Here’s How We Can Ensure That Social Distancing Doesn’t Affect Our Mental Health

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

India observed a nation-wide, self-imposed curfew on 22nd March 2020. It was the biggest social distancing exercise in the world. Now, 32 States/UTs, are under complete lockdown, covering 560 districts. The sole objective of lockdown is to ensure social distancing as it is deemed an effective way by medical experts to give a blow to the transmission chain of coronavirus.

However, prolonged social distancing can affect people’s mental health, as found in a recent study conducted by a reputed medical journal. The study states that quarantine can leave a great physiological impact on people: anger, anxiety, and sleep disturbance are just a few mental health concerns to mention. It also notes that stressors linked with quarantine, such as boredom, frustration, infection fear, and inadequate supply can inflame mental health concerns.

So, one should try to fight common stressors of quarantine, social distancing to safeguard your sanity:

Here are some tips that can help:

1. Stay In Touch Virtually 

Humans are inherently social beings. So, we always want to socialise with others. Any restriction on that can hurt our mental state. Social distancing and quarantining doesn’t mean that you cannot stay connected to our family members and friends. 

Thanks to technological advancements, we have multiple ways to socialise now. Phone calls, texts, social media messages, and video conferencing have made it easier to get in touch with our loved ones. Pick your phone and call at least 10 friends/family members whom you haven’t contacted for months. It will certainly boost your mood. 

What’s more, you can try playing online games in which multiple players participate to bust the feeling of social isolation. 

2. Try to Practice Your Daily Routine  

Social-distancing doesn’t mean you that you have to stay in your pyjamas and grow your beard because you’re not going out to meet people personally. Instead, you should try to follow a daily routine in order to give a sense of ‘normalcy’. Follow your regular morning routine – get out of your bed on time, have breakfast, complete the tasks that you can do in social distancing. If your company has allowed you to work from home, try to complete the daily work schedule on time. 

In the absence of professional engagement, you can try to complete an online course to enhance your life skills during this period of social isolation. Being productive will help you feel a sense of accomplishment and kill the boredom that may creep in your life while you are staying in self-isolation. Burnout often causes anxiety and stress. So, you should set strict limits to your work and make time for relaxing. 

3. Take Care of Your Health 

Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and try to get plenty of sleep. All of these will help you keep stress and anxiety at bay.

What we eat has a direct impact on how our overall health is. People in social isolation tend to eat either more or less than they normally do. You should not let that happen. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and try to get plenty of sleep. All of these will help you keep stress and anxiety at bay. 

Some foods such as fatty fish, dark chocolate, bananas, and nuts and seeds are known to uplift mood. Including these food items in your diet can help you stay in the pink of mental health during social distancing. Also, you can practice meditation to ward off stress.   

4. Don’t Watch The News All the Time 

You are going in isolation because of the COVID-19 outbreak. So, it is natural that you want to stay abreast of everything related to the pandemic. And the only way to do so is by checking the news. However, doing so all the time can overwhelm you, and make you more fearful of the infection.  

Limit your media intake, and make time to also watch your favorite movies and TV shows. This will help you stay relaxed during self-isolation. 

5. Look On The Brighter Side 

There is no point in constantly complaining about not being able to meet friends and family members during this time. Instead, you can focus on the positives, which can boost your spirit. 

You can amplify good news stories, spread awareness, and honor caregivers online. Doing so will not only uplift your mood, but also help others stay feel positive about the situation.    

Social isolation or quarantine is the only available strategy right now to stop the spiraling of the COVID-19 outbreak. But this can also have an impact on a person’s mental well being. We don’t know for how many days we will have to maintain social distancing. So, doing things that can help us stay in the pink of our mental and physical health is the need of hour to ensure victory over this virus.  

Sign this petition to demand expanding of screening beyond government hospitals, to pre-empt the disease from becoming an epidemic.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it is our duty to keep ourselves informed, take care of our own health, and wash our hands! Some simple measures that we must follow include social distancing, covering our mouth when coughing and sneezing, washing one's hands regularly, and avoid crowded places, and self-quarantine! The helpline provided by the government is +91-11-23978046. Here are some resources that the WHO and the Health Ministry have created. Remember, prevention, and not panic, will see us through this!
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