The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed considerable pressure on every part of our lives. Many lost their loved ones, their jobs, livelihood, as well as the freedom to travel and enjoy normal living. As all of us spend considerable time indoors, many are struggling to maintain their mental well-being to cope with the different challenges brought by the pandemic.
Quarantining at home has played an essential role in reducing the worsening effects of the pandemic. While it has given us plenty of time to relax and spend more time with the family, others (like me!) find it hard to cope with the disruption of the normal routine. This can result in stress, depression and anxiety, which causes adverse health effects, such as sleeping disorders, hair loss, and loss of appetite. Females who suffer from hair loss because of mental health issues turn to companies that offer hair loss solutions for women to overcome emotional distress.
As most countries still experience surges in COVID-19 cases, many have found themselves unprepared for more months of lockdown. The real problem comes in as the effects of the pandemic have taken a toll on those who are struggling with their mental health. Without a doubt, the pandemic has significantly affected the mental health of everyone. That being said, we’re here to discuss the implications of the quarantine to our mental health and what we can do to overcome these issues.
Effects of quarantine on mental health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quarantine is the act of restricting and separating movements of those who get exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become ill. While the quarantine measures proved helpful in reducing the spread of COVID-19, spending a long time indoors can take a severe mental toll.
Being isolated for an extended period can leave feelings of loss of control on the present situation. As people isolate themselves from the outside world, their activities become limited inside their homes. Even if you’re staying with the family, cabin fever or the feeling of isolation can turn serious.
In a report by the American Psychological Association, social isolation comes with health risks, such as depression, low immunity, poor sleep, and poor heart health. It can also affect your executive functions by hindering your ability to focus, follow directions, remember information, and manage emotions.
Recent studies show staying in quarantine for too long also leads to psychological distress. The symptoms include fear, sadness, confusion, anger, numbness, stress, low mood, and other signs of emotional disturbance. When left unchecked, psychological distress can lead to long-term consequences, such as alcohol and substance abuse.
Factors that affect coping mechanisms
Each individual addresses their stress symptoms differently. Some easily overcome the effects of quarantine because of their personality and level of resiliency. Meanwhile, others with existing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depressive disorder, can also affect their coping mechanism.
For instance, if you tend to effectively manage your emotions during stressful situations, your coping skills can help you manage long-term quarantines without any negative effects. Even your personality affects your coping skills. In fact, extroverts are the ones who suffered more from the loneliness that quarantine brings. Since extroverts are more attuned to social interaction, staying indoors has become more difficult. But it doesn’t mean that they should be constantly exposed in social interactions; there are still ways to meet that need by joining online communities to meet their socialization needs.
The period of quarantine is also another determining factor in how people cope. The longer the isolation, the more negative health outcomes. Thus, it is safe to say that prolonging quarantine leads to severe effects on mental well-being.
Ways to cope
There are plenty of ways to mitigate the effects of quarantine on our mental health. The first step is to establish a new daily routine to gain a sense of direction in your everyday life. For instance, remote workers can structure their time just like going to work. Those who have kids can plan activities to keep family members busy so the adults can get their work done. You can also add new activities to prevent monotony.
Since you have a lot of free time at home, consider doing physical activities to keep your body and mind active. Instead of buying workout equipment, there are plenty of online sources for at-home workouts, such as exercise videos, online workouts, and fitness applications. You can also try a new hobby to keep your hands busy. More importantly, maintaining regular communication is the key to minimize feelings of isolation. Do this by reaching out to family members or joining online communities.
There are plenty of ways you can do to seek support if you’re struggling with your mental health. While staying at home can be relaxing, staying in quarantine for too long can lead to detrimental effects on our health. Keeping ourselves busy and finding worthwhile activities are some simple ways to keep your mental health at bay during the quarantine.
*This is a collaborative post.