• Chas

Protecting Your Mental Health in Isolation

Updated: Mar 8

How to Take Care of Your Mental Health During Hard Times

If you’re like me, time has essentially halted and life as I know it currently does not exist. This downtime and isolation has been eye-opening in many ways, but it has also taken its toll on me mentally. I thrive on human interactions, getting out, meeting new people, and doing new things daily, but having to stay inside your home, as blessed as that may be, can be difficult especially for those who have mental health issues.

One of the reasons this has been challenging for me mentally is the fact that isolation is a huge consequence, for lack of a better word, when dealing with depression. For me personally, when I am dealing with a depressive episode, my immediate response is to isolate myself and deny human interaction. It’s the need to suffer alone in silence. It’s the need to not defend why you are no longer motivated or pursuing things that make you happy.

I push people away and become a hermit, which essentially is what we are all being asked to do currently.

It’s safe to say that majority of us responded in the same way when asked to social distance and stay home. First, it seemed like a nice escape from our tiring daily routines.

If you work full- time or multiple jobs, the idea of staying home and Netflix-ing it up was awesome for the first day. Then came the realization that the majority of the country isn’t able to work remotely and produce an income.

Well, that staycation ended real quick. The magnitude of this new reality hit us all like a ton of bricks.

I think what has made it worse is per usual, the lack of factual information. Things are changing every 4 hours, if not less, and no one knows what’s happening or what will happen a few hours from now.

This lack of information alone is enough to send someone into a downward spiral, hence the lack of toilet paper in the world…Still trying to understand that one.

My situation like anyone else has its struggles. I live in my parents’ guest house. They both are high-risk if this were to come near them, I’m a single mom with limited supplies, my income is heavily reduced, and no one is taking this as seriously as they should be.

My biggest fear is not being able to provide my child with enough nutritious foods, but I want to avoid the markets and leaving the house as much as possible because this can’t touch my family.

People are hoarding unnecessary items, they’re all in the same mindset of delivery is best, but with that being said, no one can adequately prepare or function.

What this has taught me is a lot about survival of the fittest, mentally and physically. We have found some incredible resources and ways to get what we need when we need it and prepare efficiently, but not everyone is in that same boat.

Not everyone has a family of 4 others backing them up and coming together to make sure our unit is as strong as possible. Another thing it has taught me is how much of a Ride or Die my family is. We are all together (parents and two brothers) and keeping tabs on each other every moment of every day.

Making sure we’re working our brains, or bodies, and our emotions. Making sure we don’t fall into the victim mentality which is so easy to do right now. For anyone who is 100% on their own right now, I commend you. This is incredibly difficult being in isolation, but it is the only thing we need to do to survive this as a whole.

So, to protect your mind during this challenging time, here are my tips for keeping your positivity flourishing and the negativity at bay…

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Get Outside as Often as Possible

Being isolated in your home can feel very claustrophobic and suffocating. Having to stay home and reduce your time being a part of society isn’t healthy for anyone, so getting outside is CRUCIAL. Go for a hike in your neighborhood, take a walk, go on a bike ride, take a drive blasting music with your windows down, lay in the grass in your backyard and listen to music, read under a tree, lay in the sun and get Vitamin D.

If it’s raining like it has been in Cali, take a scenic drive and bring lunch or snacks with you and have a car picnic, bundle up and read outside under an overhang, etc.

Stay Social!

Social distancing is difficult and no one wants to do it, we know, but it is so crucial right now for the safety of humanity. As humans, interaction is key to our mental well-being. Social interaction reduces depression, anxiety, increases our feel-good chemicals in the brain, and is a great distraction from any stress in our lives.

When that is taken away, it can feel extremely daunting and lonely. So make sure you are staying extra social with your friends. FaceTime, Skype, have a virtual date, dinner parties, play games like charades or Cards Against Humanity, etc., get creative, and have fun. Do virtual workouts on Zoom, have a cooking party on Skype, the options are endless.

Take a Social Media Detox

I don’t know about you, but A. I’m sick of people not taking this serious and actively showing they are not participating in social distancing and B. Seeing people post “throwback Thursday” posts about this amazing trip they had to Bali isn’t making the whole, “stay in your home” thing any easier.

Take a little detox and fill that time with activities that will stimulate your mind. Read, write, draw, paint, get creative, attend a webinar, learn a new skill or trade, get a degree online. Scrolling won’t make this go by any faster or make it any easier.

Journal Daily

It may sound silly, but journal the shit out of this time. Write it all out. Document what’s happening, how it is making you feel, what it is teaching you about yourself, about us as humans, about our democracy, about the world.

Just write it down and make it as detailed as possible. You will look back on this time with a new sense of fondness for realizing how incredibly historic this period is for us and to know what it was like for you will constantly remind you of lessons learned and hardships overcome.

If you don’t want to write about this pandemic, journal about things you are grateful for and things that made you smile. Journal about things that upset you or were hard. Just get the emotions out of your soul and on to paper.

Create Routine

Having structure in a time like this where there is essentially none to be had is so necessary for not only productivity but for a sense of accomplishment and self-discipline. Now, this isn’t to say you can’t spend a few hours binge-watching shows…If that is what your soul needs, do it, but little things like what is listed below will help keep you grounded, positive, and motivated on using this time to your advantage:

1. Wake up at the same time every day 2. Eat a healthy breakfast while being mindful of making your food last 3. Work on something or learn something each day at a certain time 4. Plan something social that you can look forward to doing either on FaceTime or Zoom 5. Do something restorative daily like meditation, working out, or relaxing

Get Ready for the Day

Honey, this is not the time to wear the same clothes for a week straight. Keep your morning routine of waking up and getting ready for the day. Wear leggings for all I care, but do your hair and makeup or whatever it is that prepares you for the day. It will change the way you feel immediately. Also, make your damn bed! 🙂

Move, Often

There are so many fitness videos available to you literally any kind of workout you want is at your fingertips. Workout or move daily. You NEED to get those endorphins and dopamine flowing to keep the depressive thoughts at bay. A healthy body will only be of benefit to you during this time.

Focus on Sleep

Make sure you aren’t sleeping crazy hours. Get your regular 8 hours and that’s it, but make sure you are getting that restful sleep in to help combat stress and anxiety.

This time is confusing, it’s hard, it’s weird, and it is draining. The comforting parts of it are that we are literally all in this together, we have the ability to flatten the curve, and we are capable of overcoming this because we are strong and honestly we have no choice. We have to deal with this whether we want to or not.

Your experience during this time is completely up to you. Utilize this downtime to level the fuck up! Go do amazing things in the comfort of your phone and prepare yourself for coming out of quarantine looking like a hot CEO summer babe.

What are you doing to stay busy and with it during this time? Let us know in the comments!

Love you guys! Stay strong.

XO, Chas

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy: 25 Journal Writing Prompts for Mental Health The 7 Best Apps for Mental Health 5 Foods for Helping Depression

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