Updated: Apr 8, 2020
With the advent of COVID-19 and the implementation of self-isolation, one of the major challenges to be faced, is how do we take care of our mental health in self-isolation and how do we overcome the mental challenges that self-isolation may invoke. Below is a list of 5 possible challenges of self-isolation, and how you can overcome them.
✅ I Feel Like Every Day Bleeds Into the Next
It is very common during this time to feel as though every day is the same, and each day has no rigidity or structure to it, making it very difficult to keep track of your days and mark the passage of time. If you find yourself experiencing this “Groundhog Day” sensation, it may be a great idea to implement a routine, ensuring that you get to sleep and wake up at the same times every day, go through a normal daily morning routine including washing and getting dressed, as well as ensuring that you eat all of your meals at similar times every day.
✅ I Feel Lonely
Feelings of loneliness and isolation are almost bound to arise during this difficult time, especially for those living alone, however there are two key changes you can make to mitigate these feelings. Firstly, when getting in contact with friends and family members, try to steer clear of simply phoning them, a lot of communication between humans is non-verbal, as such, video calling regularly through free to use services such as Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime will go a long way to combating feelings of loneliness. Secondly, there are a variety of social media platforms specifically designed for those experiencing mental distress, one of the most popular being Elefriends, these platforms will allow you to connect with people who can truly empathise with your feelings.
✅ I Am Overly Stressed and Anxious About COVID-19
In the current climate, there is an overarching sense of anxiety and stress in society, as such, it is inevitable that this feeling will begin to seep into your consciousness. As such, there are some actions that you can take to stagger the intake of this social tension. One of the best things to do would be to question the amount of media coverage regarding COVID-19 that you are consuming. Whilst it is important to keep up to date with the current events, try to limit your intake to coverage that only applies to you directly at this time. Ask yourself if it is really essential that you hear about what is happening half a world away. Or what is happening in a small community that you have never visited and never intend to visit. Stemming the flow of negative information that you consume will go a long way to mitigating any feelings of dread or anxiety.
✅ I Feel Trapped
Whilst in self-isolation, you may encounter a feeling of being trapped, or feel a lack of freedom. Whilst to a degree this is the case, there are ways that you can make yourself feel less constrained by your own home. Even simple things such as opening the windows around your house to let fresh air in, or taking a break and looking up at the sky or over a landscape will help you feel less enclosed. It is also an excellent idea to follow the UK government's guidelines and partake in a form of daily exercise outside of your home, even a walk around a local park or around your neighbourhood will make you feel like you are regaining some of your freedom.
✅ I Feel as Though I Have Nothing To Do
For many of us, the majority of our usual hobbies included a lot of face to face contact with other people, and we are now unable to partake in our usual hobbies during this time of isolation. However, it is important not to be disheartened by this, take this time to perhaps develop new hobbies, or even upskill yourself. There are plenty of online resources that you can use to develop your current skills, or even gain a proficiency in new skills, so that when all this is over, you can hit the ground running, and excel in day to day life.
If you are in need of extra mental health support, please find the contact details for mental health helplines below:
Samaritans: 116 123
Anxiety UK: 03444 775 774
MIND: 0300 123 3393
MIND Article: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#collapse03bb9
Mental Health Foundation Article: https://mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
CNN Psychiatrist Interview: https://edition.cnn.com/videos/health/2020/03/27/entire-march-26-coronavirus-town-hall-part-5-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/entire-cnn-facebook-march-26-coronavirus-town-hall/