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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.