How to Mentally Handle Isolation
These tips can help you remain mentally healthy through social isolation.
Updated on Apr 10 2020
The coronavirus outbreak has affected all of us, financially, emotionally, and socially. As quarantine orders extend, we’re finding ourselves in social isolation for far longer than we’d predicted. While this can be an emotionally draining experience, it’s a necessary process to halt the spread of COVID-19. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s an easy situation for everyone to deal with. It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed. These tips can help you remain mentally healthy through social isolation:
While this may seem obvious, taking a moment just breathe can make a big difference in how you’re feeling. When doing so, take at least 10 deep breaths and concentrate on each inhale and exhale. Sometimes, we don’t realize how tense we’ve become until we take the time to decompress. Take some time to simply relax and breathe, especially if you can feel yourself becoming overwhelmed.
Take a news break
Our news cycle is constant, regardless of what’s going on in the world. However, things become even more amplified during a world crisis. Because of this, you have likely been inundated with constant news and information surrounding COVID-19. News and social media can create a situation where the outbreak is nearly all you can think about. So, it may be helpful to take a break from the news cycle, if only for a bit. It is, of course, important to remain informed on necessary updates, so don’t tune out entirely. Just be sure that you take a break when it starts to become too much.
Talk to family or friends
Practicing physical distancing doesn’t mean that you need to live in social isolation. You can still pick up the phone and call a friend or family member. And, if you’re looking for an extra layer of socialization, you can FaceTime or Zoom call someone for some conversation. These applications allow you to video-call a person or group of people. While you still can’t go out and visit your friends and loved ones, you can still “see” each other virtually. You can use FaceTime on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple computer. You can also use Zoom to connect virtually on non-Apple devices.
Create a routine
A daily routine helps add normalcy and structure to your life. This is true not only for physical distancing, but for retirement as well. Being extremely bored for a prolonged period of time can lead to anxiety, restlessness, or depression. Creating structure can help keep boredom at bay. If you have any projects or areas you’d like to be productive in during this time, creating a routine is an easy way to schedule out these activities without feeling overwhelmed.
Schedule time to relax
You’ve probably thought of all the different ways you’d like to be productive during this time of physical distancing. While it’s important to keep yourself occupied, you should also be sure that you’re taking some time to relax. When you’ve been cooped up inside, it can be easy to find yourself in a constant search for the next task to stay occupied. Be sure that you can find some time to relax. If you’re creating a routine, schedule in some time for yourself.
Reorganize or clean
Staying busy during physical distancing doesn’t mean you need to begin a massive project. Instead, you can keep yourself busy with small tasks and projects, like reorganizing different storage areas of your home. Or, you can work your way through different rooms cleaning all that you can. Staying busy at home doesn’t necessarily need to be high stakes.
Review your finances
Now is a great time to do some of the less fun things that we tend to put off. While reviewing your finances may not be the most exciting way to spend your day, now is the perfect time. This may be especially helpful now, with uncertain times causing changes in our financial system. Review your budgeting and planning to ensure that you’re still on track. If you’re concerned, you can always speak with a financial advisor. Many are still able to assist you remotely, via phone call or video conference. While you shouldn’t worry yourself with financial anxieties that you cannot control, it’s important to have an idea of your position.
Get the sleep you need
Never feel bad about sleeping a little more than usual during this time. Sleep is necessary for everyone, especially in times of extreme stress. And, it’s only natural to feel more tired than usual when you haven’t been as active as you typically are. So, if you find yourself needing some extra sleep, don’t feel guilty. Getting enough sleep is necessary for good health, so take the time you need.
Start that book you’ve been meaning to read, or pick up the one you’d forgotten about. Reading is a great way to pass the time and is a nice activity to do outdoors if you have access to a safe area. If you don’t have anything you want to read, you still have options. While you can’t take a trip to your favorite book retailer to pick up a book, you can look online for something new! You can purchase a digital download so you can read a new story on your computer, tablet, or phone. Some stories are even available for free online, so you’re bound to find something that you’ll like.
Learn about a new topic or skill
It’s never too late to learn a new skill, or to learn more about a topic that interests you. Now is the perfect chance with all of this free time. There are many online courses that provide tutorials in various skills available online. Plus, while many of these courses are always free, a wealth of online resources are being offered for free during this time of physical distancing.
Treat yourself and those around you with kindness
Everyone is having a difficult time right now, and we could all use some kindness and compassion. It’s natural to feel stressed and anxious, so take the time to relax, decompress, and treat yourself with kindness. There is a lot of undue pressure to keep up the same routines and productivity that were common before COVID-19, and this can lead to feelings of depression and hopelessness. Take the necessary time and steps to make sure that you feel okay during this time, and if you can, help a neighbor who needs it.
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