The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging even after months of efforts from the world’s governments and public health authorities. Social distancing and community lockdowns are among the most effective ways of preventing the spread of the contagion, which is why they’re routinely used by authorities. Earlier this year, as many as 3 out of 4 people in the United States were under a lockdown of some sort. Other countries have imposed similar measures on their respective populaces.
However, in the following months, many countries have begun easing their restrictions and lockdowns in hopes of rejuvenating their economy or because their number of cases seem well in hand. Regardless of community quarantines and lockdowns, staying at home and avoiding group gatherings remain the most effective means for preventing infection. But these measures can have an adverse effect on your mental health.
Prolonged periods of isolation and staying at home can be tedious and nerve-wracking after a while. Your need to learn how to cope with this aspect of the new normal.
Change your mindset
Your mind can easily be the most restrictive prison you’ll ever know, if you let it. Whether you’re voluntarily staying at home for the duration of this crisis or under official orders to do so, you need to attune your mindset with your new reality. Instead of thinking that you are “stuck in your home,” rewire that thought into “focusing on myself and my house.” Shift your attention and focus on positive things you can now do because of your lockdown. Thinking only of your restrictions and boundaries will only elevate your mental distress and raise anxiety levels. Consider this time to be an opportunity to find your center and focus on the self.
Consult a professional
Medical centers and hospitals across the United States are switching to telehealth services and utilizing video conferencing software to reach out to their patients. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety about your health, tour job, or your personal relationships, you may want to talk to someone. Now you could reach out to your friends and loved ones, but they’re not a good substitute for a trained mental health therapist.
These professionals can help guide you through your emotions and find ways to come to terms with your new situation. They can also provide you with expert diagnosis in case you’re experiencing something more serious emotionally and mentally.
Stay as close to normal
The best way to live normally during your lockdown or quarantine is to stay as close to your regular activities. A drastic change in your schedule or routine will only serve to highlight how new and alien your situation is. Retain all your activities as much as you can to preserve a sense of continuity with your previous experience.
Only change your routine if it’s impossible to integrate it with the terms of your lockdown. For example, if you’re used to eating breakfast at a certain time, don’t change it. But if you used to watch movies with friends on Tuesday evenings, you’ll need to find an alternative activity. You could livestream a movie with friends instead to have a similar activity.
Don’t obsess over the crisis
Thanks to advances in connectivity, almost 86 percent of Americans can access the internet. Although this is useful for looking up important information and updates about the pandemic, it can have a negative side effect. Because you can now easily look up news sites and stay updated over death tolls and infection rates online, you may end up getting obsessed over keeping an eye on the crisis. This isn’t good for your mental health and can ratchet up your anxiety levels. Instead of bombarding yourself with a constant stream of articles on the crisis, set aside a specific window for checking for updates and news. This will help you manage your anxieties and keep you in a healthy frame of mind.
Keep things organized
You don’t need more stress in your life, especially this year. Spending a prolonged period inside your home will undoubtedly cause some disorganization. Do your best to reduce the amount of clutter in your house. Expert studies have revealed that a messy home can induce stress in residents. A messy house can make you more anxious because it bombards your senses with stimuli and makes it difficult to relax or concentrate. Keep your house clean and neat to avoid stressing yourself out indoors.
With all the restrictions expected to become part of the new normal, it’s only natural that there’ll be an adjustment period both on a personal and a societal level. But you can help yourself adjust quicker and more comfortably by finding healthy ways to mentally cope with the new reality.
Meta title: Five Ways for Coping with Mental Anxiety and Quarantine Isolation
Meta description: Authorities routinely impose lockdowns and quarantines. Learn five ways you can cope with the mental anxiety and isolation caused by these measures.