These are difficult quarantine times, there's no denying it. If we were told that 2020 would start with the world suffering a coronavirus pandemic, many would not believe it.
Social isolation is already a reality in many countries. To deal with the situation you have to take care of mental health as well. The big question you don't want to keep quiet about is how to adapt to social isolation and take care of your mental health.
We are human beings and, as much as we forget most of the time, we are fragile. As they say: "Life is but a breath".
We are not being affected by World War III or by aliens who want to dominate the Earth. We're being attacked by a virus that we can't at least see.
Our greatest enemy at the moment doesn't even come forward formally. It's invisible out there, infecting more and more people around the world.
And that has complicated consequences for everyone. We're not just talking about the deaths, although this is the worst part, but also the harmful effects on the economy and the drastic changes in the population's routine.
This article aims to be a careful hug in everyone who is already at home, in quarantine, isolating themselves, and taking care of themselves to take care of others as well.
How to take care of mental health during quarantine?
Much has been said about the consequences of social isolation. In addition to directly harming the economy, trade, and especially small and medium businesses, there is also the human factor.
This whole situation has the power to affect people's mental health, increasing levels of anxiety, because unknown and uncertain factors make everyone feel insecure, especially in cases like this, worldwide.
The entrepreneur is terrified of bills to pay. The young diabetic is afraid of health complications. The old woman is suffering from being alone at home every day.
The truth is only one: everyone will lose something during this crisis. No one is exempt. The difference is that some will suffer more and some less.
What we can do is try to ease the symptoms of anxiety and try to live in a healthy way, reflecting on the learning we can have with all this sad reality.
To help, we've prepared some important tips to take into consideration when it comes to quarantine and anxiety. After all, how to take care of your mental health in times of so much uncertainty?
1. Avoid bombardment of information in quarantine
One of the main factors of anxiety is the excess of information. In 2009, there was a Swine flu pandemic, although smartphones already existed, they were not as important as they are today.
A Google Consumer Barometer study from 2017 revealed that in 2012 only 14% of the population had smartphones. Meanwhile, in 2016 the number has already jumped to 62%. Today, there are more than 260.2 million smartphones in use in the USA alone. And in the whole world? More than 5 billion smartphones.
It's clear why people are very distressed by the excess of information, isn't it? All the time we are bombarded with news in real-time, which generates a lot of anxiety.
Globalization is contributing to a panic pandemic, which generates excessive fear in society. Of course, we all need to be well informed, but we should not become obsessed and always beware of false information, that is, fake news.
During quarantine, the big tip here is to avoid reading any story on the internet and instead look for reliable sources to get informed. Don't stay all day watching the news - try to choose a time of day to inform yourself. Otherwise, you will spend the whole day just thinking about it.
Also avoid looking all the time at cell phone notifications, especially when you are working and need concentration.
2. Establish a routine
If you're already working from home, but have questions about creating a routine, follow some simple tips.
First, set a waking schedule (remember that you won't waste any more time traveling to work, so you may even sleep a little longer).
Ideally, start your routine with a good breakfast, and don't forget that staying in bed working in your pajamas can be an unproductive measure. Try to dress in comfortable clothes and create a pleasant environment to carry out your activities.
If possible, try to do some kind of physical exercise. Avoid going to the gym, but you can do stretches or Yoga if the space in your home allows. If there is a garden, for example, you can take the opportunity to do some aerobic exercise.
Try to eat well throughout the day and don't make the home office an excuse to work more hours than you should. You must learn to find a balance between professional and personal life during these hours. Otherwise, you will be neglecting mental health.
3. In quarantine, do online therapy
Many patients and psychologists are already migrating therapy sessions from face-to-face to online. This is a recommended measure to prevent the contagion of the coronavirus and, at the same time, to take care of mental health.
If you are already in therapy, be sure to hold the sessions because of isolation. Talk to your psychologist about the possibility of the practice being done online, because this is good both for the professional who does not lose his income and for the individual who remains healthy.
