With the entire country on orders to stay at home amid the current pandemic, experts are warning of a brewing mental health crisis. Isolation and mental health have long been strongly linked. In a recent survey by Benenson Strategy Group, 55 percent of those interviewed said their mental health had been affected by the current virus, while 71 percent worried that the isolation would harm their mental health. While everyone is worried about coping during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is also more important than ever that everyone takes steps to promote good mental health and combat the downsides of isolation.
Make Use of Technological Help To Continue Communication And Community
While you may be apart from your loved ones, friends and the regular life routine you were accustomed to, you can still connect with them with the help of technology. Advancements in the technology industry have meant that a staggering percentage now own smartphones, including a rising number of senior consumers. In 2010, only one in five Americans made video calls. Fast forward to a decade later, and video calls have increased by 175 percent in three years.
Take advantage of the benefits that it provides, and keep in contact with your normal circle of friends. A great idea is to schedule virtual hangouts with the help of video conferencing. You may be apart, but you can still see and speak to each other. For you, it lessens the feeling of loneliness and detachment that is so commonly felt when isolated.
Keep Up Your Routine As Much As Possible
According to Blurt It Out, creating and sticking to a routine can help you cope with change, promote healthy habits and combat heightened stress levels. With the uncertainty that surrounds isolation circumstances, having a set plan for the day ahead can help you feel in control. It also helps you to consciously plan better-coping mechanisms or hobbies that promote good mental health, such as daily exercise. This reduces the chance of you falling into unhealthy patterns, such as mindless eating, gambling or hypersomnia.
While your routine won’t be exactly the same during isolation, aim to keep it as similar as possible. This means establishing a set bedtime, morning alarms, and certain non-negotiable habits during the day, such as getting showered and dressed every day by 9am. If you do happen to be working from home, these habits also mirror your typical workday – minus the commute.
Find Ways To Deal With Negative ‘What If?’s
Worry and uncertainty can fuel anxiety, and in some cases, depression. Learning to tune out negative thoughts helps you focus on the positives and keep your mental health in a good place. Start with setting active boundaries, such as not tuning into the news or trigger places like social media for more than 30 minutes a day. While it is natural to have both positive and negative thoughts while in isolation, you need to find ways to get yourself out of that ‘what if?’ loop.
For some, it may help to record their thoughts, while for others, taking action makes them feel better. For instance, veterans worried about the financial impact of poor mental health and the level of disability they qualify for can head online to or speak to an advisor about their options for support, including the criteria for full ex-military impairment compensation. While the VA Code Of Regulations lists the conditions that qualify for 100 percent disability, you can also qualify using either the Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability or Temporary Total Disability Due to Hospitalizations route. Once you are armed with the right information, whatever your situation, you can answer those nagging questions.
Concentrate On Self Care And Stress Prevention In Your Daily Routine
Prioritizing self-care is crucial in times of isolation, when your mental health may be more fragile than normal. Making time to focus on things you enjoy can help to take your mind off unpleasant thoughts, help you feel productive, and keep your mind active. Self-care when managing your mental health can be completely aligned with your interests, as well. It may be that you enjoy meditation and yoga, or alternatively, find release by getting lost in a good book of your favorite genre or cooking a new recipe. Whatever it is that brings you peace and calmness, make an extra effort to include it in your daily life.
Mental health is an important part of our overall well-being. While isolation can impact our mental health, there are safeguards and habits we can actively practice to ensure we do not get sucked into the negative consequences isolation can bring. Even if you do, they give you a better chance of finding your way again