With the severity of the coronavirus increasing as time passes, the need for protective measures is crucial to help stop the transmission of the virus and flatten the curve. This is a challenging time in the history of the world, and the main protective measures, namely social distancing and self-isolation, can bring feelings of anxiety and loneliness with them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report on mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. In the report, WHO outlines the need to prioritize mental wellbeing, when the general population is experiencing considerable levels of stress.
If you’ve begun to feel more anxious, miss being around loved ones, or feel lonely, here’s how you can cope in self-isolation.
Create a Schedule
Self-isolation may cause many to experience difficulty sleeping, anxiety, feelings of restlessness, sadness, and demotivation. One study that looked at crews overwintering in the Arctic found that 60% felt depressed and anxious while nearly half felt more irritable, and experienced problems with sleeping, memory, and concentration.
One of the ways you can counter these negative effects is to structure and plan your day. Create a schedule for your work hours, mealtimes, leisure, and bedtime. Planning your activities and setting realistic goals will keep you motivated and active throughout the day.
Use Video Chatting to Your Advantage
It’s reasonable enough to expect many of us to spend a lot more time on our phones than we previously did now that we’re practicing self-isolation. It’s normal to spend most of your days on your phone. It’s also normal to spend days where you want nothing to do with your phone.
We already interact with friends and family on social media platforms, but it’s also helpful to see their faces during this time. Instead of texting a friend, try video chatting with them. It’s a more personal and intimate experience that more closely resembles face-to-face interaction. If video chatting isn’t something you feel up to, consider watching your favorite celebrities on Instagram live. It’s still a way to maintain a social connection that’s interactive and personal on some level.
Take it Easy
More free time is a good excuse for many to let themselves feel guilty for not getting much done. However, it’s important to realize that a global pandemic is not the right time for you to obsess over productivity. You do not need to be doing more or achieving more. Embrace the little tasks that you can get done, no matter how inconsequential they may seem. This is a difficult time, and the best you can do right now is to stay at home, stay informed, and look after your mental health.
For many, self-isolating in this challenging time can cause symptoms of depression and anxiety to worsen. It’s crucial that you prioritize your mental wellbeing. If coping is becoming harder for you, consider visiting a professional therapist.
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