How to Stay Sane During Isolation / Lockdown
The current global pandemic of Covid-19 is causing full countries to shut down, and governments have been forced to take a strong stance in order to save lives.
While this is a completely logical response to the virus at the moment, it is also causing a lot of disruption to our regular routines and lives. Due to this disruption, alongside any additional anxieties and uncertainty, the whole world is potentially facing some form of mental health struggle, even if they didn't previously.
This hub provides some nice, simple steps that you can take to try to reduce the negative impact of any isolation / lockdown on your mental health.
Remember- small steps will still climb the mountain.
Are you struggling with your mental health?
1- Stick to A Routine
Get up at the same time you usually would for work/ school/ uni.
Eat at regular times. Maintain your body clock.
If you are working from home, remember to take regular breaks and to take a lunch! Doing this at the same time each day will also help to break up the day, as you would in the office.
This is essential to ensure that you have an expectation for each day, but it will also help you to readjust when you come out of isolation.
An example of a routine could be as simple as:
8.30am- Wake up/ breakfast
9.00am- Activity/ work from home
1.00pm- Activity/ work from home
6.00pm- Clean up
7.00pm- Read/ TV/ Relax
2- Have 3 Meals A Day
It may be tempting to miss some meals out because you’re not as hungry or you lose track of the time. You may be fearful that you will put on weight due to a lack of exercise, but it is important to stay nourished both physically and mentally.
3- Take Some Exercise
If possible, take a walk while maintaining social distancing (ie stay away from everyone) or, run round the garden a few times if you have space.
If this isn’t possible, look online for some exercise videos- yoga and aerobics are fairly easy to achieve with just a bit of floor space.
Exercise is important because it releases endorphins, or "Happy Hormones" in the brain. It will also help you to stay in shape and will ensure that you are not completely unfit after your weeks of a sedentary lifestyle.
4- Get Some Fresh Air
Open the curtains/ blinds. Open the windows wide. Get a bit of breeze around you.
See the sky, hear the birds all from the comfort and safety of your home.
Being able to interact with the outside world, even if it is fleeting will remind you that there is life outside of your four walls.
It will also help to freshen the room, especially if you haven't moved from the one spot in a few days!
5- Stay Busy
"Idle hands make fretful minds" - I have found this to be so true. When we are not actively doing something, we can get so easily lost in thought. And for many of us, that is not the best place to be. So, stay busy!
Try to find activities that you can do to stay busy. If you can add a little productivity or creativity into your day, even better.
You will feel more accomplished if you can see some results of your time at home. See my hub on activities to keep yourself busy while in isolation for more ideas.
6- Stay in Contact With People
This is imperative. To save yourself from feeling lonely in isolation, you need to stay in touch with family and friends.
Even if you have never called them before, pick up the phone. Don’t just text or message each other- hearing their voice will instantly make you feel a little less lonely.
If you have access to technology where you can have a video call, even better. Seeing someone else's face will definitely help you to feel better, and will remind those around you that you are still with them, even when you are not.
Similarly, try to make an effort to reach out to those who you feel may be particularly vulnerable to loneliness, i.e those without the internet- they will value a phone-call or even a letter most of all.
7- Keep Things Tidy
Even if there is no risk of friends and family coming to the door, and you’re normally a bit messy- try to keep the house in order. A tidy home makes for a tidy mind.
It also means that once the isolation period is over, you won’t need to waste more of your freedom with cleaning before visitors arrive
8- Listen to Music
Listen to your favourite tunes. Take some time to discover some new favourites. Music can lift your mood, and can transport our minds to other places and to memories long ago.
Dance like no one is watching… because no one is. Not only will it boost your mood, it will also add to your daily exercise. Extra boost there!
9- Practice Mindfulness or Meditation
Try to relax your mind. Concentrate on your breathing. Listen to the silence around you. Ground yourself. Repeat affirmations daily and remind yourself that this is temporary, and that you are a strong person who will get through it.
It is too easy to get wrapped up in amongst everything that is happening outside, as there are so many variables that you can’t control.
But you can try to control your reaction to them. An you can control your space. Focus on the things that you can control in order to learn to accept the things that you can't.
Try to keep your stress levels low and take each day as it comes.
10- Ask For Help
If you are struggling with your mental health, you can still reach out and get support even when in a Lockdown situation.
There are online resources for CBT and there are various support groups for all manner of disorders.
Look online at mentalhealth.org, SAMH, Mind, and the Samaritans websites to give you an idea of how to seek digital help.
If your GP practice is still open, you can call them for a phone appointment or alternative where they will be able to put you in touch with local mental health support services. If they are not available, you can contact NHS 111 (in the UK) to discuss non urgent matters such as medication or worsening symptoms.
If you are having a crisis, you can contact emergency services to access a member of the mental health crisis team.
It can be really easy to withdraw into yourself during times of isolation, but you need to be more aware than ever and check yourself if things are getting too hard to handle.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Lynsey Hart