How To Support Mental Health In Isolation
Isolation is a common concern when it comes to mental health. Not only can it hinder your ability to interact with other people, but it may also detach you from your own feelings.
Unfortunately, cases of isolation are now growing in prevalence as the pandemic has forced practically everyone to lock themselves up in their homes. And if you're like everyone else, you're probably feeling the repercussions of the lock-downs. But while it's true that you have no say over how long the lock-downs may last, there are ways you can make the experience a lot more bearable.
In this article, you'll learn about six of the best practices that can help support mental health in isolation.
1. Create a Schedule
First off, you should create or prepare a weekly schedule that includes in detail everything you plan to do each day. It can help make your daily life easier and more organised. Plus, a regular schedule gives a sense of stability and direction, which can help you navigate through each day. (1)
Besides, you'll need a schedule anyway if you intend to follow the succeeding practices.
2. Take Online Classes and Courses
One fool-proof technique to minimise the adverse effects of isolation is to make yourself busy. Doing so shifts your attention away from worries that can cumulatively lead to mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. You can do this in various ways, even when certain activities such as jogging or shopping are not plausible during lock-downs.
You can, for example, take online classes or courses. They’re available 24/7, and you don’t have to leave your home. These classes can keep you busy throughout isolation.
The best part about this activity is you can choose from countless topics or courses, so you don't get bored very easily. The courses you might consider could be hobby-focused but your time could also be spent taking career-enhancing courses, such as first aid classes. AustraliaWideFirstAid.com.au offers three qualifications, any of which would look good on your C.V..
3. Maintain Healthy Relationships With Your Loved Ones
Mental health experts would agree that a healthy relationship with your loved ones is essential to maintaining good mental health. Often these relationships are tested by the added pressures brought on by isolating in a health scare.
When you start isolating, it may seem manageable at first, but you'll come to realise the importance of companionship in life, especially in your mental health. It helps you feel supported, and having people who care about you makes it so you can share your concerns during trying times. Having someone to talk to — for both parties — is an excellent way to combat feelings of loneliness while in isolation. (2)
4. Consider Adopting a Pet From a Nearby Shelter
You've probably heard about the mental health benefits of adopting a pet. If so, then you better believe it. Countless studies confirm this to be the case — that having a pet can improve your mental health as well as encourage your physical activity. (3)
Pets can also provide you with more opportunities to socialise, exercise, and even reduce stress, all of which are helpful in boosting mental health. (4)
On that note, you might want to consider adopting a pet from a nearby shelter to provide you with the companionship you need to get through isolation with your mental health still in good shape.
5. Pursue Activities You Enjoy, Creatively
At some point during your isolation, you may notice that you no longer enjoy engaging in activities you used to love. It's one of the most common and unfortunate effects of isolation. Of course, you can always look for other activities, but chances are the same thing will happen again. As such, it may be better to just rekindle your passion for activities you haven’t done in a long time. You can do this by joining online communities and participating in online events related to your old hobbies. You can also share them with your friends.
Do you love photography? Try sharing your best images online. Is painting your passion? Teach your friends and show them the beauty of painting. You'll find it quite surprising how these small changes can drastically improve how you experience old activities.
6. Stay Physically Active During Isolation
It has been established that mental health and physical health are strongly linked, be it indirectly or directly. (5)
Ultimately, if you're doing well physically, you're less likely to have poor mental health, even in isolation. With that said, make sure you stay physically active by engaging in at-home exercises regularly. But remember, don't push yourself too much as it may lead to the opposite effect instead. Here are a few pointers to help you get started:
- Install health and fitness apps on your smartphone
- Look into suitable workout routines on the internet
- Join an online workout/exercise class
You are not alone when it comes to feeling the detrimental effects of isolation on mental well-being. If you're reading this right now, isolation has probably given you pause to take stock of its impact on your health. The fact that you’re taking the initiative to ensure your mental health rises to the challenge of these trying times is the reason this article is here.
- “Managing your mental health – the importance of establishing a routine,” Source: https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/Managing-my-daily-life/Coping-with-isolation-and-being-at-home/managing-your-mental-health-the-importance-of-establishing-a-routine
- “The Importance of Companionship,” Source: https://heritagehealthcare.co.uk/importance-of-companionship/
- “Beneficial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health and behaviour,” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1295517/
- “How to Stay Healthy Around Pets,” Source: https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/keeping-pets-and-people-healthy/how.html
- “The relationship between physical and mental health: A mediation analysis,” Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953617306639