The Hidden Side Effects of Quarantine
Things have been getting out of control lately. News of the pandemic is getting worse, but it’s difficult to shut off the TV. As we stay inside under quarantine, we can experience negative psychological problems, such as loneliness, anxiety and depression. To combat these negative effects, you need to be mentally prepared.
In this list, I share with you five ways to stay mentally prepared under quarantine.
1. Give yourself a break
This pandemic will pass. It’s only a temporary. Use this as an opportunity to do what you want to do. Take a break!
The “white spaces” like daily commutes are gone now that we’re all stuck inside. It’s difficult to learn know when to take a break or turn off your batteries. We need to get in the habit of taking a break. Failing to give yourself a break can have very negative consequences.
Pay attention to whether you’re feeling fatigued, unmotivated, or withdrawn. You may experience a decrease in energy or difficulty concentrating. It this is the case, take a break!
When taking a break, make sure you practice good habits. Snack breaks are fine, but try to avoid junk food. If you didn’t take naps before the quarantine, try to avoid them now as well. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is key remaining mentally prepared.
Positive break activities are those that help to take your mind off of the stressful situation we all find ourselves in. Meditate, go outside to get fresh air, journal, exercise, or even listen to calming music. It’s not just important to take a break. What you do during that break can have a big effect on your mood.
2. Set Near, Medium, and Long Term Goals
Another key to staying mentally prepared to face difficult situations is to set up goals. Just because you’re under quarantine doesn’t mean you should lose your ambition.
Goals keep you focused on the future in a positive way. Rather than contemplating gloomy scenarios, goals will train your mind on productive accomplishments. Don’t you want to emerge from the quarantine having accomplished something? Wouldn’t it be great to find a silver lining to this?
Remember to set SMART goals. SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
You can start by creating a list of what you can complete while remaining indoors. For example, baking bread, learning a new language, completing an online course, writing a blog post, etc.
If you’re new to setting goals, start off with something small like cleaning your home. Then, set a medium sized goal like exercising for a half hour 5 times a week. From there, you can graduate to a long term goal, like writing a book. If you incrementally build towards longer term, more difficult goals, you can realize quick successes early. These successes help you build the confidence needed to accomplish longer term goals. By continuing to set up goals, you’ll remain positive and productive, both of which are essential being mentally prepared.
3. Learn Something New
MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are one of the great platforms through which you can learn. Some example MOOC platforms are Khan Academy, CreativeLive, and Udemy. Plenty of top tier universities are offering online courses for FREE. I’m currently learning Social Psychology through Coursera and I’m learning much more than I’m learning through my traditional university.
Want to do something different? Try learning a new language! You can learn Korean, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian or any number of other languages using free apps like Duolingo. By continuing to educate yourself under quarantine, you’ll stay mentally prepared through this challenging time.
4. Write in a Daily Journal
Journaling has been practiced since ancient history. Even today, many creative influencers, writers, and innovators keep a daily journal. For example, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Charles Darwin all wrote in a journal daily. Without their journals, we wouldn’t know the full extent of their brilliance. The act of journaling helps to crystalize your thinking, which may explain why these three men were so successful.
I’ve been getting back to daily journaling recently and it’s one way to stop the mental breakdown that can accompany isolation. Journaling helps manage your stress and reduce anxiety. You can throw all your anger, frustrations, and negative feelings all down on paper.
These days, you can keep a digital journal. Pull up notes or a Word document on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Journal on the go. It’s never been easier to journal, yet the benefits are the same as they’ve been throughout history.
5. Stay in Touch with Others through Zoom or Social Media
Just because we’re physically separated from others, doesn’t mean our relationships should suffer. Keep in touch with others using new platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. Many people have actually been more connected with their family and friends under quarantine. Remember, the majority of the global population is isolated inside, so you’re not alone in this. You can’t physically hang out with your friends and family, but you can certainly enjoy time with them over video calls.
In this day and age, social media is another great way to keep in contact with others. The videos and pictures your loved ones post help keep you up to date on how they’re doing. While there should be limits to the amount of time you spend on social media, it’s now more important than ever that you remain plugged in to life outside isolation.
Never Give Up; Stay Mentally Prepared
While the quarantine is unquestionably rough, it’s not the end of the world. You can stay mentally prepared for the worst by remaining productive. Take breaks, set goals, learn something, journal, and stay in touch with loved ones. These five methods will keep you focused on the good aspects of life. Positivity is tough to come by, but it’s definitely possible. Remain positive. Remain mentally prepared.
Ellen is the creator and writer of an Australian lifestyle blog called Zyrakuma. Her blog feature posts about self-development, mental health, and blogging tips. When she’s not working on her blog, she’s either working on her Uni degree, binge-watching Netflix or drawing. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest @zyrakuma.
Do you have any suggestions on how to remain mentally prepared? Leave a comment for Ellen below or contact me directly.