Outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as the current COVID-19 pandemics, are scary by themselves. Everyone is feeling anxious about their own health, as well as about the safety of people they love and care about. What makes this situation special (in a bad, bad way) is that the global quarantine has been issued. Social distancing and long hours spent at home can have a profound impact on your state of mind. It’s especially important to protect your mental health during times such as these. Below are some tips that may help you, your friends and your family to take care of your mental health at a time where everyone is focused on physical dangers.
How to Protect Your Mental Health during Social Distancing
No matter whether you fall into the immune-compromised category, you probably should follow the social distancing advises that the government of Wisconsin is telling you. This means that we are spending more time than ever being home alone. The quarantine has impacted our regular social activities. Many people are facing the loss of their job, loss of their homes to processes such as foreclosure, not to mention the dangers to our health. All of this is making us feel like we’re going insane. Try not to worry and do everything you can to protect your mental health during quarantine.
Create a Routine
The first and the most important thing you should do is to plan your day to the last second. The lockdown made all of us lose our daily routine as we are adjusting to a new way of life. This can be a risk to our sanity.
Staying in pajamas all day sounds like a great thing… Until it becomes your everyday life. Regular routines are essential for our self-confidence, sense of purpose, even for our identity. Take care of your body even though you are not seeing anyone for days. Try to start your day at roughly the same time as you did before and make time for all of your usual activities.
It isn’t just a telltale. Physical activity is crucial for our mental health. Exercising reduces stress, increases activity levels, keeps our brain alert, and can even help us sleep better. Sure, finding a way to work out while you’re stuck at home isn’t the easiest thing at first glance. However, there are ways to add activity to your everyday life.
Walk to the grocery store instead of driving or taking a taxi. Run in place at home. Do push-ups. There are many opportunities for being physically active even during the coronavirus lockdown. We know it sounds cliché, but this really will make you feel better about yourself and will help you protect your mental health during the quarantine.
Try to Listen Only to the Reputable Outbreak Sources
There is much panic about the ongoing pandemic. Although that isn’t anything unexpected, rumor and speculation aren’t the best things for your mental health. Having access only to the right information about the virus can help you feel more in control of the situation.
The same goes for listening to health advice. Sure, you should follow the hygiene bits of advice such as washing your hands, watching where you sneeze, and not touching your face too much. However, there are some ridiculous and unproven ‘tips’ that will not only not provide you with the necessary protection but can also endanger your health.
The Internet has given us many opportunities that our parents didn’t have. We don’t have to be physically close to someone to remain in communication. Don’t let the monotony stop you from staying connected. Talk to your friends and family via phone, social media, or video calls. If all else fails, contact a helpline for emotional support.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t sensationalize things. Don’t over-share videos and screenshots from unreliable sources. Your friends are probably worried as well and you shouldn’t give them more anxiety. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t call them if you are feeling bad, on the contrary. Socializing in any way, shape or form will help you with your mental health during quarantine. Just don’t put them into panic mode about every little coronavirus-related detail.
Another cliché advice that works. Eating healthy and giving yourself the right nutrition will do wonders for your mental health. Avoid junk food at all costs! Sure, food delivery is tempting, but was there a better time to become a new Jamie Oliver than now? Eating homemade, healthy food will help not only your body feel better, but you will also feel proud of yourself. Cooking can also help you waste some time that you have plenty of nowadays.
Work on Your Hobbies
When we’re busy going to work every day we don’t have much time to focus on doing things that bring us emotional satisfaction. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have more free time than we need. This is a great moment to practice skills that you have neglected in the previous years.
Doing what you love is essential for protecting your mental health during quarantine. Draw, paint, sing, cook, and learn something new. All these activities will help you boost confidence and will make you feel proud of yourself.
Talk to a Professional
If you are experiencing severe anxiety or depression, the best thing you can do for yourself is to talk to a professional mental health expert. Despite the covid-19 lockdown, most therapists are still doing their sessions. Some of them will even work via calls, so you can stay safe. There are many mental health hotlines that you can reach out.
And keep in mind, it’s perfectly fine to feel scared and depressed during these times. Don’t think that just because someone has it worse that your problems are unimportant. It’s okay to not feel okay every single day. It’s also fine if you aren’t productive as much as people you see on social media. This is a time for surviving, and it’s normal that you can’t grow while it feels like the world is falling apart.
If you want to learn more about COVID-19 and how to stay safe, please check the following links:
State Bar of Wisconsin Coronavirus Updates & Resources
CDC’s information about COVID-19 prevention
CDC guide to preparing yourself and your family in case of COVID-19 outbreak