In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS and the World Health Organisation recommends that individuals who may have had exposure to the disease, self-quarantine at home for 14 days. In addition, public health professionals recommend that healthy individuals practise social distancing and stay at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As well as taking the necessary precautions and following the advice of the public health professionals to stop the spread of the pandemic, it is also essential that you consider how you can maintain your mental wellbeing. If you’re self-quarantining or practising social distancing, consider the following tips:
1. Keep a routine
One of the best things that you can do during these challenging times is stick to a routine. For example, if you’re used to going to the gym before work, try to wake up early and get an at-home workout in before you go to work or start your workday from home (we’ve compiled more advice on working out at home here). Maintaining as much normalcy as possible with your daily routine can help keep your mood lifted, and prevent boredom and distress from taking over.
If you have children who will be at home now, it’s also important to create a routine for them. Whether they are practising virtual learning with their schools or if they will just be home, you should implement a structured schedule for them so they know what your expectations are. Try to limit as much screen time as possible and incorporate learning activities throughout the day.
2. Get a good night’s sleep
This suggestion goes hand-in-hand with sticking to a routine. While you’re at home, it can be easy to go to bed or sleep in later than you typically would. Breaking your normal sleep routine can have negative effects on your mental wellbeing, so you should try to stick to your typical schedule as much as possible.
3. Spend time outside
In the UK, you can currently leave the house for one form of exercise a day – just remember to follow government guidance when using green spaces.1 Exercising outside or simply spending time in your garden will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.
Being outside also helps to promote higher vitamin D levels, a vitamin the body makes when skin has direct exposure to the sun. Many people are deficient in vitamin D, so exercising outside can be a great way to correct that.
4. Leverage the power of technology
When in quarantine or self-isolation, it can be easy to feel lonely. Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it easy to connect with others. Public health professionals recommend reaching out to loved ones with technology to reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and to supplement your social life while you’re quarantining or social distancing.
5. Don’t obsess over the news
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by watching the news and reviewing updates of the COVID-19 situation. While it’s important to be informed of the situation, try not to obsess over the news.
For example, instead of monitoring the news all day, consider checking for updates once in the morning and once at night.
6. Practise positivity and gratitude
Taking five minutes a day to write down the things that you are grateful can help lower stress levels and change your mindset from negative to positive.
Your mental wellbeing plays a huge role in your overall health and wellbeing, and should be prioritised. These six suggestions may help you maintain your mental wellbeing during a quarantine, but shouldn’t be considered as medical advice.
If you have concerns about your mental wellbeing while you’re in quarantine, please contact your mental health professional or use the NHS webpage for guidance.2