How To NOT Feel Isolated While in Self Isolation

Self isolation is the recommended course of action for many during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Those who have recently traveled, have come in contact with someone with COVID-19, or who are sick are putting themselves into self isolation.  This basically means to quarantine yourself within your home for two weeks.  And further more, social distancing has us all keeping away from friends and public places.  With all of this isolation and anxiety, how does a person avoid actually feeling isolated?  For moms with mental health issues, isolation can actually make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse, so it’s important to have some ways to manage the loneliness. 

During self isolation, try some of these tips to avoid feeling lonely.
How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation

Most people, especially moms, will not actually be alone during their self isolation or social distancing.  Spouses and children will likely be in isolation with them.  It’s hard to say whether this makes it better or worse for a woman with postpartum depression or anxiety.  Having the family around 24/7 might become overwhelming very quickly.  

While it’s great to embrace this gift of family time, make sure that each person is also getting enough alone time to themselves each day.  This could be quiet reading or doing a quiet activity all in one room, or have everyone separate into different rooms for an hour or two each day.  This will surely benefit everyone’s mental health during the isolation period.

If the entire family is beginning to feel isolated from the outside world, then consider some of these options.

Make a Connection

Even though we can’t go out and socialize with our friends right now, we can still make connections with others.  We need to stick together, especially during these uncertain times. This is something we should be doing daily or at least a few times a week in order to maintain our mental health.

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Phone a friend or family member. Simply talking to another human being helps you avoid isolation.

Video chat with a friend or family member.  It helps to see another familiar face from time to time, and not just hear their voice.  This is also a great option for younger kids.

Write a letter to someone.  It doesn’t even have to be someone you know.  Consider writing letters with your kids to senior’s homes, hospitals, government offices, army bases, etc.  It would make someone’s day.

Write an email to someone.  Same as above, but send it online instead.  You can find e-mail addresses for most places on their websites.  Let your favorite local shop know how much you miss their store/business while it’s closed, and can’t wait to be back there again. 

Read a book or watch a movie.  Going on adventures with the characters in a book or a movie is another way to help you feel less lonely and isolated.  Now is a great time to start binge watching that TV series you’ve been wanting to start.

Adopt or foster a pet. If you’re going to be locked up inside the house for weeks anyway, why not foster a pet to keep you company?  You could all benefit from the company during this anxious time.

Find a Distraction

Don’t count the days of self isolation on a calendar, find a way to pass the time.  Keeping the mind distracted is a great way to avoid things like intrusive or anxious thoughts while you are quarantined at home. 

Art Therapy
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Cook or Bake.  Don’t do it with the intention of “getting dinner on the table” as that will likely stress you out even more. Spend a day cooking some homemade soup or baking fresh bread or muffins with the kids.  Take your time and don’t worry about the mess. 

Clean.  Self isolation is the perfect time to clean out that closet you’ve been avoiding for months.  Start your spring cleaning early and tackle on the big messes that you never have time for. Decluttering is also a great way to maintain your mental health. 

Craft.  You can find hundreds of crafts you can do with the kids on Pinterest.  Or maybe you’d rather do something just for you?

Learn something new.  Nothing keeps the brain busier than learning. If you’re planning on homeschooling the kids, that will keep all of your brains busy.  Trying to pick up a new skill?  Now is the perfect chance to focus on it undisturbed for weeks!

Leave the House

If you’re in self isolation or practicing social distancing, you should be avoiding other people and public places.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be locked up within the walls of your house.  There are still several ways that you can safely leave the house in order to avoid complete isolation.

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Spend time in your own backyard.  Good weather or not, spending some time each day in your own backyard is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine.

Walk around the neighborhood.  You can also go for a walk in your own neighborhood, especially on a sunny day.  The natural Vitamin D not only helps to boost your mood, but the coronavirus doesn’t survive long in the sun. 

