How are you? To help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country, all Australians have been asked to practise social distancing. In some cases people are required to, or may choose to, self-isolate. Understandably, the challenges associated with social distancing and isolation, icnluding separation from loved ones, loss of freedom and reduced income, are leading some people to experience feelings of anxiety, boredom, frustration, and fear.
This article outlines some useful strategies you can use to maintain good mental health during this unprecedented time of social distancing and isolation.
Positive social connections are essential for our mental health and can help us cope in times of stress. In the current crisis, we are being asked to distance ourselves from others so it is important that we maintain our social networks using available methods of communication. This can be as simple as phoning a friend to share your experience, using videoconferencing technology to check in with a family member, or spending quality time with the people you live with.
At times, people will be required to self-isolate with others in their household. While this will provide opportunities for social connections, living with someone 24/7 with little or no time away from each other may give rise to arguments and/or tension. There are a number of things you can do to limit conflict with those who are isolated with, including:
While in isolation, it is beneficial to plan out your days to restore a sense of purpose and normality to your daily life. Schedule tasks such as cooking and laundry, as well as activities you enjoy to help you stick to your routine. Structuring activities around mealtimes and bedtime can also help you to keep your schedule while ensuring you eat regularly and get enough sleep.
Given the current need to practise social distancing and isolation, many people are also being encouraged to work from home where possible. Working from home can bring a whole new set of challenges and the need to provide structure to your day is even more important
Some tips to help you have a sense of normality and work effectively from home are listed below.
If you feel that the stress or anxiety you experience as a result of self-isolation is getting too much, a psychologist may be able to help. Psychologists are highly trained and qualified professionals skilled in providing effective interventions for a range of mental health concerns, including stress.
Go to findapsychologist.com.au if needed.