As the global pandemic of COVID-19 spreads, the effects are being felt by everyone, healthy or infected. While the unanswered questions of how to fight the virus raise uncertainties, the imposition of self-isolation doesn’t help raise spirits. Learn how to adjust to quarantine with this guide to COVID-19: What Being Stuck Indoors Does to Your Mental Health and How to Deal With Self-Isolation.
Self-isolation is commonly associated with the term cabin fever. It is thought that cabin fever is a syndrome linked to claustrophobia and seasonal affective disorder. It’s typically a reaction to intense isolation that causes people to feel irritable and restless.
Other common effects of cabin fever include lethargy, depression, lack of focus, food cravings, hopelessness, decreased motivation, and lack of patience. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms or the same intensity of symptoms. Thankfully there are several ways to cope with self-isolation and the mental effects that come with it.
Reframe the Mind
The initial reaction to being mandated to stay home is “I’m stuck inside”. Instead of viewing quarantine as being “stuck”, think of it as a time to focus. During regular circumstances, people tend to spend most of their time outside of the house and don’t have enough attention to focus on personal betterment or the home. Strive to do one productive thing every day to keep positive. Stop procrastinating on tasks, get organized, or be creative.
Stick to the Normal Routine
It’s okay to indulge in a few relaxed days, but try to maintain some structure during quarantine by sticking to a normal routine. Keep going to bed and waking up at the same time, eat regular meals, shower daily, get dressed in something other than pajamas, and adapt fitness routines. Don’t slack on the cleaning and laundry schedule either. Sticking to the normal routine will make re-adjusting to non-quarantine life easier.
Don’t Obsess Over COVID-19 Coverage
Keeping up with the news and staying current on the global situation is important in moderation. Obsessing over every bit of COVID-19 coverage is not good for morale. Check the news daily from credible websites like those ending in who.int or cdc.gov. Limit the amount of time spent reading, for example, 30 minutes in the morning and again in the evening. Attention is better spent keeping in touch with friends and family via FaceTime chats.
Dealing with unsettling news during self-isolation can be troubling and overwhelming. Not being able to have a face to face conversation with someone to express fears and concerns can feel very lonely. Therapy Group of DC has adapted its counseling services and is offering existing and new patients teletherapy sessions. Patients can pursue online therapy in DC from the safety and comfort of their homes and trust that the therapists at the Therapy Group of DC maintain dedicated and confidential care.
Create a New Quarantine Ritual
Quarantine may not feel like a special time in a conventional way, but it is a unique time. Create a new quarantine ritual to help pass the time. Having something to look forward to every day is important in keeping a positive attitude. Start keeping a daily journal that is specific to the thoughts and feelings of the situation. Those that have the ability to walk around outside could go for a daily walk at a set time. Have socially-distanced coffee dates with friends over FaceTime, or make personal time to read books.
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