Countries are locked down, people are practicing social distancing, and healthcare systems are reaching their maximum capacity – the whole world is currently struggling to cope with the novel COVID-19. Regardless of where you live or what you do, the virus probably disrupts the usual routine and dominates over your life right now.
As the COVID-19 epidemic might be a new source of worry, many people struggle with the realities and fears of being cut off from the outside world. This article draws attention to possible ways to counterbalance the effects of social isolation to keep you safe and sane during uncertain times of the pandemic.
Plan Your Day & Stick To Routine
For some people, the idea of staying indoors might seem like a dream come true, while for others self-isolation may fill them with dread leading to several mild mental health issues.
Research in social epidemiology indicates that the deficiency of positive social relationships has significant effects on broad-based morbidity and mortality. Evidence shows that loneliness enhances sensitivity to social threats and encourages the renewal of social connections. Still, it may also damage executive functioning and sleep, as well as mental and physical well-being. Together, these effects can cause a strong risk factor for morbidity and mortality as obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and high blood pressure.
Obviously, self-isolation won’t be necessary forever, so the impact on mental health is likely to be much less severe. However, some individuals that are staying indoors can have difficulties with sleep, face feelings of restlessness, sadness, or lack of motivation.
To combat these issues, it’s vital to maintain a structure in your daily life. Having a determined schedule for mealtimes, working hours, and bedtime might help you to stay on track. What’s more, planning out activities within a day and setting goals can help to keep you motivated and prevent you from feeling down.
Enhance Your Immune System
Research on the effects of loneliness shows that if people experience a lack of social connections, they are more likely to deal with physical health problems. For instance, lonely people have elevated peripheral vascular resistance and increased blood pressure. Also, the study toward social isolation and loneliness suggests that social isolation could be associated with increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the body’s method of signaling the immune system to protect itself against viruses and bacteria as well as heal and repair affected tissue. Researchers found that people that are socially isolated have higher levels of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen. These inflammatory chemicals in long-term presence in an organism can contribute to an increased risk of health deterioration over time.
The great news is that the time of self-isolation needed for the reduction of coronavirus shouldn’t result in any crucial changes in optimal immune system function. Nevertheless, since there are no official medicaments, treatments, or vaccines that can fight off COVID-19, yet it may be a good idea to strengthen the main natural defense of your body — the immune system.
Eating a healthy diet, avoiding stress, regular physical activity, getting quality sleep, and proper use of supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, and Zinc can help here. What’s more, some people tend to use alternative ways to boost the immune system. As cannabinoids are found in different systems of the body, the immunity can also work correctly by the functions of the endocannabinoid. Cannabidiol (or CBD) is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is responsible for essential body processes, including the regulation of the immune system.
CBD also possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can come in handy for reducing inflammation as most of the autoimmune diseases are caused by inflammation. Additionally, CBD is considered an immune suppressor, meaning it has beneficial effects whenever the immune system is weakened or hyperactive.
Keep In Touch With Your Loved Ones
Another reason why isolated people may feel anxious is that they can’t count on the support of friends or families to share their concerns face-to-face and help them cope with stress or challenging situations. Studies also show that social isolation results in several behavioral alterations like increased risk of anxiety-like behaviors and alcoholism. These changes are consistent with the altered function of the basolateral amygdala (BLA), including high alcohol seeking.
During self-isolation try to stay in touch and spend more time with your social network by phoning a friend for a chat through FaceTime or Zoom, sending someone a message or email, or texting via social media. Friendship and social integration have been shown beneficial effects on mental health and wellness due to a sense of belonging, comparison, self-esteem, and received social support. They also protect against mental diseases by inhibiting the effects of stressful events.
Research looking at physical activity and well-being has suggested that more than 150 minutes of weekly exercise have improved self-reported mental health. Regular physical activity can also decrease symptoms in individuals that are subjected to psychiatric disorders and diminish the risk of developing depression and psychological imbalances in healthy adults or people with chronic disease.
Whether you practice yoga, running, stretching, or just walking, any physical activity can help you to relieve anxiety, improve mood, and make you more calm and grounded.
Find a suitable activity that can fulfill your needs and search thematic YouTube channels, tutorials, or blogs that can help to keep fit and stimulate better mental health without leaving your home.