It is very difficult to sustain our mental health and wellbeing in a state of isolation, especially for those of us who rely on getting out of the house to structure the day. For me, a lot of my motivation comes from a self-made regime involving meeting others and getting out and about. I’m mindful that when I don’t leave the house on a typical day I can very easily slip out of any kind of routine.
After the first few days in isolation I realised that this was going to test me. I stayed in my pyjamas, didn’t move very much from the sofa and my self-care diminished quite quickly and went promptly out of the window. I was lucky enough to recognise I had to actively motivate myself. By the third day I had to force myself to shower, change my knickers and even to brush my teeth. This may seem simple and grotesque but it is a very real issue that impacts a lot of people who are prone to mental health issues.These basic things can do a lot to protect our mental wellbeing.
Self-isolation for a person with agoraphobia and depression provides the ideal scenario for the irrational fear to fester and potentially worsen. Adapting and sustaining a routine is one of the most important things we can do to maintain and protect our mental health during this period. Please do seek reassurance in the fact that adjustment takes time, it may not magically happen overnight so we have to remain mindful not to berate ourselves for this.
It is paramount that we all remain mindful to sustain a social environment, even if it is the virtual kind. I never thought I would see the day where I would actively advocate technology and digital media. For the first time I am beginning to see the benefits of living in the digital age. Social media is coming into its own, at least for me, for the first time. It is a lifeline, enabling us to ensure we are all staying safe, checking in with friends and family and helping us all to stay above water. It is times like this when it is important to ensure we are taking care of ourselves and others. It is important to remember to be kind to ourselves and mindful not to berate ourselves or beat ourselves up in this period of adjustment.
It is times like this when I really do recognise my enormous privilege to be living where I do in the comfort that I do. I realise others do not have the same. Acts of kindness that may previously have been overlooked are highlighted and a shift in mind-set may be on the horizon. Humility and selflessness may restore some faith in humanity and have potential to heal the divisive, crumbling nature of certain aspects of our society.
It is times like this where we learn about the kindness in others. Our resilience and integrity will be tested and there will be times when our fear trumps calm. We are only human. We can grasp the opportunity to build and adapt our ways for the good. Realising and honing our skills and resourcefulness in a new way, unifying humanity in a figurative sense to collectively rise up together in times of uncertainty.