Wellness, Covid-19

How to Look After Your Mental Health During Self-Isolation

Mental health has been a hot topic in recent times (finally), and we need to be grateful for that. Because in 2020, those suffering from mental health problems need more help and advice than ever: in the wake of the coronavirus, a huge percentage of the world has suddenly been thrust into quarantine, and ‘self-isolation’ made its way into our everyday lexicon.

If you are deeply worried about how self-isolation is going to take its toll on your mental health, grab yourself a beverage and join us, for today we take a look at a few things you can do to make the whole quarantine situation easier on you.⁠

Create a routine

I’ve watched a few interviews with psychologists talking about mental health during isolation recently, and one of the things that always comes up is the need to create a routine.

Why is routine so important now more than ever? Because it puts you in control. It anchors you, keeps you organized, and gives your day a direction. All of this is super important right now.

Here’s an article that can help you create a daily routine.

Practice mindfulness

Why should you practice mindfulness? Because mindfulness means living in the present moment. It means taking in everything that’s going on around you right now, rather than fearing what’s to come, or predicting the future.

It means focusing on your breathing; on the smells, the sights and glorious sounds around you.

Mindfulness frees your mind of worry and brings you back to all that matters — the present moment.

Because let’s face it, one of the things that causes mental ill health is worrying about the future and things we can’t control. That means imagining the things this coronavirus could do or what bad things might happen to us during isolation.

Here’s an epic guide that will help you practice mindfulness during isolation.

Don’t beat yourself up

From what I’ve seen, there are 3 different types of people out there at the moment:

  • Those who say now is the time to ‘rise up’ and be productive (write that novel!)
  • Those who are sharing memes, playing video games and lazying about
  • Those who are still preoccupied with what will happen to their job/the economy

Whilst it’s excellent if you are productive during self isolation, there’s no need to beat yourself up if you aren’t. Putting pressure on yourself to make the most of your time can make matters worse.

As this article shows, it’s okay to be productive and work from home — but doing so under the looming threat of a killer virus isn’t necessarily the best time. It can create a viscous cycle where we worry so much about the virus that we don’t complete the tasks we’d set ourselves. Then, we get even more downbeat because we feel like we’ve failed.

So, hey, don’t be too hard on yourself. Even if others are using this time to complete the Great American Novel, it’s perfectly cool if you just chill.

Quit reading the news

For many of us, the news has become compulsive viewing. Myself, I wasn’t able to switch it off during the first 2 weeks of this pandemic. I think there was one day where I watched 12 hours of news, no kidding!

But it’s not good for us. Right now, the news is alarmist. Whether what’s being reported or not is factual, it’s scaring us all and making our fear more damaging to our mental health than the threat of the virus itself.

It’s the same with checking the daily death rates. What good will it do us? It will just make us feel worse.

Try to go on a ‘news diet’ and strictly limit your daily news intake. You might as well ignore social media for a few days if you can, too. Instead, put some movies on or watch anything that you know makes you feel better.

And if you "need" to read the news …

First, don’t Google “coronavirus.” Instead, go directly to reputable news sources, such as WHO, BBC, and the NHS.

If you Google, you’ll immediately be met by a succession of startling headlines pumped out by the media.

Pro tip: avoid Twitter, too. Twitter is the perfect breeding ground for scaremongering.

Make affirmations

I recently saw this quote on social media:

“The comeback is always greater than the setback.”

I’ve seen it before, but it doesn’t harm to be reminded of it, especially during these times.

According to Facebook, meanwhile, I shared the following quote exactly a year ago:

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

Making positive affirmations can do wonders for your mind and soul at a time like this. Dig them out on Google. Read them each day. Absorb their power.

Treat yo self

Apart from indulging in skincare and binge-watching TV shows, do take care of your body on a basic level: sunshine and good food.

You might not be able to leave the house much at the moment, but you can still venture into your back garden. When the sun comes out, make sure to absorb those life-enriching vitamins.

Take a cup of tea with you: myself, I’ve just ordered a batch of herbal tea's because research has shown that herbal teas are great for our mental well-being.

Cover all the essentials

The last thing you want to worry about are essentials, such as food, money, work, and medication.

Write a list of all the super important things (such as those I’ve just mentioned) and create a strategy so that you’re able to keep on top of all of them.

Losing track of your budget or your groceries during isolation can create mental health problems. Stay on top of it all by planning ahead.

Final thoughts

Hey, isolation won’t last forever and when it’s over, we’ll have the best party ever.

Use these tips to get through this in the meantime. And if you’ve got any tips of your own? Feel free to leave a comment below!


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About Will Titterington

Will is a writer who's always looking for ways to live more sustainably. He’d probably like to build his own house one day but one step at a time — he’s only just learned how to change a lightbulb.