. Retrieved May 17, 2020, from https://www.verywellmind.com/importance-of-self-care-for-health-stress-management-3144704
Physical activity and mental health: Evidence is growing. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4911759/
CDC. (2020, February 11). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html