How to Deal with Mental Health During Quarantine
While quarantine is an effective way of controlling coronavirus disease, it also has adverse effects on many people’s mental health. Spending time in quarantine is not easy. When someone is quarantined, they feel helpless and disconnected from the world. If you are quarantined at your home with your family members you may still feel like you are locked inside a cage because you cannot go out. Besides, you will also feel like time is creeping by more slowly because you have nothing important to do.
The feeling of being isolated in quarantine can lead to poor heart health, depression, poor sleep, and a general impaired body function. All this contributes to poor mental health, which leads to difficulties in focusing, managing emotions, and remembering information. While the quarantine period may be brief, the isolation and loneliness will have adverse effects on someone. However, the effects of the quarantine on an individual depend on their attitude towards the quarantine. For starters, if you are quarantined, and you convince yourself it is for the best, then you will have an easier time. But if you are quarantined, and feel like you are being caged, you are more likely to start stressing, which may affect you incredibly.
Then, how do you cope with mental stress during quarantine? In this piece, we have described everything you need to know about mental health while in quarantine, and how to deal with it.
Factors That Influence How You Cope with Quarantine
Primarily, everyone has their way of dealing with mental stress. During the quarantine period, many factors may influence how well you cope, or how bad the quarantine will affect you.
- Ability to deal with stress- If you have a great way of dealing with stress in life, then the quarantine period may not be so hard. However, if you have low resilience in managing stress, the quarantine period may have adverse effects on you.
- Personality- Generally, your personality significantly influences how quarantine will affect you. For instance, if you are an extrovert, you may find it challenging to cope with the isolation and the loneliness that comes with it. Ideally, being an extrovert, you are used to high social interaction, and staying inside the house may be quite overwhelming for you. You may feel lost, sad, and lonely, which makes quarantine more difficult for you.
- Mental health history- If you had been previously diagnosed with a mental health condition, for starters, anxiety disorder, going into quarantine may adversely affect you. You may fall into depression because of your underlying mental condition, and the stress that comes with quarantine.
- Quarantine duration- How long you will be in quarantine is the main factor that will determine how you will cope. If you are in quarantine for a small duration, you might be resilient, and it may not affect you a lot. But if the quarantine period lasts for long, the effects will be much more severe. However, you should adhere to the protocols to mitigate the spread of the virus by staying in quarantine for 14 days. But you should not prolong your quarantine period longer than this because the longer you stay in quarantine, the longer your mental health is affected.
Things You Can Do to Cope
There are various things you can do to mitigate the adverse effects of the quarantine period.
- Plan Your Time Well
Quarantine disrupts your daily routine, and it has made many people start working from home. If you are working from home during quarantine, it would be best to plan and run your schedule like any other day at your regular workplace. While this may be a challenge, it may be beneficial in helping you manage your time well and, at the same time, ensuring you are productive at what you are doing.
Generally, unstructured time will make you develop boredom, which may affect how you cope with the time in quarantine. Additionally, when you plan your time well, it saves you the fatigue that comes with deciding between many options. Planning your time when you are in quarantine, is incredibly helpful in keeping your mind engaged, and avoiding the stress that comes with overthinking during the quarantine period.
- Be Active
When you are in quarantine, it would also be best to find ways to keep yourself active, like exercising, for instance. If you are not physically active during quarantine, you may be putting your wellness at risk, both mentally and physically. Many people do not like exercising, and it could cause a lot of problems, especially during the quarantine. When you are in quarantine, you are not moving out of your house. Hence, your physical activity is reduced to zero. It could be a disaster for your health because it may bring serious cardiovascular diseases, and it may also bring other health conditions. Thus, it would be helpful if you exercise your body to ensure that you are generally okay.
Moreover, exercising your body is essential for good mental health. It keeps you active, and at the same time, reduces stress levels. Even if you have a brief quarantine period, exercising your body will help you manage your stress and keep fit. Also, it helps in dealing with extreme boredom, which comes from staying indoors, and it also makes time pass by faster. You can do some research online on easy home workouts you can do to keep fit, and exercises you can also do to manage your stress levels when you are in quarantine.
