The coronavirus pandemic has got a lot of us locked in our homes and rightfully so. Self-isolation and social distancing are some of the primary protective measures required to stop the transmission of the virus and flatten the curve. Unfortunately, self-isolation and the accompanying lack of social interaction has got many of us feeling lonely in this challenging time.
If you’re finding yourself feeling anxious, lonely, or simply bored in quarantine, here’s how you can cope and get through it.
Structure Your Day
Self-isolation may lead to mental health issues for some. According to a study, more than 60 percent of crews overwintering in polar research stations reported feeling anxious or depressed and close to 50 percent felt more irritable, and had problems with concentration, sleeping, and memory.
While the self-isolation we’re practicing during the pandemic is not likely to be as extreme as overwintering in the Arctic, you may have difficulty sleeping, have feelings of sadness, restlessness, and demotivation.
An excellent way to address these problems is to structure your day. Set a schedule for meal times, work hours, leisure, and bedtime. Setting goals and planning your activities will keep you feeling motivated.
Connect with People through Video
Self-isolating at home means we’re all likely to be on our phones more often than before. There will be days when all you seem to be doing is use your phone, and days where you want nothing to do with it. This is normal. To maintain social interaction with your friends, family, and loved ones, video chat with them from time to time. Seeing their faces when you talk to them is far more personal and intimate than texting and will give you a boost for the rest of the day. If you don’t feel up to video chatting, watching celebrities and influencers on Instagram live is a great way to maintain an interactive social connection.
Manage Your Expectations
Now that you’ve got all this free time on your hands, it’s likely you’ll find yourself worrying about how you should get this done or that done; how you need to be achieving more; that you need to be more productive. A pandemic is not the time to be obsessing and stressing about getting more done. Ditch the self-deprecation and embrace the things you do manage to achieve no matter how insignificant they may seem. Taking a shower is still a win when its easy to lounge the day away in your pajamas.
For many people, anxiety and depression can set while self-isolating in this difficult time. It is important to take care of your mental health, and one way to do that is to reach out to a professional therapist.
Azizeh Rezaiyan is an experienced therapist based in Palo Alto. She specializes in couples counseling, anxiety therapy, and male depression treatment. She is currently offering a special discount to all individuals, couples, and family counseling clients.