On the other hand, if you still don't have therapy and you feel that you have very high levels of anxiety, this may be the best time to start taking care of yourself. Look for platforms like Talk Space, which have several psychologists available for remote care.
Therapy is a great ally in different moments of our lives and now it couldn't be any different. A specialized professional can be essential to help you deal with excessive fear and panic. So do not hesitate to look for a psychologist at the slightest sign of trouble.
4. Use technology to get closer to people
As frustrating as social isolation is, we cannot deny that we live in an era in which technology is capable of helping (and much) overcome this moment.
Just imagine how people in isolation felt years ago without WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook to communicate with friends and family? No matter how much social media causes an overload of fear and panic, they also have their benefits.
During this difficult period, take the opportunity to forge closer ties with loved ones.
- Call your grandparents who are alone at home;
- make a Skype call to your friend you haven't seen in a long time and are also isolated;
- book a video call with all your cousins.
The coronavirus pandemic has the power to trigger feelings of abandonment and rejection, so it's important to stay connected to the people you love in some way. Not to mention, it's a great way to distract yourself and pass the time.
5. Use quarantine to engage in activities you enjoy
How many times have you complained about not having time to do something you like? Surely now is the time to invest in that hobby of painting, drawing, writing, reading, or learning to cook.
Despite the disadvantages of social isolation, it is also a good time to forget excuses and start paying attention to activities that you leave aside in your daily life.
You can no longer say you don't have time, so turn off your cell phone and television a little and pay attention to some hobby. How about taking this moment to invest in everything you like to do?
Also, with the internet, we have access to a lot of free content. It's possible to watch online classes, take courses, and really dive into a new passion.
6. Practice meditation
A valuable tool that is already in many people's daily lives should receive even more attention now. Meditation is free and can be done anywhere in your home.
You just need to sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and don't get attached to any of your thoughts. If you have never practiced, the recommendation is to use guided meditation mobile app.
Meditation will help you to decrease levels of anxiety and stress, as well as being beneficial for strengthening your immune system. After all, when your mind goes well, your body gets stronger too.
In this period of quarantine, the tip is to do at least one meditation a day, but if you want to go further you can start and end your day with small meditations to stay calm.
Why is empathy so important in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic?
According to the dictionary, the word selfishness has the following meaning:
- Exaggerated love for one's own interests in spite of those of others.
- Exclusivism that leads one to take oneself as a reference to everything; pride, presumption.
How many times have we not been selfish in our lives? It's part of being human sometimes, right? We can't deny it.
However, we are living in a situation where there is no room for selfishness. The words of the time are empathy and collective consciousness. Many of us have never experienced a crisis like this and we are scared.
Young people are afraid of contracting the coronavirus and transmitting it to parents and grandparents. Those in a risk group are afraid to get sick and the worst happens. Deep down, we're all on this boat together.
The COVID-19 pandemic has come to remind us not only of our fragility but that if we do not put the other first in these hours, we will all lose out.
We need to put ourselves in each other's shoes more than ever. The fear that a healthy person in their early 20s feels is very different from the fear that an elderly man may be experiencing now. And every time you make a decision to do something that could increase contagion, you need to think about this gentleman and all the other people in the risk group.
For me it may just be a cold, but what about my father? What about my friend's grandmother? What about my brother who has diabetes?
After all, there is only one way to overcome everything that is happening: fighting together and thinking about others, besides ourselves.
Make sure you're not alone
As much as social isolation affects mental health and makes people feel alone, abandoned, and even rejected, we need to work on the idea that this is a delicate moment that we all need to go through together.
During the coronavirus pandemic, try to cultivate positive thoughts. This is because thoughts can be one of the great causes of your anxiety. Wake up, stretch out, focus on your breathing, and give thanks.
Throughout the day, don't get attached to bad thoughts and don't ruminate your fear. Try to talk to family and friends to let them know how you feel. You are not alone, we are all together.