Socialization is an integral part of human life; it is one of the things that enables us to express ourselves to others. When we are in isolation for any reason, this expressive ability is limited to us. If it continues for an extended period of time, one can naturally become anxious or feel emotionally low.
During self-isolation, it is easy to develop bad habits such as laziness, procrastination, and others. By the time you start imbibing these unhealthy habits, your physical and mental health would be negatively affected—the feeling of loneliness, anxiety, and depression kicks in.
It’s even worse if you’re already battling with an existing mental health issue, the symptoms may become worse during periods of isolation and disconnection from the outside world.
How to maintain Physical and Mental Health during isolation
One way to do away with unhealthy habits is to replace them with habits that are of benefit to you.
Here are some good things that you can do to stay mentally well as much as possible if you should need to self-isolate due to COVID-19 at any point in the time.
1. Keep a gratitude diary
A gratitude diary is a diary you write about all the things that you are grateful for; you can begin by reflecting with at least three things in your life that you’re grateful for. When you wake up in the morning, you could do this while having a cup of coffee or tea.
Thinking about the things you are grateful for conditions your brain to deliberately search for positive experiences which would lighten up your mood and make you feel positive, and contributes towards carrying this feeling of positivity into my day.
There is an enormous amount of research that shows how having a regular feeling of gratitude can have a positive influence on numerous social, physical and mental health. They include increased happiness, better social resources, build stronger relationships, and give better sleep.
It also helps reduce depression and is an elixir for toxic emotions such as envy and resentment.
Exercise is a good way to keep yourself busy and ward off negative thoughts and bad habits. Exercising not only gives an admirable physical appearance, but it also keeps you physiologically and mentally healthy.
It gives you a goal to focus on and strive for, and also a sense of accomplishment whenever you look yourself in the mirror.
Furthermore, it also helps you develop new skills, aesthetic confidence, and knowledge about your body.
During exercise, there is an enormous release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, which helps to boost your mood and make you feel pleasurable. 15 minutes of exercise every day could help reducing depression to an extent.
3. Mindfulness meditation
Although meditation comes with a lot of hard work, concentration, practise, and consistency, it is a very helpful practice that could help stay away from negative thoughts and bad habits. It helps keep your mental health in check and helps to reduce anxiety and depression.
When you start meditating, you may easily lose focus at first. But if you make it a consistent practice, you would surely get the full benefits that come with it, and it would be worth it at the end.
To make the task easier for you, you can practice for at least 5 minutes a day, and gradually increase the time in accordance with your concentration capacity.
You could also study books about meditation, watch Youtube videos, search for meditation-related articles to read online to help yourself out.
4. Positive reflection
Try to reflect on your day and challenge your brain to think of something positive that happened to you that day.
You really don’t need to thinking too hard! Sometimes, the blissful experience you had during your day could be really obvious to you. Furthermore, simply write down whatever comes to mind about your day, you could do so in just a brief sentence.
Just like the first activity, this process of stimulating your brain to revive a positive experience, helps you stay positive and keep a joyful mindset before you go to bed.
Keeping up with healthy practices during isolation.
Incorporating healthy practices into your routine can be challenging, but keeping up with these practices can be the biggest challenge you’ll face on your journey to wellbeing.
However, there are also some tips that can help you cope with the pressure of changing unhealthy habits and keeping your physical and mental health in check. Here are 5 of them:
1. Enjoy the process.
When you practice any of these habits, you want to do them in such a way that you feel they are authentic as you practice them and you feel fulfilled doing it as well.
In other to be successful in any of these habits, you need to have that comfortable feeling that it is something you want to do that is meaningful to you, and not just something you do because you feel you are obligated to do.
Maybe meditation is not your thing. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it, there are other options you could try.
2. Have in mind that little changes are easier to stay attached to.
You don’t have to work yourself out because you want quick results. It’s better to start by adopting just one of these practices and stay focused on that for a period, than trying to multitask yourself.
This way, you are likely to see the impact. By the time you feel comfortable with that practice, you can explore other activities that would help to promote happiness. Consistency is an important factor when establishing a routine and schedule.
3. To keep up with these habits for as long as possible, you have to create a basis for any of your activities.
For instance, if you want to include working out into your daily routine, you can start by working out 15 minutes a day, and gradually increase the time frame at your leisure.
But make sure 15 minutes is your basic time frame. Feel free to set any time frame for yourself; it doesn’t have to be 15 minutes.
4. Also, create an enabling environment for these habits to thrive.
Even If it means you have to do away with things that would hinder you from doing so, or do away with something you are addicted to but has a negative impact on you.
Good habits cannot thrive in a toxic environment, so once you decide to incorporate good habits and healthy practices into your lifestyle, have in mind that you must do away with the toxic environment.
5. Don’t be hard on yourself on moments you don’t feel motivated.
Always remember that motivation isn’t always there to do things sometimes, which is normal.
However, it is important to show some kindness to yourself when you are not feeling motivated. Take a break without getting to judge yourself. By the time you get your motivation back, do not hesitate to capitalize on it and build some momentum.
Avoiding self-criticism, and having self-compassion is very important to keep up with activities that improve your wellbeing
6. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself once your efforts towards developing good habits start paying off.
No matter how small the positive changes may seem, always celebrate them. Celebrating the small success gives room for bigger ones, as it pushes you to do more.