Go for a drive.  Why not pack the kids into the minivan and go for a drive in the country?  See if you can spot any wildlife or signs of spring.  Take photos along the way and compile an album.  Stop for a picnic lunch on the side of the road and play some fun family car games. 

Work on Yourself

Having weeks of undisturbed time at home means you finally have the chance to focus on yourself.  This global pandemic is going to change our entire world in ways we never imagined.  Let’s begin to prepare for the aftermath of it by using our self-isolation time to reflect on our lives. 

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Exercise. There’s no better way to avoid stress, anxiety, depression and isolation than to exercise daily.  Exercise is so important for both our physical and mental health.  You don’t need a home gym, either.  Watch yoga videos on YouTube or turn on some music and dance!

Read self help books. Maybe you’ll actually finish some of those books that you’ve been saving for when you have time.  Or try listening to some inspirational podcasts.

Try cognitive behavior therapy. If you’ve been putting off therapy because of a lack of time, self isolation is the perfect time to try online therapy. By completing an online therapy course, you can emerge from self-isolation with better tools to help you be successful in life. 

Meditate. Download a guided meditation app or simply spend time being mindful and grateful. Practice deep breathing and stretching for optimal health.  Turn on an essential oil diffuser and listen to some soothing meditation music. 

Focus on the positive. Self isolation is not the ideal situation for everyone. You may be worried about your job and bills and having enough food.  Instead, try to find something positive to focus on each day and write it down.  At the end of this quarantine, you can look back at this time and feel the happy moments instead of the negative ones. 

Make plans for the future.  Thinking about the future is a great way to avoid isolation and anxiety about the coronavirus. Sit down as a family and decide what things you’d like to do when this is all over.  Maybe you’ve learned to live with less or have realized where your true priorities are.  This is the time to set goals and make plans for the rest of this year.


Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression – Are You at Risk?

Does postpartum depression put you at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus?

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, is officially a global pandemic and causing all kinds of anxiety and uncertainty.  It can be especially hard on new moms who are already dealing with mental health issues.   Moms with postpartum depression might see an increase in their symptoms during this time.  Yes, it’s a stressful time for everyone, but could moms with mental health issues actually be at a higher risk?

If you have postpartum depression, find out if you are at risk of contracting coronavirus. 
Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression: Are you at Risk?
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression


Those most at risk for contracting coronavirus include the sick, elderly and people with a weakened immune system Many mothers with postpartum depression may suffer from a weak immune system, which is what puts them in the high-risk category.  Depending on how recently a mother has given birth, her immune system may not have had a chance to recover properly.  And certain behaviors caused by postpartum depression can affect our immune systems as well. 

Symptoms of a weakened immune system:

    • Frequent and long lasting illnesses and infections
    • Fatigue
    • Digestion issues (diarrhea, nausea, constipation)
    • New or increased allergies
    • Joint pain or inflammation

Think about whether or not you seem to catch every cold or still get the flu despite getting the flu shot.  Do your symptoms drag on for a long time? Do your wounds take long to heal?   These are all warning signs that you could have a weak immune system.  And if you’re likely to catch a cold from someone sneezing nearing you, then you’re also likely to catch coronavirus.

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How does postpartum depression cause a weakened immune system?

Stress

Stress is the number one culprit when it comes to a weakened immune system.  High levels of stress can increase our cortisol levels and decrease our lymphocytes (the white blood cells that help fight off infection).  This imbalance within our bodies makes us more susceptible to viruses, like COVID-19.  Moms with postpartum depression and anxiety often find themselves under a lot of stress.  It’s never easy to manage the kids and a household, while trying to maintain our own mental health. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. 

Sleep Deprivation

New moms, especially those with symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, are not getting nearly enough sleep as they need to.  Chronic sleep deprivation can affect our immune system in a negative way.  Normally while we sleep, our body works to produce certain antibodies that help us fight infection.  Sleep is also our body’s time to recharge and refill.  But when we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system goes into overdrive.  Then it doesn’t work when we need it to the most, like for fighting off the coronavirus. 

