If you are quarantined or self-isolating due to coronavirus, you may be feeling alone right now — but know that we are right here with you. Any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing is perfectly normal. It’s difficult to avoid feeling down at a time like this, but try to focus on ways you can stay connected, both with yourself and others.
What are Isolation and Quarantine?
Do you feel that the situation you’re in is out of your hands? One day you were living your normal life, going to work, the gym, participating in your hobbies and spending time with family. And then, suddenly, everything was different. Now you may be required to quarantine (or voluntarily self-isolate) because of exposure or possible exposure to coronavirus.
According to the the CDC:
- Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick
- Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick
Isolation and quarantine generally involve:
- Ensuring you’re at least six feet away from others in your household
- Not having visitors
- Not sharing utensils, towels or other household items
- Staying at home
If you have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, it’s recommended that you quarantine to prevent possible germ spread.
Care for Your Mental Health During Quarantine
During isolation or quarantine, you’re allowed to feel out of the ordinary. Experiencing anxiety, worry or fear for your health is understandable. You may be concerned that certain things that were once your responsibility may not be effectively cared for now, whether that’s work-related or something in your personal life. Maybe you’re experiencing frustration or uncertainty surrounding the “unknowns” — like, how long will this last? When can I go back to work? When can I see my loved ones again?
One of the most expressed reactions to all of this time stuck at home is loneliness. If you’re feeling cut off from the world and from loved ones, it may start to take a toll on your mental health. It’s so important that you feel grounded and connected to yourself to help you cope with missing others. Here are a few ways you can support your well-being during quarantine:
Be Your Own Advocate
Your feelings are your own, and they are most certainly valid. “Speaking out about your needs is particularly important if you are in quarantine, since you may not be in a hospital or other facility where your basic needs are met. Ensure you have what you need to feel safe, secure and comfortable,” advises the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
You can have groceries, carry-out meals and even toiletries delivered to your home, if need be. If there are any medications you need, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about arranging home-delivery.
Understand What’s Happening by Educating Yourself
Your health care providers and authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ((CDC), can give you information on COVID-19, including what it is, its symptoms, how it spreads and more. Feel free to access our Coronavirus Resource Hub to find answers to the most frequently asked questions surrounding the disease.
Keep in mind that too much news may be a stressor for some, and if you experience more discomfort by watching or reading the news, try to take it in smaller doses and check in once and a while. Know what sources you can trust to provide you with accurate, credible, up-to-date information. There are a lot of rumors circulating, and misinformation can lead to even more unknown and worry for you.
Work With Your Employer
Many companies are allowing their employees to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, so if you have a job that you’re able to perform from home, speak to your supervisor about getting you the necessary tools to do so. If you are unable to work, provide your employer with a clear explanation of your situation.
The U.S. Department of Labor can help provide more information on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA can give up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical conditions.
Connect With Others
SAMHSA says, “Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness and boredom during quarantine.”
Do you have friends and family members you can share your feelings with? Or — just as important — to share a regular conversation with?
Though you may be in your room or your home away from loved ones right now, you can still stay connected by:
- Picking up the phone. Call, text or email your best friend or a close family member. Hear what’s going on in their lives and if you want to talk about the news, a fresh perspective could help.
- Reading the newspaper or listening to the radio. Just limit your news intake if it becomes overbearing.
- Talking “face to face” using Skype, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger or another platform.
- Watching movies and reading books. Give yourself a little mental escape from the real world.
Even though they may not be next to you, your friends and family are with you in spirit and pulling for you and your well-being. Try to make the best of the situation by focusing on how you can look at each day with hope and positivity.
Be Informed and Feel Empowered
If you would like more information surrounding coronavirus, please visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub. You can also learn more about managing anxiety and stress during coronavirus from the CDC.