- Communicate with Other People
Staying in touch with your friends and family during quarantine can minimize boredom, and also the feeling of isolation. You should stay connected with your family and friends through phone calls and text messages. Ask them about their quarantine experiences, how they are feeling, and how they are coping. It will make you feel that you are not alone in quarantine because everybody else is undergoing the same thing as you.
Additionally, ensure that you also stay in contact with your workmates. Working from home is also not easy. It comes with a lot of mental stress because you are alone in the house without your workmates’ company. Thus, it would be helpful to talk to some of your favorite workmates through phone calls or text messages. Moreover, you can also communicate through zoom meetings as a group, and also share your experiences. Talking to other people going through the same thing will bring a sense of community, and you will be able to empower each other.
- Stay Informed
If you don’t have access to essential information, you can become anxious, which is not suitable for your mental health. For starters, if you do not have accurate information about the coronavirus disease symptoms, you may start to panic when you have symptoms that do not necessarily imply that you are sick. Therefore, it would be best to get information about the disease when you are in quarantine to ensure that you stay informed.
However, ensure that you also get your information from credible sources. Misleading information can be incredibly overwhelming, and it may cause your mental health to worsen. It would mostly help if you only rely on television news because they are accurate, and come straight from the government, or the World Health Organization. Be sure to avoid all the negative information that usually comes from social media platforms.
- Remember the Reason Behind the Quarantine
When you are indoors locked up and stressed out, remember why you are indoors in the first place. Thinking about why you are in quarantine can be incredibly helpful because you will be able to remind yourself that it is for the best. For instance, if you are in quarantine because you have been exposed to the coronavirus, it ensures that you do not expose your family members and friends to the virus. When you think of this, you will feel much better, and your mood will improve.
Additionally, when you are exposed and stay in quarantine, it is also beneficial in flattening the coronavirus curve. It is because it helps in slowing down the transmission of the virus to other people. Besides, if you go out of quarantine after being exposed, you will transmit the virus to other people, which may lead to a spike in the number of patients. It may overwhelm the hospitals, and the medical practitioners may be unable to treat everyone adequately. It may increase the number of casualties. Ideally, reminding yourself of the reasons behind the quarantine may make you feel good because you are doing it for everyone’s good.
- Combat Boredom
The frustration of being quarantined mainly occurs due to being bored. Therefore, you must find something fun to keep you busy and occupied. For instance, you can work on those projects that you were too busy to work on before because of your tight schedule. Ideally, do everything that you wished to do before the quarantine, but you were too busy to do them. You can also find some new hobbies to pass the time or find exciting movies to watch.
Having something to do significantly reduces your boredom, and improves your mental health. However, ensure that you have a firm timetable for doing the fun activities. When you do one activity for too long, it also becomes quite dull. Creating a timetable ensures that you alternate the activities making them more fun.
- Don’t Leave Your Kids Out.
When you are in quarantine with your child, you should also know that they are affected by the quarantine. Children who are in the quarantine may end up developing more severe mental health disorders than grown-ups. While a grown-up may understand the importance of the quarantine, children may feel like they are being caged and tormented. It may make them feel stressed, and they may develop severe mental disorders in the process.
Furthermore, children are prone to severe mental health conditions during the quarantine period because they are also not interacting with their friends. Plan activities for them to ensure that they remain engaged, and they don’t get bored. You can try to structure a regular school day timetable, which allows the children to study with the appropriate breaks in between. Finally, it would be helpful if parents talked to their children to make them understand the coronavirus outbreak, and how necessary quarantine is. You should also ensure that you adequately manage your anxiety because it will also help in calming the kids. When you are restless, you make your kids restless as well.
Quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic, may be stressful and upsetting for many people. Ensure that you take the necessary measures to deal with the quarantine period appropriately, to avoid getting severe mental health disorders.