How to maintain mental health during seclusion
Preservation of the site mental health in isolation can be a challenge. Psychiatrists and other experts have warned of the psychological consequences of midlife, especially for those already suffering from psychiatric problems.
In addition to confinement, physical distance from loved ones, loss of freedom, uncertainty about the future, and monotony can lead to borderline situations, such as suicide or violence (against self or others). So understand what you can and should do to maintain your mental health in isolation.
Mental health in isolation: a critical asset
Among the various challenges posed by the new coronavirus is the uncertainty about everything, especially the future. This circumstance creates instability, confusion, worry and sadness in everyone, especially in those with a more anxious profile.
This is why it is natural that, in this context, some depressive states can worsen.
Therefore, whether or not you have a psychiatric disorder, there are steps you should take to maintain your sanity in isolation.
Tips for caring for mental health in isolation
1. Accept your feelings and emotions
As we have already said, in this situation it is natural to feel depressed, nervous, confused, anxious, scared or even angry, among other negative feelings. Instead of repressing these emotions, it is important to talk about them and verbalize them. This will help you get your feelings out and reassure you.
2. Don’t give in to loneliness
Being in isolation doesn’t mean you can’t connect with friends and family in ways other than face-to-face. Use social media and phone or video calls to keep talking and seeing the people you care about most.
3. Take care of yourself
Eating well, sleeping and exercising are three essential steps that contribute greatly to your physical and mental well-being. You should avoid smoking or drinking alcohol as this will not help you overcome the negative feelings caused by this isolation.
4. Moderate your consumption of information
You should limit the amount of time you spend listening to news, especially news about the new coronavirus. Also, remember to filter the information you consume and focus on news that uses official sources such as the World Health Organization, the National Health Service, or the Health Department.
5. Plan activities that are stimulating and enjoyable
If you have free time, take advantage of it to do the things you enjoy the most and for which you usually do not have time. Reading, watching movies, dancing, painting, writing… are just a few of the tasks that can productively occupy your day and, also, your mind.
6. Have routines
Create a schedule, as if you were working. Set times for getting up and going to bed. Eat breakfast and dinner at appropriate times. This will help you keep your mind disciplined and your biological rhythm.
7. Try to have a positive attitude
This may be one of the hardest things to do, but it is very important. Trust the official agencies and the recommendations they give you.
Go back in time and remember difficult times that you also managed to overcome. Use techniques that will help you gain confidence and motivation. This is essential!
8. Pay attention to children and the elderly
Isolation is even more difficult for the young and elderly, so be especially vigilant with these age groups. Keep children active and stimulated with age-appropriate physical and educational activities.
As for the elderly, keep in touch and encourage them to perform tasks that benefit their bodies and minds.
9. Ask for help if you need it
Asking for help is never a reason to be ashamed, let alone a sign of weakness. Therefore, if you feel that you are not able to manage your feelings and emotions, or to cope with this isolation, contact a qualified health care professional for help. Many psychologists and psychiatrists are available through online video consultation.
10. Become aware of your body
More than ever, it is important to be vigilant about your health. Therefore, if you detect any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, stay calm, isolate yourself and immediately contact the 24-hour health line (808 24 24 24).
People with certain psychiatric disorders need to be especially careful during this time and stay in close contact with their doctor, as it may be necessary to adjust their treatment, for example.
There are also certain medical conditions that may worsen in this isolated, pandemic setting:
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
According to experts, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder are particularly vulnerable in this setting.
At the time when enhanced hygiene measures are needed, many OCD patients may begin to develop new obsessions or worsen existing ones, particularly because 25% of OCD patients already have an obsession with cleanliness and hygiene, constantly washing their hands for fear of contamination.
All of these circumstances can intensify these obsessive behaviors, so it is very important that these individuals stay in touch with their physicians.
On the one hand, isolation and, on the other hand, the fear of contagion by the new coronavirus can potentiate the occurrence of panic attacks, making them increasingly frequent, even in people who have never had them.
The excess anxiety and fear generated by the pandemic “sets the stage” for these reactions, which, if not immediately reported and monitored by a physician, can evolve and continue to occur even after the pandemic is under control.
At a time when the physical health of each of us is the order of the day, it is important not to forget about emotions and feelings.
Preserving mental health in isolation is difficult, but possible. It requires discipline and an understanding that having a healthy routine is as important for the brain as washing your hands to avoid contamination by the new coronavirus.
At this point, more than ever, it’s imperative that we take care of ourselves and ours, following the maxim “a healthy body in a healthy mind.” So, if you feel like you’re not making it, turn to the many health professionals who, through video consultations, are available to help you.