The goal during this pandemic is to protect ourselves and our loved ones from contracting coronavirus. Thus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandates strict quarantine protocols to help prevent coronavirus spread.
Quarantine is a period of isolation to a person suspected to be exposed or is positive of a contagious disease. Coronavirus, as we know, is a highly infectious disease, even without the symptoms. This health protocol helps prevent coronavirus spread, and by social isolation, you can protect your family and loved ones from acquiring the infection.
In addition to the anxiety and uncertainty, the coronavirus brings, going into quarantine for how many days may take a serious toll on a person’s mental health. Most especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place (at home or hospital).
Are you in quarantine now? Read this article on how to protect your mental health. Or do you know a loved one in isolation? Send them this article on how they can protect their mental health while in quarantine.
Quarantine Protocols During The Coronavirus Outbreak
COVID-19 quarantine protocols are imposed in positive individuals with the infection or are in close contact with a COVD-19 positive patient. People who recently traveled from another place with widespread transmission are also advised to observe self-quarantine for 14 days.
Why 14 days? The incubation period of COVID-19 (the time between exposure to the virus and the onset of the symptoms) is 5-6 days, but at times may reach up to 14 days. That is why quarantine should be at least 14 days.
Even if you tested negative with the disease, you need to be quarantined if: You came in close contact with a coronavirus-positive person (at least 15 minutes and within six feet). Or have traveled from a place with high cases of coronavirus.
Stay Home, Isolate, and Monitor Your Health
- During the period, stay at home, separate from everyone. Use different utensils, have a bathroom designated for you. Avoid common places such as the kitchen or the living room. Stay in a dedicated room for you where no one else comes in and out.
- Be mindful of any signs of COVID-19 (fever of 100.4◦F or above, cough, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of COVID-19). If you feel any symptoms or other health problems, do not proceed to a hospital or doctor’s clinic as you may expose other people. Call 911 or the hospital first to know the health measures to be followed.
Why Practice Social Distancing?
It is important to practice social distancing of at least six feet apart because you’ll never know who is the carrier of the infection. You may be a carrier, even without the coughing, not having a fever, and expose your loved ones. Or you may be exposed to a carrier, who does not have symptoms, and your health may be at risk too.
Observing social distancing protects you and the people around you. As much as possible, avoid social gatherings, big crowds, and stay at home. With this simple gesture, you are helping in flattening the curve of COVID-19.
Possible Effects Of Quarantine To The Mental Health
Being isolated for 14 days is a situation you have no control over. In addition to being worried about your physical health, your mental well-being is at risk of getting affected too. Many of us find it hard to be in alone; who wouldn’t be?
Your daily schedule gets disrupted, you can’t feel the warmth of a loved one’s hug, and face-to-face interaction is prohibited. This period of isolation may negative consequences to a person’s mental health. People in quarantine usually experience psychological distress or mental health problems like:
- Feelings of sadness or loneliness
- Feelings of fear, anger, worry, confusion, or anxiety
- Sleeping problems
- Feelings of depression
- Post-traumatic stress symptoms
- Emotional exhaustion or disturbance
- High levels of stress
- Low energy levels or gloomy feelings
- Mood changes such as irritability
- Substance and alcohol dependency
The possible impact of seclusion may vary from person to person. Some may manage to stay in isolation without feeling sad, while some may experience psychological well-being. This will depend on the person’s emotional coping, mental resilience, and personality. Stay one step ahead by promoting self-care and following the tips on protecting your emotional and mental health while in quarantine. Fourteen days is just a number. You can still stay productive while staying physically and mentally healthy.
How To Protect Your Mental Health During Quarantine?
Here are some steps you can take to protect your mental wellness and manage stress during quarantine. It’s better to try all these tips before you find yourself drowning in sadness or simple boredom.
Maintain A Consistent Sleep Routine
One of the main concerns while on quarantine is sleeping problems. Being isolated in a room, without much physical activity, and mostly staying in bed may affect your sleeping patterns. In other people’s cases, sleeping in an unfamiliar environment may affect their sleep. Remember that the brain’s hormones that regulate sleeping functions are sensitive to changes; your activities, mood, and stress levels.
It is essential to establish a sleep routine. As much as possible, sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Avoid caffeine or day naps if this affects falling asleep at night. Avoid too much social media, especially at night. Drink warm milk at night to fall asleep, open your windows during the daytime to regulate your circadian rhythm, and exercise so you can feel physical exhaustion.
Create And Maintain A Schedule For Your Daily Routine
Experiencing a significant change in your daily routines can make you feel unproductive and sad. Or, if you’re not used to staying at home for days, you may find the transition challenging. But creating and sticking to a schedule in your daily routine is possible.
Stick to your established sleeping routine, follow your usual working hours if you can work from home, take time to exercise, dedicate leisure time, don’t work too much, don’t miss out on a meal, nor overeat,
Be as Active as Possible
Exercise is crucial not just for your physical health but mental health as well. Studies show that even just two weeks of being physically inactive can lead to stress and may negatively impact mental health. You don’t need a gym or exercise machines to stay active. 3
Even with just the limited space in your room, there are many home workouts you can try. You can try exercise videos, fitness apps or join an online exercise class. Cleaning is also a good exercise, as long you stay in your designated isolation space.
Stay Connected With Friends And Family
Being isolated may prohibit face-to-face interaction, but it doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch with the people you love. Harness the power of social media by messaging your friends, and video call your significant others, even play online games with a family member. You can also join support groups or forums with people who are or have experienced being in quarantine.
Staying in contact with the people you love is critical in taking care of your mental health. For those who have friends or family members in quarantine, do your part and reach out. People in quarantine should not feel isolated to protect their mental health.
Stay Positive and Empower Yourself
Positive thoughts attract positive happenings; that is the law of attraction. On top of that, empower yourself. Instead of thinking of quarantine as a time of isolation, think of it as a time of taking care of your physical health and of your loved ones.
Have a positive mindset and tell yourself that you’re doing your part in keeping everyone safe. Make use of the quarantine period as a time for yourself. Re-organize your closet, learn a new skill, read a book, and be productive.
Stay Informed But Avoid Watching Too Much News
It is important to keep yourself updated with the latest news, but not too much. Watching too much news, especially awful news can have negative impacts on your mental health. If you haven’t noticed, most news on the media is bad news and can be toxic. Most especially if the news is about the COVID outbreak, this will just cause you to stress out.
As a result, you may experience fatigue, anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems. Limit watching or reading the news, especially about the COVID outbreak. Avoid watching or the news, especially before bedtime, because it may cause anxiety. Also, avoid reading hoax news, and believe news only from reliable sources. Hoax news can just cause you to stress out.
Seek Support From A Mental Health Professional
Take care of your mental health by talking to a counselor or therapist. You don’t have to leave your room because online counseling or phone counseling services are readily available now. Talking to a mental health professional online or on the phone does not differ much from a session inside a therapist’s office. You can still talk about your mental health concerns, talk about what’s bothering you, and receive the support you need.
Try Online Mental Health Counseling
Where to find support from a mental health professional? There are many therapists where you can talk to on the phone. If you’re from Kentucky or Ohio area, you can book an appointment with Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC).