If quarantine has taught us anything, it's that mental health is a serious issue that should not be brushed over. With quarantines being the new norm in most countries, it is time for us to touch up on this matter and the actions that we can take to cope with it.
Why is our mental health impacted?
To lay down some bases for our topic, let's start with a quick definition of what quarantine is. Oxford dictionary defines it as a state, period, or place of isolation in which people who have been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed. Inherent in its meaning, this generally means that most people in this state are cut off from all social interactions and see an abrupt stop to their daily routines. The side effects of isolation are plentiful and include loss of sleep, anxiety, loneliness and an overwhelming feeling of stress and hopelessness. These dramatic feelings occur due to the fact that we as humans are “social creatures” by nature, a term that is thrown around quite often but holds a lot of truth. A major example in support of this statement is the fact that researchers in Antarctica, which holds the harshest and almost uninhabitable environment for people, all unanimously reported that the hardest part of the job isn’t dealing with the turbulent environment around them, but the loneliness they feel. So, one can clearly see how getting cut off from the world, as well as being exposed to the negative and troubling news about the outbreak and the virus itself can impact any individual’s mental health.
What can we do to cope with this?
One of the best ways to cope with the stress is by minimizing the time we spend reading and listening to news about the pandemic. Although Social Media platforms are doing their best to filter fake news and avoid it been shared, we are still witnessing a vast amount of information that isn't true and could have a negative impact on ourselves and others, thus it is always wise to double check both the source and legitimacy of the information before posting, or reading about it.
Another very important way in which we can control our stress levels is by taking care of our body. It has been proven time and again that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind; therefore, it is paramount that we focus on exercising, getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy and trying deep breathing techniques. This does not mean that we shouldn’t indulge in a bar of chocolate or a bag of chips every now and then, but we should hold firm control over the times we do choose to indulge.
Engage with Others
It is advisable that we stay in touch with friends and family to cope with loneliness. Having regular chats, or video calls helps lessen the distance and gives a sense of comfort. Some activities to help de-stress include:
- Watching your favorite series
- Spending time with your pet
- Learning new recipes
- Having a nice bubble bath
For children and young adults on the other hand, we should engage them in meaningful conversations about what is happening around us or any topic they might find interesting. It is also very important to set a routine for their day. Daily activities can range from learning, or reading to playing fun family game.
Quarantine is hard on all of us but it is a necessary step that we all have to take to lessen the impact of this disease and flatten the curve. Let us treat this as an opportunity and do our best to remain present and embrace the gift of time.