Lets see How To Cope With Quarantine? Social distancing, quarantine, isolation, confinement, state of alarm or pandemic were unusual words until the COVID-19 appeared in our lives.
And all of them entail a type of restriction to which we are little or not at all used to. It not only affects our habits and customs, but also our psychological health.
It may sound surreal, or it may sound like a science fiction movie. But, for science this extraordinary situation represents the greatest social experiment ever carried out.
The fact that millions of people globally find themselves isolated in their homes in a more connected world than ever before is an unprecedented circumstance. Which makes us face the loss of our daily routines and activities.
All this accompanied by confusion, fear of contagion, uncertainty, economic instability and inaccurate information circulating on the web. It makes our emotional state inevitably altered.
There is a big difference between voluntary withdrawal and imposed solitude. Although they apparently involve the same behaviors, our brain reacts very differently.
There are numerous studies that have evaluated the psychological consequences in this type of situation.
The Department of Psychological Medicine at King’s College in London has just published a compilation of 24 studies on the psychological impact of quarantine. It reviews the main effects of isolation on our emotional well-being.
- Sudden mood swings.
And people who continue to work during this type of situation:
- Detachment from others.
- Poor concentration and indecision.
- Deterioration of work performance.
- Reluctance to work or consideration of resignation.
What does the numbers says?
A study of 1,057 people who were quarantined due to a possible spread of SARS, a viral respiratory disease that was identified as a global threat in March 2003.
It showed that 54% of them avoided people who coughed or sneezed. 26% did so in enclosed spaces. And 21% avoided all public spaces, in the weeks following the quarantine period.
In addition, they found that several participants also described long-term behavior changes after isolation. Such as constant hand washing and refusal to stay in crowded places. For some, even a return to normalcy was delayed for several months. The big question is, what do we face now?
Human beings need to remain physically and emotionally connected to each other, and even more so in difficult times. Supporting, caring, embracing and comforting each other to cope with adversity comforts us and relieves the discomfort.
Something we cannot do freely at this time in the face of the imposition of being confined to our homes. And for an uncertain period of time.
Psychological distress is difficult to manage if we don’t have adequate resources. And we’re not just talking about having a closet full of toilet paper or a fridge full of food supplies.
Material resources are essential for our survival, and securing them is our first instinctive reaction to a state of alarm. But social and emotional contact, together with limited movement, is what will be most complicated for us in these moments of unrest and uncertainty.
It is time to learn how to develop new strategies that will help us counteract these possible negative effects and encourage us to overcome the popular #StayHome.
To achieve this we propose a series of tips and measures that will facilitate this adaptation in a more positive way:
How To Cope With Quarantine?
1. Keep Social Contact
Physical isolation can make us feel anxious, worried or depressed, so it will be especially beneficial to keep in touch with our family or friends, not only to support each other, but also to share experiences and feelings to help us deal with day-to-day life, even if it can only be ‘telematics’.
Fortunately, we have a multitude of communication channels to establish this connection: messages, chats, emails, video calls, social networks, etc. So it is not surprising that in the next few days we will notice a significant increase in the number of posts, tweets, photos or stories related to the expression of feelings, ideas or opinions.
It’s natural that we need to establish that link with others. Think that there are people who are going through this episode in total loneliness, or in unfortunate conditions, and who only have that way to feel some kind of social support.
2. Organize Your Day
Certainly confinement forces us to completely change our usual activity, and that will make us feel strange, confused or a little lost.
But as the days go by it will be more than advisable to structure new routines to ‘normalize’ the situation and make coexistence more bearable, such as setting meal times, planning activities, establishing small objectives, etc.
It is also a perfect time to include in that planning the activities for which we never have time: tidying cupboards, organizing papers, writing, planning a project, reorganizing the house, listening to music, sleeping, meditating, cooking, and even learning or perfecting some skill through video tutorials or online courses.
It is important to incorporate tasks that keep us busy and motivated, as this gives us a sense of order, normality and serenity, both on a mental and emotional level.
3. Physical And Mental Activity
Staying at home does not mean leaving aside our physical care, in fact, it is advisable to take advantage of this time to strengthen our immune system by eating a healthy diet and doing some type of exercise, either stretching or an activity table, for which you can make use of the internet or applications, which offer a wide variety of video classes and training to follow easily from home.
Without forgetting, also, to maintain a healthy mental activity, avoiding the informative overload and the saturation of negative news that keep us in a kind of loop during hours, pending of the television or the mobile phone.
Being informed is necessary, but it is also necessary to disconnect to listen to our favorite songs, get hooked on a good movie or series, paint, do crafts, play, practice mindfulness, watch a monologue or any other activity that provides us with well-being.
Maintaining a positive mood and sense of humor is essential. This releases endorphins and reduces tension.
The most important thing in a situation like the one we are living is to be aware that we are taking care of our precious health, which is something temporary and which is an experience from which we will extract a learning that, at least, will transform a small part of our way of perceiving reality or will provide us with a new vision.
In conclusion, in a way, today we are all astronauts confined to our spaceship, or lonely sailors on an intrepid voyage. Let’s transition this journey together, strong and brave. After the storm always comes the calm.