People across the world are being made to stay in their homes indefinitely due to government lockdowns that aim to restrict the spread of coronavirus. While this might be a good idea with regard to limiting the number of infected people, authorities seem to be overlooking the mental and psychological aspect of a lockdown — how will people cope with isolating themselves when a deadly virus is running loose? According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first wave of the viral outbreak has already triggered a mental health crisis in China and other countries.
“Fear caused by the new germ’s deadliness, a strict quarantine, mistrust of officials who mishandled the outbreak and a wave of social media misinformation all took their toll on mental health… while depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder all emerged,” according to The Telegraph. If you are in a country currently under lockdown, here are five tips to maintain your mental health.
1. Schedule activities
Don’t sit idle or sleep all day long. When you are inactive, your mind will feed on your fears and anxieties, conjuring up extreme scenarios of how the viral spread might turn out. Watch some movies or TV shows, listen to music, play some games, cook the food you have always wanted but never had time for, clean up your home, or do some gardening. Just make sure that your mind is always engrossed in some activity.
2. Maintain relationships
The biggest mistake you can make during a lockdown is to isolate yourself completely from your family and friends. “If you tend to withdraw when depressed or anxious, think about scheduling regular phone, chat, or Skype dates to counteract that tendency. While in-person visits are limited, substitute video chatting if you’re able. Face-to-face contact is like a ‘vitamin’ for your mental health, reducing your risk of depression and helping ease stress and anxiety,” according to Help Guide.
If you have been working out at a gym, you might now have to avoid the place. However, do not let a lockdown prevent you from getting exercise. Be creative and try to recreate your gym workout at home. For instance, you may have been doing 50 pull-ups every day on the pull-up bar in the gym. Since you are restricted to your home, find a spot where you can hold on to do your pull-ups. Alternatively, check online for workouts you can do that don’t require any special equipment. Working out will keep you fit and boost your mood since you will feel healthy.
4. Manage information
There are numerous websites disseminating news about the CCP coronavirus outbreak. Continually seeking out such information is not good for your psyche as you might end up feeling overwhelmed. “Decide on a specific time to check in with the news… There is a lot of misinformation swirling around — stay informed by sticking to trusted sources of information such as government,” according to the BBC.
5. Talk with children
If you have children in your home, don’t hesitate to inform them why they are being isolated. Some parents make the mistake of not educating their kids about the virus thinking that it might scare the children. While the concern might be genuine, keeping your kids in the dark about the virus only does harm. What if the child momentarily goes outside and touches someone while you are taking an afternoon nap? If you warn them against such things, pointing out to them how such a touch can end up making them sick, they are less likely to do it. Forcing them to remain at home without giving them an explanation will only stress them out.