Coping well during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation

If you’re feeling overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. We’re all learning to cope well during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. We hope this guide is beneficial to you and that it can help you stay healthy in the days ahead.

What are social distancing, quarantine, and isolation?

The following definitions are from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • Social distancing is a way to keep people from interacting closely or frequently enough to spread an infectious disease. Schools and other gathering places such as movie theaters may close, and sports events and religious services may be cancelled.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. It lasts long enough to ensure the person has not contracted an infectious disease.
  • Isolation prevents the spread of an infectious disease by separating people who are sick from those who are not. It lasts as long as the disease is contagious.

Understanding typical reactions to social distancing, quarantine, and isolation can be helpful. Reactions can include anxiety, worry, or fear about your health, the health of others, job security, financial security, and more. Some people may be worried about providing for themselves or others, and some people may experience uncertainty or frustration about how long the situation will last. Anger, loneliness, and boredom are also common experiences.

Coping well

Being aware and educated can help you cope well during quarantine, social distancing, and isolation. Here are some other ways to stay healthy:

  • Connect with others virtually
  • Stay informed from reliable sources but avoid information overload
  • Relax (try taking deep breaths, stretching, or going for a walk if you’re able)
  • Take time to do things you enjoy
  • Be aware of your thoughts and feelings (consider journaling)
  • Talk about your emotions and experiences with trusted loved ones

In these unprecedented times, simple things can feel overwhelming. Hopefully, these tips can help you cope well and keep hope. For more information, or to get information about professional services, please view this resource from SAMHSA.

This post was adapted from Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health by SAMHSA.

Amy Weiss

Written by Amy Weiss

Walker Methodist storyteller and marketing assistant

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