Dealing With Feelings of Isolation During Quarantine
Many of us have found ourselves in a very isolated situation during the coronavirus pandemic. It may be by choice that you are leaving your house very infrequently in an attempt to be safer because you are in one of the high-risk health categories. It may be that your job has decided to have employees work from home. Or you may have been exposed to the coronavirus and been in self-isolation as a result.
Whatever the circumstances are behind your isolation, you may find that you are not prepared to deal with the feelings of loneliness that can come with the new situation. Most of us are used to getting out daily for work and other obligations. Even those who are retired are running errands and attending social events with friends.
For all of that to stop so suddenly can be a bit of a shock to the system.
Under normal conditions, less social interaction and being stuck indoors more often can lead to increased feelings of stress. These, of course, are not normal conditions. Add in the underlying worry about catching the virus and possibly an increased financial strain depending on how your employment situation has been impacted, and all of this stress can increase the likelihood of experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression.
That’s why it is important to be proactive in taking care of your mental health during times like this.
What can you do?
Social distancing refers to avoiding large gatherings of people and maintaining a safe distance from one another when out in public. Part of social distancing is also only leaving the house for essentials. It can feel like a very lonely way to live.
One of the main things you can do to help cope with feelings of loneliness is to stay in contact with friends and family. Social distancing does not mean no socializing. You can do this online, with a phone call, or even a simple text message. Today with video chat and Zoom taking the world by storm, it’s easier than ever to connect with those you care about.
You don’t have to just chat either. There are more options than ever for enjoying a game online with friends and family. Anything from chess to the classic Monopoly is at your disposal. Combine that with a video chat with everyone playing for an evening of fun and catching up.
You can also schedule calls to add some structure to your social time. It will give you something fun to look forward to at the end of your day or week. Maybe grab some friends and have a standing virtual happy hour every Friday at 5:30. There could be Saturday night trivia or even karaoke.
Online dating apps are as busy as ever. Many people are taking advantage of the extra time they have at home to make new connections. As long as you are not planning to meet up until it is safer to do so, it can be a great way to connect with someone and not feel so lonely.
If you do end up meeting with someone you start chatting with during this time, the excitement level for that first date might be even higher after all the build-up.
Things to do by yourself
Remaining social is an important part of staying mentally healthy and the best way to fight feelings of loneliness, but there are things you can also do on your own that can be beneficial for your mental health.
Exercising and physical activity are always good for both our physical and mental well-being.
Go outside for a walk each day. Even just 10-15 minutes out of the house and in the sun can do wonders for your mind and body.
You can take the extra time at home to start working out. You will find plenty of free workouts on YouTube or you can take it up a notch and look at services like BeachBody, which offers access to popular home workouts such as P90X and Insanity for a low monthly fee.
Exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body. Many people are taking the time to learn a new skill through online courses during the pandemic. Quite a few colleges and universities are offering some of their classes for free right now.
You can also find plenty of tutorials online for everything from learning computer programming to learning how to build a new wooden coffee table.
You can also stretch your mind creatively through outlets such as drawing, coloring, painting, and music.
When to seek the help of a professional
There is no denying that we are living in an unprecedented and stressful time. We are being hit with news and information about the coronavirus on social media and television almost nonstop. For many of us, anxiety is at an all-time high.
If you find that your normal coping mechanisms do not seem to be enough and you are turning to alcohol or drugs, if you are having difficulty sleeping because of the stress you feel, or if you are frequently experiencing depressed moods, it is time to reach out for help.
You can call us or visit our contact page to set up an appointment with one of our counselors. We see clients both online and in person.