In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization have recommended that individuals who may have been exposed to the disease self-quarantine at home for 14 days. In addition, public health officials are recommending that healthy individuals practise social distancing, staying at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Following the advice of public health officials can help stop the spread of COVID-19, but if you don't take proper precautions, your mental well-being could suffer while you're quarantining.
If you're self-quarantining or practising social distancing, keep the following tips in mind to maintain your mental well-being.
Maintain A Routine
One of the best things that you can do to preserve your mental well-being is to stick to a routine. For example, if you're used to going to the gym before work, try to wake up early and get an at-home workout in before you go to work or start your workday from home. Maintaining as much normalcy as possible with your daily routine can help keep your mood as lifted as possible, and prevent boredom and distress from taking over.
If you have children that will be at home now, it's also important to create a routine for them. Whether they are practising virtual learning with their schools or if they will just be home, you should implement a structured schedule for them so they know what your expectations are. Try to limit as much screen time as possible and incorporate learning activities throughout the day.
Get A Good Night's Sleep
This suggestion goes hand-in-hand with sticking to a routine. While you're at home, it can be easy to go to bed or sleep in later than you typically would. Breaking your normal sleep routine can have negative effects on your overall mental well-being, so you should try to stick to your typical schedule as much as possible.
Spend Time Outside
Unless health officials give you explicit instructions to stay in your home no matter what, try to get outside periodically throughout the day. This could involve going out in your backyard or taking a walk around the block, but shouldn't include going to a park or other areas where large groups of people may be.
Being outside helps to promote higher vitamin D levels — a vitamin the body makes when skin is directly exposed to the sun. Many people are deficient in vitamin D, so exercising outside can be a great way to correct that.
If you have concerns about your mental well-being while you're in quarantine, please contact your mental health professional or find and contact your nearest Canadian Mental Health Association branch.