Across the globe, health authorities have warned of rising anxiety and stress levels as a result of home confinement and worry about the COVID-19 virus. In the UK, for instance, around 50% of adults admitted to feeling anxious about home confinement, and in the US, the CDC warns that this type of outbreak can be very stressful for people, causing strong, sometimes overwhelming emotions.
If you are struggling to cope with isolation, fear of getting ill, or worry about health workers on the frontline, you might find the following tips useful.
There is a fine line between being informed and obsessing over the news and the progress of the virus, so it is important to be honest with yourself regarding how much exposure you can take.
If you find that you are refreshing news pages every few minutes to check out the COVID-19 curve in your area, give yourself rules regarding when and how often to stay informed. Some experts recommend that you read the news every few days or once a week.
Keeping Things Clean
Knowing you are in a clean and tidy home environment will enhance your sense of safety and security. As anxiety levels rise, you may be tempted to go overboard with the cleaning.
You can clean your home daily, but when it comes to preventing viral contagion, the main surfaces you need to be vigilant about are: doorknobs, light switches, kitchen surfaces, and other areas that everyone in the home uses. These should be cleaned with a sterilizing solution that is effective against bacteria and viruses.
Any time a family member returns home, they should ideally leave footwear outside or disinfect shoes, wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, and place clothes in the washing machine. Doing so will help lower everyone else’s anxiety about sharing a living space.
Embracing Natural Stress Busting Methods
Home confinement has meant that many traditional outlets for stress - including enjoying a game of tennis with a friend, meeting for dinner, or attending a Zumba class - have not been available, and although restrictions are beginning to ease, there may still be activities you're uncomfortable with.
There are many activities you can still carry out from home, however, and now is a great time to try app-based or online yoga or meditation classes. These holistic pursuits have been found in study after study to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Try out apps like Calm, Headspace, and Pocket Yoga to hone the techniques required for controlled breathing, mindfulness meditation, and yoga asanas.
In addition to specific stress-busting activities, you should also try to stay active, embracing activities outdoors such as running, cycling, and walking, to avail of the calming effects of nature.
Those who are more inclined to do floor work can try Pilates or take part in the plethora of online aerobics, HIIT, strength, and other types of classes currently being offered free online.
Afterward, exercise a little self-kindness by soothing tired muscles with a Thumper Massager. You can also use your massager prior to your workout to warm muscles up and increase blood flow to specific muscle groups.
If you have been feeling anxious during home confinement, you certainly are not alone. Worrying about oneself and others is to be expected during a health crisis that has taken thousands of lives. Connecting with others, enjoying outdoor exercise, and embracing holistic activities can help. So, too, can keeping your home clean without stressing yourself out unnecessarily by going overboard.