Only a month ago these might have been alien concepts for many, but quarantining and social distancing have now become common global practices as governments make concerted efforts to fight the spiraling coronavirus outbreak.
While these measures are extremely important to slow down the spread of COVID-19, their impact on mental health should not be taken lightly.
Uncertainly can very well spike anxiety and these are certainly uncertain times. Prolonged isolation and anxiety can in turn lead a person to depression – which by every definition of the word, “serious,” is a serious medical condition.
The good news, however is that you can take a number of steps to minimize the adverse impact that the COVID-19 outbreak might be having on your mental health.
1. Create a routine
Change out of your pajamas, shower and make a to-do list of all the things you want to achieve each day to create a sense of normality and productivity.
2. Break-up your day
Find tasks to break-up your day and, where possible, make changes to your physical environment to accommodate different activities.
3. Take care of your body
Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. That could include conducting indoor workout classes, stretching and practicing meditation.
4. Help others
If you’re not under strict isolation rules yourself, and you’re in a position to do so, find ways to support those in need by offering to run errands and collect supplies for them.
5. Stay connected
Make the most of technology and stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family via phone calls, texts, social media and video conferencing.
6. Limit media intake
Do stay informed about the situation via reliable sources BUT limit your news and social media intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
7. Prepare medical supplies
If you’re already on prescription drugs, it might be a good idea to ask your doctor for extended prescription supplies to cover the quarantine period.
8. Fight boredom
Make the most of your idle time by catching up on TV series, reading and exploring projects you have been putting off to beat boredom and stay mentally active.
9. Avoid burnout
Set strict limits to your work to avoid becoming overwhelmed and make time to unwind.
10. Focus on the positives
Amplify good news stories and honor caregivers working tirelessly to resolve the situation.
11. Take one day at a time
Try not to project too far into the future. Remember that this uncertainty is temporary and you are not alone.