Coping in Quarantine

November 19, 2020

If you find yourself quarantining at home, chances are you are feeling a lot of different emotions. You may feel anxious, frustrated, lonely or bored. You could be feeling all of those things, and that’s okay. The lack of routine and daily schedule may feel daunting to some people. The fear of the unknown can be crippling for others. It may feel like so many factors are out of your control, but there are healthy ways to cope and survive quarantine.

How can you remain happy in quarantine?

  • First, take care of your body. Your mental health is linked to your physical health. Eat right and make sure you get enough sleep. Limit your intake of caffeine and avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol. 
  • Engage your mind. Find something creative to keep yourself occupied. Bake bread or try some new recipes. Draw, paint or make a collage of your favorite things. Put together a puzzle.
  • If you have a stack of books that you’ve been meaning to read, now is the time to pick them up.
  • Organize your space. Take advantage of this time to de-clutter or reorganize.
  • Dance for a few minutes every day. If you’re quarantining away from friends and family, no one’s watching!
  • We’ve had some really nice weather. Take advantage of it and open up a window or two and listen to nature.
  • Don’t forget to connect with others. You can call, FaceTime, text or email loved ones.
  • However, don’t spend all of your time on an electronic device. Limit your screen time, especially before bedtime. Use that extra time to relax and recharge.
  • Make a gratitude list. Sure, you may not feel very grateful all the time, but look for the good. Keep a daily journal of these good things that happened, and you’ll notice more good things as they happen. 
  • Be aware of your emotions. Don’t push your feelings aside because that can lead to trauma further down the road. Lean into those emotions instead. If you need to cry, cry. If you want to laugh, laugh.

Be aware of your mental health
As we’ve learned, pandemics are stressful, and they can be made even more stressful if you’re quarantining. We will all react to quarantining differently. Some may see it as a respite from the ordinary, and others may feel overwhelmed by feelings of isolation and loneliness which can be quite stressful. 

Some mental health problems people need to be aware of include:

  • Excessive fear and worry, especially if it begins affecting one’s daily functioning
  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • A desire to use alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness and changes in appetite and sleeping habits
  • Increased irritability
  • Crying frequently

Those with pre-existing mental health conditions or substance use may be more vulnerable. If these conditions worsen, they should contact their healthcare provider or mental health professional.

Prairie View offers same-day therapy appointments via televideo. To access that service, call 800-992-6292.

If quarantining or the pandemic in general is causing you or a loved one to have thoughts of self-harm, call the Prairie View crisis line at 800-362-0180. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is another option: 800-273-TALK (8255).

-Dr. Elizabeth Guhman, LP, Vice President Clinical Services