Amidst the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), almost everyone on this planet is required to practice social distancing for the next couple of months. To date, 181 countries out of 195 countries have been affected by the global pandemic, and some countries have been implementing a personal quarantine minimum of two weeks. Those countries who have been more affected by the pandemic have been extending their lockdowns to a couple of months. Uncertainty as to whether this would ever end is causing a lot of stress and anxiety to many, and this may have a massive impact on people’s mental health. According to Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, “the issue facing each and every one of us is how we manage and react to the stressful situation unfolding so rapidly in our lives and communities“.
Social gatherings have been banned, visiting a neighbor’s house may get you fined, and even loitering outdoors can have you detained. The mandatory isolation is forcing people to spend more time on social media which may have a negative psychological impact on dealing with isolation. According to the 2020 Loneliness Index, young people were most likely to feel isolated with heavy social media use. Here are some tips to ensure that you can get through this quarantine with a healthy mental state:
- Choose someone you can turn to. It can be a friend, a family member, a colleague or a psychiatrist. In times of uncertainty, it is important to have someone you can call whenever you need to talk. It can get very lonely seeing the same four walls every day, but in times wherein you don’t have much of a choice, you have to make do with who is accessible and willing to reciprocate.
- Rebuild those relationships. You may have been one of those people that find relationship building a waste of time. As one of my friends used to tell me, “if it doesn’t bring me income, inspiration or orgasms, it doesn’t belong in my life”. People get so caught up on the rat race, trying to earn more every day and focusing so much on what they can gain. That kind of attitude makes you forget that it’s the small things in life that matter.
While on quarantine, this may also be a good time to check on your parents, give them a call and check how they are doing. – Fabian Mangahas.And if you find it hard to pick up the phone, find other ways to keep in touch – play an online game together, download the Netflix Party app so you can watch Netflix together, send puzzles or trivia to each other, the list is limitless with the Internet.
Find creative ways to connect with friends and family. – Angela Green
- Join online group activities. There are more organizations placing an emphasis on their online presence. Book Clubs have switched to Zoom meetings, topic-based interests have moved to Facebook Groups, meditation sessions have moved to Instagram Live. The list goes one. Ever since the pandemic has hit, I’ve seen growth on online “gatherings”, places that allow people to feel like they still belong to a social community.
Aside from dating apps, maybe give a try on one of these groups, they may end up being more fulfilling than those empty conversations with strangers.
- Try to keep physically fit. It is hard to keep fit when you are just stuck at home. Gyms and outdoor sports establishments are closed, and in some municipalities, even taking a walk and running outside is not allowed for the time being. Some people find it hard to stay motivated by working out at home alone. According to the WHO Europe, “sedentary behaviour and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on the health, well-being, and quality of life of individuals.”For the time being, you have to try your best to make do with what you have available. There are workout apps that are free for the month such as FitBod (Promo code: FITBODPH for discounts).
Working out is keeping me sane. – Christopher LeaKeep a healthy body through exercise and eating healthy. Also, keep a healthy mind by reading and consuming only positive content. – Rachel Anne Bustamante
- Find creative ways to spend your alone time. Rather than retiring into a dark room and lying to brood on your issues, try to keep yourself entertained. Challenge yourself with some mind puzzles, watch a movie, or read a book. Sometimes even singing and dancing with yourself is a mood lightener.
Stare at the sky and count the stars. I bet many haven’t done that in a while. – Jemaville Tarin
Write on paper. And I mean WRITE. Many type on their computer these days that handwritings have gone crap. – Jemaville Tarin
Note down if your health got better or worse during this lockdown. E.g. Are eyebags gone? Are you coughing less if you have allergic rhinitis/asthma? Less headaches? Pimples? Etc – Jemaville TarinTrain yourself to learn and distinguish the difference between hunger and boredom. – Jemaville Tarin
- Learn a new skill. Time used to be the main complaint from people who were not able to do what they said they wanted to do. We can say now that time is on our side. Instead of staring at the ceiling and overthinking what the future will look like, try to be a little productive. Did you want to write a book? Did you want to learn a new culinary skill? Did you want to enhance your creativeness? Did you want to learn a new language? Now is the time.
Makeup tutorial since I sucked at putting makeup! Then I’m trying to learn how to bake! Haha – Mary Ann Nillas
- Be an aspiring beam of light for others. If you want to help others, this may be the best time to do it. Hospitals need more PPE kits, people in your own circle may have recently gotten jobless, or your elderly relatives have been going through higher levels of stress and anxiety.
There are many ways to help and not just through financial donations. If you have particular skills, this may be the best time to use it. If you are a singer, do a live session for your friends and followers. If you are good at painting and drawing, draw inspiring messages for people in the hospitals. If you are a good organizer, help out on sorting logistics for goods delivery. The list is endless if your heart is ready to help.
- Create a routine. With many people working from home, it may be hard to get into a rhythm since the time is all yours now. We have come to the point where we are already forgetting what day of the week it is, because it no longer has much importance. I came across a funny quote that said, “there are only three days in a week: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow”.
Without a routine, you may end up doing nothing all day, sleeping odd hours, and you will start to feel demotivated. A routine is important to keep your sanity in place.
Be productive and stick to your routine… meditate..workout… cook for yourself. – Czarra CœurMy routine includes waking up before 9AM, showering, facial routine, checking e-mails in the morning, cleaning the house, cooking lunch, studying for 1hr, a 30-min workout session at around 4PM, and enjoying the sunset at 5:30PM. For the evening I cook dinner then allow myself to relax (free time). – Natalie Tarin
- Fix your home. Your home needs to be a safe haven for your mind. When your home is clean, you get a sense of reduced stress and anxiety, and it aids in improving your mood. With more time at home, maybe re-organize your layout and spend a little more time figuring out the things that matter, and the things that don’t. As Marie Condo used to say, “If it doesn’t spark joy, let it go“.
Also clean your closet (clothes/shoes etc. You don’t need anymore) spring cleaning – Mary Ann Nillas
- Give time to appreciate the good things around you. We may be so caught up on the negative things happening in the world right now, our TV is showing us nothing but bad news. Start by writing the things you like about yourself. Write things you are grateful for. Then start pointing out the good things about your friends and family.
Friendly Tips:Make eye contact or a little wave to people as a sign of greetings as it instills a little human connection which I think is also necessary? – Rachel Anne Bustamante
Just keep quiet and notice what sounds you are hearing that you couldn’t hear before (e.g. birds chirping, footsteps of a cockroach, etc). – Jemaville Tarin
I hope these tips will help you go through this global pandemic. If you have any other comments on how you are dealing with isolation at this time, please leave a comment below!
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