Until the last few months, none of us thought that now terms like social distancing and quarantine would be seen at the top of the daily news and the main priority of the governments would be to prevent and deal with the further spread of the corona virus.
Now it doesn’t matter where we live on this earth; Staying at home and observing precautionary measures have become the necessities of life for all the people of the world. But in the meantime, there is another important issue that we should not neglect: Protecting mental health during quarantine.
In the upcoming article, we will provide you with more explanations about the importance of this topic and we will tell you about the solutions that are useful and efficient to protect mental health during quarantine.
Staying in quarantine and its effect on mental health
Staying in quarantine may have a big impact on our mental health, according to the results of studies recently published in The Lancet medical journal. Therefore, there is a possibility of a range of mental disorders from anger, anxiety and sleep-related disorders to depression and post-traumatic stress (PTSD) during this period.
Meanwhile, the results of past studies on quarantined patients suffering from SARS (a disease caused by another virus from the corona family and which broke out in 2003), showed that between 10 and 20 percent of these people, from stress They were suffering after the accident.
Another issue that draws attention in the Lancet magazine report is the discussion of factors that may affect mental health during quarantine and increase the risk of developing the aforementioned disorders; Stressful factors related to the quarantine period such as fear of virus spread and infection, fear of disease, frustration, boredom, lack of access to sufficient amount of daily necessities, ignorance, financial loss and worry of being stigmatized and rejected due to contracting a contagious disease.
These factors are not only for those who have a background of mental disorders; But it is also dangerous for other people who look normal and have no problem in this regard and may be a threat to their mental health.
Identifying psychological problems and disorders
Based on the information published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , all people should be aware of the signs that indicate mental health problems; The following are the signs:
- Fear and worry about your health
- Disruption of the normal process of sleeping and eating
- Difficulty falling asleep or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic diseases
- Increased use of tobacco or drugs
Professor Ian Hickie, from the University of Sydney Neuroscience Center, had a comment about this that we draw your attention to: “We humans are basically social beings. Staying in quarantine or away from the community for a long time (without considering a method or solution to fill the void of distance or quarantine), worsens the situation of anxiety and depression and makes people feel helpless.”
Strategies to protect mental health during quarantine
First of all, we are the ones who should be responsible for protecting our mental health during quarantine and staying at home, and we should do whatever we can to put it on the agenda. However, quarantine and social distancing may continue for weeks, and in such a situation, it is possible that our mental state will be affected.
In the following, we will talk about the most important and best solutions that are useful and efficient to protect mental health during quarantine and have been compiled in consultation with expert psychologists and some health organizations:
1. Having a daily schedule
Every morning when you wake up, after you get ready to start the day, make a list of all the things you plan to do for the rest of the day. With this solution, you will feel that things are normal as before and the thought that your productivity has decreased will not constantly bother you.
2. Dividing the day into shorter periods of time
Look for activities that you can use to change your mood. If you can, change your place in the house to do some activities (for example, go to the yard to exercise).
3. Taking care of the body
Eat healthy food, get enough sleep and exercise daily. Finally, you can do stretching and meditation or exercise along with training videos.
4. Helping others
Helping others is another good way to protect mental health during quarantine; Of course, if you are not completely quarantined and it is possible for you to help others. In this situation, there are probably those who need something or have a job and cannot provide or do it themselves. You can help these people.
5. Maintain communication with others
Make the most of technology in quarantine and try not to disconnect from others. Keep in touch with friends, colleagues and family members in different ways, including video calling, sending messages on social networks and calling.
6. Limit information received from the media
Find out about the latest news and information about diseases by following official news sources; But be careful not to lose control of the situation and keep your eyes on TV channels and news on social networks; For example, you can consider a specific time of the day to see the news and after that, stop following the news and information.
7. Provision of more medicine for the quarantine period
If you have a background of another mental disorder, it is better to prepare more medicines in case of necessity and keep them at home with the doctor’s advice.
8. Fighting boredom
Another good way to protect your mental health during quarantine is to make the most of the movies, TV series, and books you have available. You can also go to those work projects that you have been postponing before or did not have time to do. With these actions, you can keep yourself mentally active and not let boredom and boredom get you down.
9. Observance of moderation in work and daily activities
Set limits for the hours you spend working during the day and stick to them. Otherwise, you may get too tired and lose control of the situation. Leave time to rest.
10. Thinking positive
Along with the sad news related to the disease, follow the positive news and events and appreciate those who put themselves at risk to improve the situation.
11. Planning for tasks and activities during a daily routine
Remember that the current situation is temporary and besides, you are not the only one who has to endure this situation. Therefore, it is better not to plan for the distant future.
Actions made by employers
Helping the state of mental health during quarantine is not only limited to the actions of governments, and employers also have duties in the meantime. They can play a significant role in improving their mental health by reassuring employees.
In the current complicated situation, clarification is of key importance. Therefore, employers as well as human resources groups should provide news and information related to work conditions and other issues to their employees and inform them of the latest news related to the corona virus and work regulations.
Another information that should be provided to the employees in an accurate and appropriate way is the information related to the hours and time they are required to be at work. In this way, they will be fully aware of what is expected of them and they will not leave the house to go to work for no reason.
Protecting mental health during quarantine is as important as other precautionary and preventive measures, and the mere fact that the symptoms of mental disorders are not very tangible is not a reason for neglect. Neglecting mental health in the long term may have unpleasant consequences and affect daily life.
As long as you can, connect with others from home and warm your head with activities that you enjoy and that give meaning to your life. Do not forget to help others, which is an effective antidote to depression.