Mental Health in Self-Isolation

Managing Your Mental Health in Self-Isolation

If you have tested positive for COVID or are caring for someone who has, there are strategies to manage your mental health while self-isolating from home.

While there are factsheets and guides available to help you manage your physical health as a result of COVID-19, what about your mental health and wellbeing?

If you or someone in your household has contracted the virus, hopefully you can securely isolate at home and have the necessary resources (food, water, and medication) to see you through. We hope you’re able to take a break from your regular commitments to rest and recoup as well.

However, due to your COVID-19 status, you may be experiencing worry, despair, rage, guilt, numbness, embarrassment, or simply feeling overwhelmed with emotion.

You may also be anxious about how isolation may affect your friends and family, as well as your finances, and you may be feeling unsure about the future.

Self-isolation can make it more difficult to meet our basic needs, as well as our psychological needs, including our dreams and goals, affecting our sense of well-being. COVID-19 might make us feel uneasy because we are concerned about our own health as well as the health of people around us.

Self-isolation can also lead to concerns about job insecurity and availability to or affordability of basic necessities such as food and housing. Social isolation, by its very nature, can make us feel detached, preventing us from using our typical coping mechanisms, pursuing chances we value, or following through on critical goals.

Strategies to support your Mental Health in self-isolation

Recognise your feelings:

Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling without judging or downplaying how your emotions. Keep an eye out for thoughts like “I’m being weak; I shouldn’t be concerned about this” or “It’s not a big problem; other people have it worse.” Remind yourself that your sentiments and reactions are typical in this difficult scenario.

Make a schedule:

To help better manage your mental health in self-isolation, create and stick to a flexible regimen of healthy food and adequate sleep, as both can help you feel better and boost your wellbeing.

Move your body:

Physical activity and exercise can help you feel calmer and healthier when you’re going through difficult periods. If you and your family are isolating, consider collaborating to develop healthy ways to eat, sleep, and move.

Limit alcohol:

Alcohol and narcotics may provide a momentary sense of relief, but if used excessively, they can cause further difficulties in the long-run.

Be gentle with yourself:

It’s important to look after yourself, especially if you’re also looking after others. You may begin to feel ‘burnt out’ if you do not prioritise your own well-being.

Create opportunities for pleasant emotions:

It’s common for your mood to fluctuate during your time in solitary. To keep your negativity from spiralling even farther, try to schedule at least one fun, relaxing, or delightful activity each day, as well as one activity that offers you a sense of productivity or accomplishment that can be done from your place of isolation. Maybe that’s a walk around your garden, an online class of some kind or a phone call with a friend.

Limit your news intake:

Statistics on illnesses, deaths, and outbreaks can be alarming. Images of sick patients, overcrowded hospitals, and long testing lines are upsetting. And being bombarded with people’s arguments and opinions on social media is exhausting. When you switch on the TV or pick up your phone, try to establish a balance where you consume enough to feel connected and up-to-date with health advice, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed and drained.

Keep in Touch:

It’s natural to mourn the loss of our ability to socialise and visit our loved ones in person. If possible, keep in touch on a regular basis via phone and video calls. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly lonely, being in touch with others on a regular basis can help you avoid feeling isolated.

Look at the positives:

Every day, look for tiny victories, such as work completed or difficult situations overcome. Every day, give yourself praise, comfort, and encouragement. There are always things to be grateful for.

Seek help if you need it:

If you are struggling to manage your mental health in self-isolation, you don’t have to face these difficulties on your own. Seek help from friends, relatives, or a healthcare professional. If you would like to speak with a registered psychologist online, why not get in touch? We would love to hear from you and would be happy to organise an appointment for you. Call our friendly team on 1800 327 477 (AU) or 0800 327 477 (NZ). Alternatively click here to book an appointment.