A weekend at home can be refreshing. Taking some time out to relax in front of the TV or get some laundry done can be incredibly therapeutic. Although, after a few weeks of staying home, isolation begins to take its toll on the best of us. With no end in sight, the anxiety can start creeping in. To help you stay ahead of it, we’ve pulled together a list of useful tips on how to stay mentally fit in isolation.
Ten Tips to Stay Mentally Fit During Social Isolation
1. Stick to a routine
Change is a big part of what makes us feel anxious and stressed, so make an effort to minimise the impact of staying home all the time by sticking to your usual routine where possible. You may not be able to actually go to work, but you can get dressed, brush your teeth, have breakfast and do most of the other things that tell your brain that it’s time to start the day. You can even go so far as to sit quietly and listen to the podcast or radio for half an hour as you would on the way to work. During the week, make an effort to get up in the morning and go to bed at the same time every day, as you normally would.
2. Try not to snack more than usual
When you’re at home all day, it’s too easy to pop to the kitchen and back for a biscuit here and there, or maybe a sandwich. There’s a big chance that the monotony of isolation will trick you into thinking you’re hungry. However, eating too much can affect both your productivity and your physical health. Carrying a water bottle around the house with you can help to stave off boredom masquerading as hunger. Try to restrict your snacks where possible and eat proper meals three times a day.
3. Limit your alcohol consumption
As much as we know you don’t want to hear it, alcohol can have a big effect on your mental health. It might seem tempting to have a few glasses of wine while you’re working from home, away from the judgemental eyes of co-workers, or start your afternoon drinks a few hours earlier than you normally would, but the fact is it’s just not good for you. Regular alcohol consumption, even at low to moderate levels, has been linked to all kinds of physical and mental health issues. Try to maintain a few alcohol-free days throughout the week.
4. Stay active
Despite the many restrictions on leaving the house these days, you’re still allowed outside, and exercise works wonders when it comes to anxiety. Staying at home could make you feel trapped, so try to leave its confines at least once a day, even if it’s just to walk around the block. Even better would be to jog around the neighbourhood or to the local park, as keeping up with physical exercise is extremely important while in isolation. Don’t want to leave the house entirely? That’s fine, too. Do some squats in the garden or on the balcony, just make sure you get moving and get outside.
5. Make sure to get enough sleep
Sleep couldn’t be more critical to our health, as it’s during these precious hours that our body works to repair cells and support healthy brain function. Moreover, lack of sleep impairs our immune system, and even a couple of hours can make all the difference. Specifically, experts claim that individuals are four times more likely to contract a virus after five or six hours of sleep compared to seven. Anxiety can make it harder to get to sleep but exercising for at least 20 minutes earlier in the day and limiting the use of electronics in the evening should help you wind down.
6. Restrict your news intake
Out of sight, out of mind. While it’s important to keep informed while in isolation, particularly about any new restrictions that may impact you, try to limit the amount of time you spend scrolling through news sites. There’s not much positive news around at the moment, and constantly reading about something stress and fear-inducing, like the pandemic, is unhelpful. Where possible, check news updates only once or twice per day.
7. Spend quality time with people
Despite being continually under the same roof, it’s surprisingly easy to forget to actually spend time with your partner, children or housemates. As the people physically closest to you, the people you live with are best placed to support your mental health, and vice versa. Try to proactively carve out some time to eat dinner together or play a board game; connecting with other people is good for you. If you live alone, make an effort to call a friend or family member at least once per day. This way, you might find your relationships become even more meaningful during isolation.
8. Write a bucket list
The worst thing you could do while isolating is become a couch potato, so write yourself a list of things you want to accomplish over the next few months. Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn, or something you’ve been meaning to get around to doing, but haven’t had the time? Well, you have it now, so why not make the most of it? Write a list of everything you can think of and work your way through it slowly, from mundane things like cleaning out the pantry to something more exciting like starting a blog or trying out that new recipe you saw in a magazine.
9. Take time to reflect
Feeling anxious during isolation is normal, and it’s important to acknowledge the feeling. While it seems easy to lose yourself in a TV show or good book, those things are only temporary distractions, and if not dealt with, feelings of anxiety will return in full force later on. Instead of trying to submerge them, take the time to think about your feelings and accept them. Remember that this situation is for now, not forever, and that you’re not the only one feeling this way. When you’ve done that, try thinking about things that you’re grateful for. If you find simply sitting quietly to think a bit awkward, try keeping a daily journal or even meditating.
10. Make isolation your purpose
Right now, it might feel like a lot of things are out of your control. So, try to focus on something you can control, like staying home and make this your purpose. Remember that by staying home, you’re protecting yourself, your family and your community. You’re doing something meaningful.
Seeking Professional Help
If you find that your anxiety persists, try speaking to a professional. At Life Resolutions, our team of psychologists can help you to understand your anxiety and learn effective ways to minimise or eliminate it. We’ve recently launched a full telehealth service to our clients, meaning that you’ll be able to access our wide range of therapy services from the safety of your own home. Find out more.
Contact Mary Magalotti and Jodie Brenton Life Resolutions Today
Our CEO and Founder, Jodie Brenton and our Principal Psychologist, Mary Magalotti, are both dedicated to providing the best mental health services to our valued Life Resolutions clients. So, if you have any question on our services, would like to book a session or are interested to hear more about the journeys of Jodie Brenton and Mary Magalotti Life Resolutions in their careers, do not hesitate to contact the team here. Otherwise, please visit the Life Resolutions website to discover more.