How Can We Protect Ourselves From These Psychological Effects Of Quarantine?

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

Socialising is a human need.

The idea of staying indoors and self-distancing sounds scary, but it is a much-needed thing today, in order to save the society from the outbreak of coronavirus. Social distancing and staying indoors will stop the virus from spreading and infecting the people around you. It is a desired and the only way to resolve the COVID issue. Just like a coin, even the quarantine has two sides; one where it will stop the virus from spreading, and the other is the issue of mental health due to isolation.

A quarantine leads to separation from loved ones, loss of freedom, boredom and uncertainty over when it will end. Being alone, staying indoors and having minimal human contact affects us in various ways psychologically, which we often do not realise. There have been several studies that have highlighted that quarantine in earlier situations has lead to post traumatic disorders, depression and many other conditions of psychological distress.

The most common amongst them all are anxiety and depression. People get more anxious when they are asked to stay indoors, as there is no certainty as to when it will get over. The anxiety can also be over getting sick due to the virus, or your loved ones getting infected. The second most common condition is depression, due to lack of human contact and stress over financial loss and inadequate supplies. These are just two of the two issues. In many instances, people end up developing addiction, phobias, anger issues, fear, or sleep disorders. Further, a lack of information on these issues can make the condition worse for people.

In this critical period, one needs to take care of their mental health religiously. There are many ways by which one can make sure their mental health is not at risk. One can focus on the positive side of this situation, rather than catastrophising the ourbreak and social distancing, by overthinking about it. Here is a list of certain tips one can follow to keep our mental health in place.

  • Keeping in touch- As many of us are staying away from their family, staying in touch is really important. Regularly calling your loved ones and friends will help us fight isolation blues.
  • Build a hobby- We all have thought about learning a new hobby at least once in our life. Start today, work on it and try to master it. It only takes 21 days to develop a hobby so use this time to do that.
  • Sleeping Pattern- This is the time when we need to regulate our sleep. Excessive sleep can lead to depression, while a lack of sleep might lead to frustration. Having a schedule set for sleep is advisable. Going to sleep at the same time everyday and waking up at set time will help in managing sleep-related disorders.
  • Diet- Focus on what you eat. Excessive sugar intake, without much movement in the body to burn it, will cause excessive energy. This can lead to overthinking and irritation. Include more green vegetables in your meals.
  • Sunlight- A therapy used to treat depression. The best way to fight your blues is to get some sun, obviously by staying at home. Let your curtains be open till the time the sun is out. This will create a positive and lighter environment.
  • Limit media intake- Read only from reliable sources to control your anxiety.
  • Do not think about the future- Live in the present, and take one day at a time. Do not ponder over the ‘what ifs’ and when this period will end.
  • Reflect on your feelings– This is the best time to get in touch with your emotions and feelings. Work on them and get in touch with your real self.
  • Maintain a thought journal- This will involve writing what you feel and how you dealt with an irrational thought. This will help you to change any negative behavioural pattern that you might have.
  • Focus on things that you can control- This includes washing your hands, and avoiding physical contact. Work out at your home by watching exercises on Youtube. Tire yourself out.
  • Follow routines- Make a routine for yourself and follow it without missing any detail.

We are all in this together, so let’s fight this together. The most important part is to seek help when needed. There are many organisations that are providing online mental health services. Go for them.

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