Dealing With Stress During Quarantine

During this pandemic, coping with the disruption in your normal routine may be stressful. Isolation may leave you feeling like you have no control. You may feel cut off from the rest of the world and experience cabin fever, leading to irritability or emotional exhaustion.

There are some simple online tools to help you if you’re feeling stressed because of your job, loss of income, or health fears for yourself and your family. For some, this may have affected sleep or eating patterns.

You may be having difficulty concentrating. You may feel guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine. Money worries are real as well — you may be coping with less income, wondering who’s going to be bringing in the money, how you’re going to pay bills, whether you should dip into savings and whether you should take on anything new right now.

But the quarantine is a chance for us to come together, not just in small family units but even globally. Taking care of yourself, your friends and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others through their stressful moments can help make your community stronger.

What you can do to support yourself:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Avoid obsessing over endless coronavirus coverage — choose only credible websites, and use them for a limited amount of time each day, maybe two chunks of 30 minutes each.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and don’t overindulge in alcohol.
  • Make time to unwind — perform activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines — create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Stay active to feel better and maintain your fitness level — activity can combat the sense of malaise and boredom that can come from being stuck inside day after day. Check out exercise videos, bodyweight exercises, online workouts and fitness apps.
  • Find ways to stay occupied to provide a sense of purpose and competency, something to look forward to each day.
  • List some things you’d like to accomplish, and then start checking a few things off your list each day.
  • Stay connected — use phone, text, email, messaging and video calls to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Support others — reassure a friend who’s feeling stressed out or worried.

Remember too that you can reframe “I’m stuck inside” to “I can finally focus on my home and myself.” Doing one productive thing per day can lead to a more positive attitude. Set your sights on long-avoided tasks — reorganize, or take on a new challenge.