Looking at day 5 and speaking to friends, Cabin Fever is starting to set in for many, it is difficult to remain indoors when you enjoy the outdoors. I guess here in Spain we have many days and milder evenings to get out for walks on the beach, nature or social gatherings. It is common to see the retired sitting around in town squares “Plazas”, parks, joining in an evening walk “Paseo” with thousands of others of all ages most evenings. On milder nights you can see the elderly sat outside their door on the streets, watching all go by and socialising. I use the elderly as an example as its a continuation of how Spaniards tend to spend their lives, outside whenever they can.
I myself after a few years of illness have semi acclimatised to being inside a lot more, even so, not being able to when I feel I want to is quite hard and frustrating. Like most people the reaction of being told your not allowed to do something is different to knowing you cant do something due to illness or choosing not too.
I feel this isolation is going to be hard in coping with mental health issues that arise, it is well documented that depression often leads to self isolation not wanting to go out or participate, but what is going to happen with forced isolation? My guess is more mental health issues and depressions will occur through the lack of social contact, family and community support that many take for granted. We are forced to face ourselves with all our hidden emotions and fears and I feel many may look at at their partners during this time too and ask many questions around compatibility. In the end they will either come out stronger together or life as normal may not be possible, all of this adds to the fears, uncertainties, anger, frustrations etc. that all are feeling.
There have been some guidelines issued on how to take care of your mental health through this crisis in most countries. In a BBC article that has a list of recommendations how to limit the effects of developing problems. UK’s Nicky Lidbetter explains, the fear of being out of control and unable to tolerate uncertainty are common characteristics of many anxiety disorders. So it’s understandable that many individuals with pre-existing anxiety are facing challenges at the moment. “A lot of anxiety is rooted in worrying about the unknown and waiting for something to happen – coronavirus is that on a macro scale,” agrees Rosie Weatherley, spokesperson for mental health charity Mind. Also they state that many people recovering from OCD are being triggered by the constant reminder to wash hands which they associate with being ill.
Psychology Today has lots of good advice including how to practice self care. Mental Health Foundation has useful information on how to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. They also have a very useful article on how to talk to your children about scary world news during these times. Remember that your own reactions are teaching your young children how to cope in stress and a crisis, it will influence how they cope with life’s challenges long into their adult life
Mental Health Conneticut say that isolation can get in the way of everyday functioning throwing off sleep patterns, disrupting focus, and can affect both logical and verbal reasoning, they also state it can lead to a decline in physical health. So for many reasons mental well being is just as important as our physical well being during this crisis, so we all must pay attention to both.
As you can see it is crucial that we take care and assess our own mental state during these times, if you are struggling, you can find lots of help online. Take good care of both your mental and physical self if you are in lock down, they are as important as each other. Stay safe and take precautions to protect yourself and loved ones💜