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Isolation

Both postpartum depression and anxiety can cause a new mother to distance herself from others, long before the CDC recommended it for the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus.  Moms normally take extra measures to keep baby away from crowds and strangers, in order to protect their fragile immune systems.  But all this time spent in isolation results in the opposite for moms.  Without being exposed to normal, everyday bacteria in the outside world, moms haven’t been able to build up any immunity to it.  Our immune system needs a lot of practice in order to keep it in good, working condition.

How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation
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Fluctuating Hormone Levels

While the underlying cause of postpartum depression is still unknown, some theories suggest it could be due to changes in hormone levels after giving birth.  We know this to be the cause when it comes to the baby blues, which is why it’s so common and doesn’t last long.  Postpartum depression is a much more complicated illness, however.  Either way, lower levels of estrogen may contribute to weakening the immune system.  All women who experience a hormonal imbalance of estrogen might be susceptible.  This includes women who are postpartum, peri-menopausal or who have had a hysterectomy.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

Our body needs a steady source of vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy.  But moms with postpartum depression or anxiety don’t always have the greatest eating habits.  Whether it’s binge-eating junk food or skipping meals all together, these bad habits can weaken our immune system and make us susceptible to the coronavirus.  If food was an issue during your pregnancy (due to hyperemesis gravidarum, gestational diabetes, anemia, etc.) you may already have some type of vitamin deficiency.

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How will coronavirus affect a mom’s mental health?

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    • Those with postpartum OCD might be overwhelmed about keeping germs away, hand-washing and disinfecting everything they touch (more than usual, that is).
    • Stress.  Lots of stress.  Stress about running out of food and supplies.  Stress about entertaining the kids while they’re off school.  Financial stress, marital stress, etc. 
I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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What to do about it

The coronavirus is so new that not much is known about it yet.  Studies are being conducted on the effects of coronavirus on pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding moms, but they are still in the early stages.  Experts are working hard for answers but until then, it’s up to us to try to keep it contained. 

Here are some things that moms with postpartum depression can do during the coronavirus outbreak to help maintain their mental health.
    • Stop reading all the global news stories. Instead,  stick to the local news coverage, which will keep you updated on the issues that affect you the most.
    • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for prevention of the spread of coronavirus, and bear in mind that these are updated as more information becomes available. 
    • Eat healthy.  Or take vitamin supplements to help boost your immune system.
    • Drink lots of water.  Regularly drinking water not only boosts your immune system, but helps to flush out any unwanted bacteria in your body. 
    • Get plenty of fresh air in wide, open spaces.  Avoid crowded parks and playgrounds and take a stroll through nature instead. 
    • Practice deep breathing and meditation. Not only does meditation help to calm stress, but taking long, deep breaths will actually improve your lung function.  Strong lungs will help in the event that you need to fight off coronavirus. 
    • Focus on the positive. This worldwide pandemic is one for the history books!   As scary as the times are right now, we are living in a moment of history.  Try journaling your experiences, or take photos.  Look for ways that you can help out someone else, even if it’s just by making a phone call to check in. 
    • Continue practicing self care.  Increase the amount of self care you do daily, if that’s an option.  In order to keep yourself from getting cabin fever, you’ll need to find time to yourself each day. 
    • Try online therapy. If your mental health is truly suffering during the coronavirus outbreak, this is something you can always do from home. 
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The thought of a global pandemic killing thousands of people across the world is truly terrifying.  With the intense amount of media coverage on the coronavirus, it can get very overwhelming for a mother with postpartum depression.  It’s terrifying because so much of it is out of our control. 

We need to focus on the small things that we can control.  Don’t waste your time hoarding toilet paper.  Instead, work on getting your immune system ready by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and finding ways to reduce your stress levels. In time, this too shall pass.