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Tips for safeguarding your mental health during quarantine

2:12am 7th April 2020

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Quarantine and social distancing have now become commonplace globally as governments make concerted efforts to fight the spiraling coronavirus outbreak.

The Lancet's report found mental health concerns could be inflamed by stressors associated with quarantine, such as infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, lack of information, financial loss and stigma associated with contracting the disease.

That can be an issue not only for people with preexisting mental health concerns, but also those in seemingly good psychological health.

Create a routine — Change out of your pajamas, shower and make a to-do of all the things you want to achieve each day to create a sense of normality and productivity.

Break up your day — Find tasks to break up your day and, where possible, change your environment for different activities.

Take care of your body — Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. That could include conducting indoor workout classes, stretching and practicing meditation.

Help others — If you're not under strict isolation rules yourself, and you're in a position to do so, find ways to support those in need by offering to run errands and collect supplies for them.

Stay connected — Make the most of technology and stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family via phone calls, texts, social media and video conferencing.

Limit media intake — Stay informed about the situation via reliable sources, but limit your news and social media intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Prepare medical supplies — The National Alliance on Mental Illness advises, where necessary, asking your doctor for extended prescription supplies to tide you over for quarantine periods.

Fight boredom — Make the most of catching up TV series, reading and exploring projects you have been putting off to beat boredom and stay mentally active.

Avoid burnout — Set strict limits to your work to avoid becoming overwhelmed and make time to unwind.

Focus on the positives — Amplify good news stories and honor caregivers working tirelessly to resolve the situation.

Take one day at a time — Try not to project too far into the future. Remember that these are temporary measures and you are not alone.

Last but not least, stay in contact with people — virtually — engage in activities that give you pleasure and a sense of meaning, and do what you can to help others, which is a remarkable antidote to depression.


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