Just when it seemed life was returning to normal, the second wave of COVID-19 struck the nation and diminished all hopes of normalcy. The overwhelming rise in cases and deaths has caused much distress and frustration among us all. People are back within the confines of their homes, trying to keep themselves safe from the infection. During these uncertain times, our mental health has been compromised once again. However, for those who may have already been exposed to the virus and are in self-quarantine, or isolation, the anxiety and frustration have doubled.
Let’s say, you’ve been asked by your doctors to self-quarantine because you’re reasonably concerned that you’ve been exposed to the virus. You need to immediately pick a room to isolate yourself from other family members or flatmates. Nobody is allowed to enter this space during the period of self-quarantine.
Once isolated, chances are you might start feeling anxious about your health and that of your loved ones. You may even feel helpless as you have no control over the situation, which can lead to more anxiety and frustration. You may find yourself unable to sleep well, focus, manage your emotions, or even process information.
With the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc, it is important to take adequate safety measures to protect yourself and others. However, if you may have already been exposed to the infection and asked to self-quarantine, here are a few coping mechanisms if you are wondering how to deal with anxiety and frustration.
Establish a quarantine routine
Your regular routine is bound to get disrupted during self-quarantine. This may leave you aimless and struggling to figure out how to spend each day. In such a situation, you can plan out simple activities that you can do without venturing out. In addition to getting ample rest, waking up at a fixed time, and eating healthy, incorporate some recreation and relaxation time as well. You can meditate, maintain a journal, paint, read a book or watch a movie to keep your mind occupied. Productivity expert Tanya Dalton says, “Routines can help you gain a sense of ownership of your time.” A structure will give you a sense of order and control and help keep anxiety and frustration at bay.
It can be hard to maintain a positive outlook when in self-quarantine. Your mind may constantly worry about things that are beyond your control. These negative thoughts can contribute to stress, anxiety, and frustration. Instead, you can incorporate positive affirmations to help change your perspective. For example, you can say to yourself, “I will not stress over things I can’t control,” or “I believe in my ability to get through these tough times.” Affirmations can make you feel positive and optimistic about your situation.
Listen to music
When you are in self-quarantine and wondering how to deal with your anxiety and frustration, music can be your refuge. Music can have a positive effect on your emotions and is an effective antidote to loneliness and stress. Listening to upbeat music can instantly make you feel more optimistic and hopeful. A slower tempo, on the other hand, can help calm your mind and relax your senses, while improving your mood.
Limit news consumption
In self-quarantine, it is only natural to seek more information about the world outside. While it is important to stay up-to-date, consuming too much news can cause unwanted stress. A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that consumption of negative news can affect your mood, generating feelings of sadness and anxiety. Graham Davey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the Sussex University says, “Today’s news is increasingly visual and shocking and can be detrimental to general mental health.”
Stay connected with friends and family
To protect your mental health and feel less lonely during self-quarantine, it is important to stay connected with your friends and family. Reach out to them via phone calls, chats, video calling, email, and social media. Staying connected and having frequent conversations with your loved ones can cheer you up and help you deal with anxiety and frustration. According to a study, maintaining virtual social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress.
Be patient and hopeful
If left unchecked, a period of self-quarantine can cause serious mental health issues including anger, anxiety, and depression. That is why you need to take care of your mental health and practice patience. A good way to do this is by focussing on the present and dealing with problems one day at a time. Do not expect things to change overnight. But be hopeful that they will one day. Living in constant fear and worrying about what the future holds can severely impact your mental wellbeing. Instead, allow yourself to slowly embrace your self-quarantine experience and remind yourself that it is not the end of the world.