How To Manage Isolation Anxiety During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
The World Health Organization has officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. Social distancing and self-isolation have become the new norm, intended to ‘flatten the curve’ by slowing the hike in infection rates. With the uncertainty around when these measures may come to an end, many of us are feeling the strain. The impact of health-related anxiety affects more than just day-today-activities, but also takes its toll on long-term mental health.
It’s important to be pro-active in tackling any anxiety that surfaces as a result of isolation during a pandemic. This article is intended to provide accurate advice for those with mild symptoms of isolation-related anxiety. If you, or someone you know, is suffering from health-related anxiety, there are a range of support services available:
Health Direct Australia: 1800 022 222 or https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/
Mental Health Hotline NSW: 1800 011 511.
Mental Health Services Victoria: 1300 767 299 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm) or 03 9096 8287.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or https://www.lifeline.org.au/.
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or https://www.beyondblue.org.au/.
What is Self-isolating?
The Department of Health Australia recommends:
- All people who arrive in Australia from midnight 15 March 2020 or think they may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Stay at home or in your hotel.
- Monitor symptoms - including fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath. Other possible symptoms include chills, body aches, runny nose and muscle pain.
- If you develop symptoms you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment. Telephone the health clinic or hospital before you arrive and tell them your travel history or that you have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus. You must remain isolated either in your home, hotel or a healthcare setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.
- Cleaning - to minimise the spread of any germs you should regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched such as door handles, light switches, kitchen and bathroom areas.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
- Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and wash your hands.
- If unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people)
Being in isolation can be stressful, not to mention boring. Here is how you can manage isolation head on:
Keep In Touch
“To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
– Anthony Robbins.
With technology at the forefront of everyday life, staying in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email, video or social media is easier than ever. Keeping an open line of communication will help you feel more connected. Use this as an opportunity to reach out to someone who you have spoken with for a while – an estrange friend, a grandparent, or a distant relative.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
– Benjamin Franklin.
Learn the facts about COVID-19. The fear of the unknown can be worrying. Understanding the current situation, and what the government, authorities, and medical professionals are doing to combat coronavirus, will remove that fear.
“Boundaries are part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary.”
― Doreen Virtue.
Educate yourself about what’s going on, keep track of public health advice but don’t over-consume every piece of related content you scroll past. Sure, we’re in unprecedented times, but there are a lot of opinions, some more useful than others. There is also fake news to watch out for and alarmist content going around on various platforms. Separate the fact from the fiction, don’t let it consume every minute of your day. Focus the health and safety of yourself, family, friends, your community.
“A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.”
― Mason Currey.
Keep up normal daily routines, such as eating well and exercise. It can be tempting to sit on the couch all day, in your comfys’, binge watching Netflix and reaching for that 200th snack of the day (We’ve all done it). Keeping up a daily routine will not only give you a sense of purpose and boost your immune system, it will allow you to re-adjust to the post-quarantine world.
“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”
― Bell Hooks.
With so much going on it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself - emotionally, physically, nutritionally, and mentally. Take the time to pursue something challenging - learn a language, how to code, try something creative, set a new world planking record (8 hours, 15 minutes, 15 seconds) Not only is learning something new rewarding, it keeps your mind occupied and focused on the present.
What steps are you taking to managing isolation? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or, by email:
Remember, if you’re finding it difficult to cope with isolation and you don’t have anyone to reach out to in your support network, there are services out there you can contact (listed above).
Enrolled student at Macleay?
We’ve decided to expand our counselling services in response to the current situation.
Gabriela Di Natal – firstname.lastname@example.org – and Lynelle Scott-Aitken – email@example.com will be available via email Monday to Friday. They will respond to you within one working day. (Gabriela will also continue her scheduled appointments on Wednesdays that can be booked online.)
Please contact either Gabriela or Lynelle if you have concerns about your:
They're here to help you.
Stay safe and practise social distancing. Hopefully we’ll see you back on campus soon.
For further resources and information on what you need to know about COVID-19, visit: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19#selfisolation-selfquarantine.