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March 26, 2020

Coping with Isolation

During the stressful time we are going through as a nation due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the following are some useful tips for people to consider while spending long amounts of time at home as part of disaster management protocols:

  • Create routines and rituals for yourself to follow on a daily basis to help you protect your mental health and maintain your functionality
  • Listen to your favourite music – this is a great way of integrating relaxation with your routine, and can help declutter your mind
  • Read good books – pick reading material that will keep you engaged, take your mind off your immediate environment and transport you to another world. Look out for recommendations of good books from other people and consider looking for books online instead of just in hard copy
  • Exercise is essential for preserving good mental health, so try build exercise into your daily routine. Even small amounts of exercise, at home, can lift your spirits and have a good effect on your body and mind
  • Set time aside for meditation and quiet contemplation – even just 10 minutes has been shown to assist with reducing stress and maintaining mental wellbeing. Try schedule this before starting your day or just before you go to sleep
  • Despite people practicing social distancing and isolating themselves, having conversations with someone you know can help recharge you and give you fresh, helpful perspectives on the world
  • If you're a parent, playing with your children gives you the opportunity to connect to those closest to you. Through this, you will learn from and about them, which will help give your life meaning and bring you joy. Quality time like this is always a good investment!
  • Engage in “deep work” – where possible, create a distraction-free environment, focus on concentrating on one task at a time to be as productive as possible, and be proud of your accomplishments when you complete work
  • Sharpen your concentration skills and resist distractions. For example, avoid checking your phone every time you get a message
  • Take time to visualise, think and dream about important pathways for the life you want for yourself, review your goals, and refine them
  • Try limit your engagement with social media, as it offers little of value in return for the time you spend on it, and it could become addictive
  • Contact your managers or colleagues if you are struggling with being isolated

 Source: Masimanyane Women’s Rights International (2020). Staff contingency mental health protocol. Accessed at https://d3367578-f3ce-4c71-aaf0-dc484080cfc8.filesusr.com/ugd/15949a_5c3ec6d02ba54347a73652e1a9e6b741.pdf