Self-isolation: How to handle your mental health when dealing with COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread at a rapid pace, people of the UK are strongly advised to self-isolate between seven and fourteen days when symptoms of the virus begin to show. With 600 cases already confirmed in the UK, coronavirus has caused a huge surge in anxiety, depression and OCD for the people of the UK, and is further severely impacting those with existing mental health conditions.

The process of self-isolation includes the affected individuals having to remain indoors, making sure to have no physical contact with people outside. These self-isolation and social distancing periods alongside wider concerns surrounding coronavirus have caused a huge surge in stress and anxiety for the people of the UK and is further severely impacting those with existing mental health conditions- in particular those suffering from anxiety and depression. This is particularly concerning as 1 in 6 people already report experiencing mental illnesses in any given week, without the threat of coronavirus.

Gerard Barnes, CEO of mental health treatment specialists, Smart TMS, gives his insight on the mental health implications of self-isolation caused by coronavirus and provides tips on how to prepare emotionally.

“It is certainly important to take the necessary precautions to protect one’s physical health given the circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19. However, the mass media coverage, distribution of inaccurate information and the constant barrage of precautionary health advice has the potential to severely impact the nation’s mental-wellbeing, specifically those already suffering with chronic anxiety, depression or OCD.

Stay Active

When self-isolating, it is important to make sure that you stay active. Avoiding gyms and exercising at home for approximately three hours a week can help to fight symptoms of mental illness. In a study of 8,000 men and women, it was found that people who were less physically active were more at risk of anxiety and depression. The more exercise you do, the lower your risks of depression; this risk would fall a further 17% with an additional 30 minutes of daily activity.

Talk about your feelings

Not being in close proximity to people can have a negative impact on your mood and energy levels. However, it is important to make sure you talk about your feelings with loved ones to improve your mood and make it easier to deal with these stressful and lonely times. Regular text messages or even video calling family and friends are certain to have a positive impact on your mood.

Eat well and stay hydrated

Make sure to think about your diet carefully- this is vital to both your physical and mental health. If your regular routine changes or you are less active than usual, your blood sugar levels are certain to affect your mood and energy levels, so be sure to eat healthily and drink enough water to ensure your body is in its best condition.”