It’s been 21 months since Boris Johnson implemented a nationwide lockdown in the UK, keeping people confined to their homes.
While restrictions have been eased since then, the return to work from home and a rise in omicron cases mean some people are isolating themselves, while others continues to struggle with health-related anxiety.
During the initial closure, a long period of isolation may be a necessary measure to protect public health against Covid-19 but it is acknowledged that it can also have a negative impact on people’s mental health.
World Health Organization (WHO) last year release a mental health guide to those in self-isolation: “This period of crisis is creating tension among the population.”
So what you should do if your mental health is being impacted during self-isolation or while working from home; Are there ways to ensure you protect your mental and emotional health during extended time alone?
Make time for micro-lifts throughout your day
Doctor Lucy Atcheson, a consulting psychologist, says that one of the main problems with spending a lot of time alone is that we start to miss the “micro-elevators” that we normally pass through throughout the day. not necessarily noticed. She speaks The Independent: “You are on your way to work, you may stop by your favorite coffee shop or say hello to someone on the street, it is the little things in our day that often help lift us that we never noticed.
“When you’re home alone, that doesn’t happen – and the cumulative impact of that is huge, especially over a two-week period. So instead we need to create micro-elevators, it has to be something that creates a sense of accomplishment. It could be a new exercise, learning a bit of a language, talking to someone on FaceTime, or joining an online book group.”
Keep a healthy diet
When you’re at home, you can just sit on the sofa without moving, eating unbalanced meals and snacking all day as a way to entertain yourself.
But Emma Carrington, consultant and information manager at Mental Health UK, said: “Do your best to eat well. If you don’t have someone who can bring your food, see if you can sign up for home delivery from your local supermarket.
“See if there is a community support group in your local area that can help with shopping.”
Harmony with nature
Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at Caresays you should try to get in contact with the outside world and exercise as much as you can within the limits. “Our physical health and mental health are interconnected, so try to create a routine that includes some exercise,” he says.
“Although you may not be able to spend time with others, make the most of the private outdoor space you have – such as a garden or balcony – if you have one, as being in nature can also help. can help our lives.”
In addition, Buckley also says try looking out the window to see birds or tend to grow plants indoors to keep your mind stimulated and engaged with nature. If possible, open a window and let fresh air into the room.
Maintain a regular consciousness
Do you find yourself spending the day in your pajamas or remember at 3 p.m. you didn’t brush your teeth knowing you wouldn’t see anyone? While it may feel good to be lazy in the short term, in the long run it’s not good for your mental health.
“As far as possible, try to stick to a routine as much as possible,” says Carrington. Wake up and go to bed at healthy times to make sure you get enough sleep.”
Even though you want to maintain a routine, Dr. Lucy Atcheson cautions against just falling into a cycle of sleeping, working, eating and repeating: “Take time to still be valuable to your day, Life can’t just eat and sleep. Do something fun for yourself (it’s not just Netflix).
“I see a lot of self-isolated people losing their optimism for the future, taking their time to reflect and choose everything wrong in their lives: their work, their relationships, their friendship. When we are overwhelmed by a mundane life, it can quickly deprive us of joy, so make fun of yourself.”
Don’t just sit in front of the screen – change your activities
Sitting in front of a screen all day – whether for work or pleasure – is not the best way to spend long hours. Especially because blue light from devices, like smartphones, can affect your sleep and overall health.
Worry UK, a charity that helps people with anxiety, has put together a list of self-isolation activities to diversify what you do at home in the coming weeks.
It suggests: downloading podcasts, watching box sets, doing arts and crafts, knitting, trying meditation, baking new foods, learning a new hobby like origami, dancing with friends, FaceTime calls, cooking, writing swiping, reading, DIY or gardening.
Stay connected with people
Just because you’re isolating yourself or working from home, doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off completely, Anxiety UK says. “If you feel like you’re starting to get stuck, take a moment to call a friend or family member. Talk about how you feel. If you don’t have anyone who can talk to you, you can call emotional support lines like Samaritans and SANEline. “
WHO also recommends maintaining your social media during self-isolation: “Even in isolation, try to maintain your personal daily routines or create new ones. If health authorities have recommended limiting your physical social contact to prevent an outbreak, you can stay connected via email, social media, video conferencing, and phone.”
Limit your news intake
If you find the 24/7 coronavirus coverage is affecting your mental health, especially on social media, then you can opt out. The near-constant flow of news about the outbreak can make anyone feel anxious or distressed, the World Health Organization said.
“Seek practical updates and guidance at specific times of the day from health professionals and the WHO website, and avoid hearing or heeding rumors that make you uncomfortable.”
Don’t get caught up in the negative spiral
Dr. Lucy Atcheson says one of the most dangerous things to your mental health is having too much time to think critically about your life. She explains: “When you isolate yourself, you have plenty of time to think and as a result it is very common to feel dissatisfied in life. You may begin the process feeling calm and germ-free but gradually you begin to turn into this. You get caught up in a constant stream of criticism about your life and yourself, and you really need to avoid those negative cognitive spirals. ”
Spokesperson for Mental Health Foundation, a UK charity that supports people with mental health problems, says: “It helps if you try to see it as another time in your life and not necessarily one. bad times, even if you don’t choose it. It will mean a different rhythm of life, an opportunity to interact with others in different ways than usual. ”
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/coronavirus-mental-health-self-isolate-work-from-home-b1975651.html Coronavirus: How to manage your mental health while working from home