Being in self-isolation or quarantine for an extended amount of time can take a toll on your mental health. You may feel disconnected from others or feel the pressure of keeping your whole family entertained. This ‘new normal’ may be a source of stress and anxiety. In this article, we help you deal with all of this, with simple tips and advice.
Signs of COVID-19-related stress and anxiety
While they get easily mistaken for each other, stress and anxiety are two different states. Stress is the natural reaction of the entire body to a situation it perceives as new, unpredictable, or threatening. Stress can be a good thing in certain situations, as it can make you more focused and motivated, but too much of it can be bad for your health.
Anxiety is a state of mind where stress is so high, a person will anticipate the worst possible course of events for events that have not happened yet or may not even happen.
With all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 (strict safety and social distinction measures, sudden developments, the possibility of getting sick, job instability, etc.) – it is normal to feel overwhelmed.
Signs of stress or anxiety
- Uncontrollable fear that you or a loved one might get sick
- Changes in dietary habits (eating more or less than usual)
- Changes in sleep habits (difficulty falling asleep, operating on a different schedule)
- Changes in alcohol and drugs consumption (more than usual)
- Difficulty concentrating
Tips to reduce your stress and anxiety
Managing your stress and anxiety at home can be done, even during self-isolation, quarantine or strict social distancing measures. Here’s what you can do to reduce your stress and anxiety related to COVID-19.
Limit your digital exposure
The digital space is filled with COVID-19 news, often more worrying than positive. This constant exposure can take a toll on your mental health, which is why we recommend keeping yourself informed of important measures through federal or provincial press conferences once a day. The rest of your digital consumption should be turned towards positive and engaging content that will make you feel good. Avoid reading and sharing unreliable sources about COVID-19 – this could add to your stress and anxiety by spreading panic through false information.
Take care of your body
Even though being at home makes your fridge accessible to you at all time, try to eat healthy. You need a strong body and a lot of energy to keep your mental health strong and cope with the current situation. Take this opportunity to try new recipes with the whole family.
It is important to keep engaging in physical activity, as exercise is a natural antidepressant. Do not be intimidated if you do not know how to exercise properly or do not own any specific equipment. A lot of home workout videos or pre-made routines are available online and will make you break a sweat.
If you work from home, try to make your working space well-lit and comfortable. Make sure your chair is well adjusted and provides good back support for these long hours you will spend in front of your screen. It is also important to take breaks and stretch throughout your workday.
Taking care of your body also means keeping a regular sleep schedule and getting enough sleep. Try to go to sleep at the same time every day and cut your screen time before you go to bed.
Take breaks and stick to a routine
If you are self-isolating at home, chances are your regular schedule has been turned upside down. It is important during these times to stick to a routine – take a shower, eat three meals a day, go to sleep at the same time you would usually, maintain your regular hobbies and habits, keep regular contact with your family and friends virtually. While you are physically isolated, it does not mean you should be socially isolated as well.
At home, take regular breaks from your work as well, if possible. Take this opportunity take a walk or practice meditation. Meditation videos are available online for you to watch to help you relax.
Know when to seek help
Self-care to cope with anxiety and stress is possible. However, if your unease persists or worsens, it might be time to consider seeking professional help, as your mental health may be deteriorating. Know there are resources online to help you. You can access a doctor or a psychologist via teleconference. There are many help lines in operations in many provinces and ready to take your call should you need it. Never hesitate to ask for help to a loved one either. They can support you during these difficult times.
Your pharmacist is here for you
Your pharmacist remains available to answer your questions about your health or medication over the phone. They can offer tips on stress management and direct you to the help you need, if needed.