Losing My Mind: Battle the Psychological Side-Effects of Self-Isolation

Ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) started labeling the COVID-19 global outbreak as a global pandemic, every government around the world advised its citizens to stay at home and self-isolate. The idea of confining yourself in a small space for who knows how long can be nerve-wracking.

Here are some of the things you may be going through during this difficult time and how to overcome them.

1. Cabin Fever


If you’re feeling bored, restless and irritable, it’s likely you’re experiencing what is famously known as “cabin fever”. A very common effect of self-isolation that even the most introverted of us suffer at one point. It’s like an itch you just can’t reach. The anxiety of staying at home for an indefinite amount of time can kill motivation and inhibit productivity.

Fight it off by shaking up your routine and trying something new for a change. There’s plenty of online resources that allow you to invest in new, cheap and affordable hobbies. This is also a good time to take out those dusty board games or deck of cards and play a few rounds with the family. Exercise doesn’t only boost dopamine levels but your immune system as well.

2. Anxiety


Businesses are all slowing down operations because of the outbreak and trying to figure out where they stand in the current market with everything closed down. You’re probably at home anxiously waiting for your boss to get back to you or have absolutely no idea where work needs to be done.

Reduce anxiety by setting daily goals for yourself. Anxiety and panic can leave you feeling all over the place, so take some time to sit with yourself and write down three – and only three – things that you have to accomplish today. And don’t forget your personal goals, they’re just as important as your professional ones.

3. Burnout


While we’re on the topic of setting goals for yourself, sometimes you’ll find yourself bogged down with too much work. Building momentum when working from home will make you feel like you’re on a roll, but you have to monitor yourself or you’ll soon be experiencing an emergency meltdown in your head.

Take a 10-minute break from the computer every hour and rest your eyes. If you can, setting milestones and taking breaks after completing each one will surely keep your motivation up instead of working for hours on end. Walk around for a few minutes during your breaks instead of gluing your eyes to your phone or computer screen.

4. Fear of the Unknown


With all the extra free time on everyone’s hands, freed-up schedules have unfortunately paved the way for over obsessing about the disease. Seeing all these doctors and medical professionals on the news perplexed about the virus are unsettling for everyone and will make you fearful of the future.

Try limiting the amount of time you spend browsing social media and looking up the latest news on the pandemic. Aim to spend no more than 30 minutes a day and only rely on trusted sources like who.int or cdc.gov for example. It won’t hurt to appreciate the Now instead of the Later as well, one way you can shift your focus to the present is keeping a daily journal or simply writing your emotions on a piece of paper.

5. Pessimism


Thoughts like “I’m stuck inside”, “The world is in chaos”, “I don’t enjoy doing work in the dining room” might have crossed your mind at some point. The world may look like a dismal place in times like these but take this work-from-home policy as an opportunity to focus on things you’ve been putting off because of your usual social and work obligations. Thinking too much about all the things that aren’t going right for you can only add to the stress.

Bring some positivity into your life by keeping a gratitude journal, or if you think that’s too much of a hassle, telling yourself three things your grateful for every morning. Reorganize your living space, get to work on those long-avoided tasks, learn a new language or create something you’ve always wanted to.

Battling your inner demons and fighting off the anxiety brought by self-confinement is no easy feat. Remember, you’re not alone. Find comfort in the fact that everyone around the world is going through the same thing and focus on making the most of your time at home.