How I’m Managing My Mental Health While Self-Isolating

How I’m Managing My Mental Health While Self-Isolating

As anyone working with their mental health in the onset of COVID-19 knows… it adds an extra level. Kate explored a rethink of her routines, sleep patterns, access to medication and more.

As someone who struggles with mental health issues, I had a lot of concerns when the coronavirus pandemic broke. Could I continue my treatment regimen? How would I get my medication? Most crucially, would the stress derail the progress I had made?

I’ve managed my mental health while self-isolating by embracing the following techniques. I won’t lie and say that the road has been smooth. It’s been rocky — but with the right strategies, you can care for your needs despite the quarantine.

I Wrote a Daily Schedule

The first few days after transitioning to self-isolating, I was a mess. I didn’t know what to tackle or how, and I wandered through my days with my mind ping-ponging back and forth. I felt paralyzed — I was overwhelmed at what I had to do and had no plan for tackling it all.

One of the most mentally soothing activities I did was to create a daily schedule. I put everything on that bad boi — including times for eating and exercising, as well as my work to-do list. I feel so relieved now because I know what I have to do and when I have to do it. This system reduces my anxiety because I experience much less decision-fatigue when I have my day mapped for me.

I Got a Handle on My Sleep

The first few days after self-isolating, I revelled in my ability to stay up late. After all, I didn’t have to set my alarm, and the temptation to surf social media hindered my ability to catch my Zzzs. However, since I’m a morning person by nature, this lack of structure soon left me feeling unsettled.

I found relief by banishing electronic devices from my bedroom and picking up a standard alarm clock. The blue light from screens interferes with melatonin production and can make it challenging to fall asleep. I think that with most mobile phones you can adjust the blue light levels, but I also added a blue light coating to my glasses to mitigate the effects of these wavelengths, making it more possible for me to fall into bed when the workday ended.

I Took My Nutritution and Exercise Seriously

While everyone else was hoarding paper products, I went to the store and made like a squirrel. I stocked up on a ton of healthy foods, including nuts and seeds. Why? Many varieties contain high levels of magnesium, which is such a useful mineral for mental health and easing depressive symptoms.

One study examined magnesium supplementation on depression. One group added the mineral for six weeks while the other did not. Those who took the supplement showed a significant improvement in symptoms over those who did not.

My morning workout became my rock — it gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Plus, exercise releases endorphins, natural body chemicals that improve your mood. Working out also provides an outlet for anxiety. When the news grew too overwhelming, merely putting on music and dancing for a few minutes helped me break the tension.

I Kept Up With My Medical Treatment Regimen

Fortunately, my worst fears about shuttered pharmacies never came to pass, and I was able to fill my prescription without delay. I also feel immense gratitude for the wonders of virtual medical appointments. Because of the relaxed rules surrounding telemedicine amidst the pandemic, I was able to meet with my therapist via a video screen. Even my cat got in on my last session by making a cameo appearance, which provided welcome comic relief.

I Adopted a Yoga and Meditation Practice

I’ve always had a passing interest in yoga and meditation. However, during the pandemic, both have become my rocks. Yoga combines the benefits of physical movement with a heightened awareness of your breath. It’s said that some poses help to ease stress and fatigue and calm the central nervous system.

My evening yoga practice provided the perfect transition to meditation. You can gain the benefits of this practice for free, and on Mookychick, I found an article by Emmi Miller on doing yoga for cheap or free. All you need to do is find a quiet place where you can focus on your breath. Your thoughts will begin to intrude — this is natural, so don’t try to fight it. Do, however, acknowledge them and then refocus your attention on your inhales and exhales. Sometimes, I’ll use a free guided meditation on YouTube to ease me into sleep.

Can These Tips Help You, Too?

Like everyone, I’m dealing with tremendous levels of anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These tips are the practices that have been helping me to retain my centre despite the chaos in the world. I hope that they will similarly assist you in coping with this uncertain time.