Social distancing and self-isolation can be really hard to deal with. It’s normal to feel anxious, frustrated or bored, but whether you are in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19, you will inevitably be spending more time at home. And if you’re worried about the effect it will have on your mental health, you are not alone on it. So you need to pay more attention to your health while staying at home.
“This feeling will pass. The fear is real but the danger is not.”― Cammie McGovern
The prospect of staying at home for any prolonged period of time can seem overwhelming and a little scary, especially if you’re someone who enjoys keeping fit and active and hitting that daily step count, or an older person who might be worried about feeling isolated. Rather than letting the isolation scare you, why not, instead, try and embrace it as an opportunity to get your sweat on with new, at-home workouts you’ve never tried before, incorporate more simplistic healthy habits into your daily routine and mix things up a little, trust me you won’t regret it.
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” – Oprah Winfrey
So what should you do if your mental health is suffering during self-isolation; are there ways to ensure you safeguard your emotional and mental well being during a potentially extended period of being alone? For sure they are just follow these tips to ensure your well being during quarantine.
1. ESTABLISH A ROUTINE AND PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING
Many of us reach for comfort foods in stressful situations, but often those foods aren’t good for our overall health and well being. If you cannot get fresh fruit and vegetables, try to look for frozen ones instead
During our daily life, we often don’t have the time to prepare home-cooked meals because of our busy schedules at work. But spending a longer period of time at home should make you eat home cooked meals rather than watching TV or stay focused on your phone all day.
In times of uncertainty, it is normal to feel anxious, sad, stressed, scared and bored to the extent you just feel like sitting on the sofa or lying on the bed without moving, eating unbalanced meals and snacking all day as a way to entertain yourself. But you have to make sure you eat well and get as much fresh food as you can and avoid processed foods,” Dr. Griebeler recommends.
“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits”. Thomas Jefferson
Consuming the best foods for your body can prolong your life and make you feel better. As our “busy lives” have moved into slow motion, surely there is now time to adopt at least a few of these healthy eating behaviors and eat healthy.
Use this opportunity you have while staying at home to search for new, creative recipes as a way of keeping your meals healthy. Many healthy and delicious recipes can be found online. Take advantage of the wealth of freely available information, and experiment with the ingredients you can access,
2. Exercising Enough
One new habit you can create instead of eating is exercise. Even during times of self-isolation and quarantine, it’s still okay to exercise at home. I understand it can be boring staying at home all day, but you need to make this period in time memorable by keeping your shape and health fit. Taking time out to exercise will help you in many ways because exercise releases chemicals in the body that make us feel good, and it also helps you to have better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved memory and cognition.
“Even when all is known, the care of a man is not yet complete, because eating alone will not keep a man well; he must also take exercise. For food and exercise, while possessing opposite qualities, yet work together to produce health.” Hippocrates
Physical activity benefits both the body and mind. Healthy adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity and at least 1 hour for healthy kids. You can even break that up into 10 minute sections — 10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening. When you’ve established that as a daily routine, then your day will be better structured. Suzie Bleasdale, who’s been a nurse for over 30 years, advises that moderate stretching or yoga style movement will help avoid stiff joints and maintain good blood circulation.
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” – Oprah Winfrey
While the gym and group classes are out, you can still cycle, hike, or walk. Or if you’re stuck at home, look online for exercise videos you can follow. There are many things you can do even without equipment, such as yoga and exercises that use your own bodyweight. You might not feel like exercising, but give it a try
3. GET ENOUGH QUALITY SLEEP
Just like eating, working and exercising, it’s important to sustain a regular sleep routine. A lack of quality sleep can negatively affect both our physical and mental health as well as reduce our immune system’s ability to fight off infections. That is why we need enough sleep for our bodies to repair cells, clear toxins, consolidate our memories and process information.
There’s a good evidence that sleep deprivation can have major impacts on our health — negatively affecting our psychological well being concentration and even our emotional intelligence. Trust me there are times you can’t figure out things the way you ought to or reason well. And that is because you need enough sleep to keep your mind settled and to be able to function well.
“The minute anyone’s getting anxious I say, ‘You must eat and you must sleep.’ They’re the two vital elements for a healthy life.” — Francesca Annis
You have to understand that sleep plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system, metabolism and even our learning. It is one process which helps us stock up on energy for the coming day. Getting a good 8-hour sleep is a must to keep both our mind and body health.
The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.
~ E. Joseph Cossman.
If you’re finding it difficult to sleep because you’re lying awake worrying, try to limit your consumption of the news before bed. It can also be helpful to reduce your exposure to screens in the evening, as the effect of the blue light on our retinas can disrupt our sleep quality.
We all know that sleep improves our mood and health. Try to go to bed and get up around the same time each day. Learn to fall asleep quicker, don’t use your phone or watch TV in bed. If something is on your mind and it’s keeping you from falling asleep, try writing it down or better still talk to someone about it. By doing so, you will feel relief and sleep well.
4. Distance physically, but not socially
Social distance does not mean no social contact. Now more than ever, we need our friends and family. Evidence shows that social connectedness is as important for our health as diet, movement and sleep. You’re probably not the only person feeling worried, bored or frustrated.
this is a good time for a catch up, so don’t be afraid to make the first move and reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. They’ll probably be very grateful to hear from you. Send them a message, or give them a call and let them know you care.
“Going nowhere … isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.” – Pico Iyer
Just because you’re self-isolating, doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off altogether. We’ve been asked to practice social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Yes: but social distancing does not mean that you need to break off all your social contacts – just that you need to distance from other people physically. If you feel that you’re beginning to struggle or are bored at home, take some time to call a friend or family member and talk to them about your feelings.
“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.” – Gina Bellman
It’s crucial for your mental health to stay connected with the people in your life. Phone calls are amazing, and are a great way to stay connected. But video calls make it lively. It can lift your mood and make you feel less lonely. There are many apps for free video calls, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Make use of these mediums and keep yourself happy and healthy.
You have to understand that making an extra effort during this difficult time will not only keep everyone connected, but will help you not to feel as if you’re losing touch with the outside world. Talking to others also helps to maintain cognition and prevent depression on both parties.
5. CULTIVATE THE HABIT OF READING BOOKS
You should have a few set times every day when you’ll read for at least 5-10 minutes. Getting away from screens and reading a book can help you escape from being bored at home. Why not re-read one of your favorites, or get your friend to recommend one? It might be difficult to get a new book, but you can access lots of books on different google websites to keep you going.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin.
We only live one life, but through reading books, we can gain the wisdom from thousands. When an author writes, re-writes, and edits, they are turning their words into a more perfect version of themselves. When you read, you get to spend time in a meditative state with a wise person’s more perfect self.
Even if you don’t have such grand ambitions of reading books, you should make it a habit because fear and discouragement is not a sign of greatness. You should today understand that reading books will go a long way to reduce stress, boost brain functioning and even improve empathy.
The end goal during self-isolation is to prevent long term physical and mental health damage by sitting less, moving as often as possible, and aiming to maintain fitness by huffing and puffing a few times a day and why not eating healthily. Stay at home, stay safe and avoid social distance. If you find this article helpful or not kindly leave us a message in the comment box below.