COVID-19: 16 ways to emotionally prepare yourself for self-isolation at home

How to emotionally prepare yourself for self-isolation at home

How can families emotionally prepare themselves for quarantine, especially if the isolation is happening in their home where their loved ones are just a room away? Dr Lee Kingma explains...

Hands separated by glass
Hands separated by glass/ iStock

The American Psychological Association reports that social isolation carries a number of mental health risks. Feeling isolated can lead to poor sleep, poor cardiovascular health, lower immunity, depressive symptoms, and impaired cognitive thinking. When our cognitive thinking is impaired, we might find it more difficult to focus, manage emotions, remember information, and take care of ourselves.

Knowing this up front can help families combat the effects of isolation. How we plan for quarantine will depend on family circumstances such as who is living in the home, the ages of the children, and the availability of carers.

The following guidelines might support families who need to quarantine:

READ: Severe symptoms to look out for when self-isolating

- Be vaccinated to minimise further risk of the COVID-19 virus to family members.

- Communicate to children with age appropriate information why it is necessary to isolate.

- Ask for help. Family and friends are usually willing to take children to their own homes or for an outing during this time of need.

- Finding creative ways to connect with others is vital to coping during isolation. Extraverts need this even more than Introverts.

- Slip love notes or children’s drawings under the door to those who are isolated.

- Use social media responsibly to connect with others but do not succumb to ‘Doom Scrolling’ – the addictive habit of staying on social media for lengthy periods of time.

- FaceTime or WhatsApp video those who are isolated at dinner times so they feel included.

- Plan a fun activity for the family for when isolation ends.

- If children are isolated, keep them entertained with puzzles, deliver fun room service with treats and a flower on the tray.

- Stay busy by planning activities – a short course or watch a series or documentary on a topic which you have always been curious about but never has the time to explore.

- Connect with others who are in quarantine to create a support group. Supporting others in times of need has the effect of making one feel more positive.

READ: KZN govt should review its COVID-19 isolation plan - SAMA

- Create a structured plan for the day.

- Eat regular and healthy meals.

- Build an at-home work out into your daily schedule to keep your body moving – this stimulates serotonin which is the chemical in the brain.

- If you are feeling depressed for a lengthy period of time; make use of online therapy. Sometimes we can be vulnerable with a good friend, but if the feelings of sadness are overwhelming, we should seek professional support. 

Taking charge and planning for quarantine will give you a sense of control during these times when we feel that the virus is controlling so many of our decisions and scuppering our plans.

Dr Lee Kingma
Dr Lee Kingma/ Supplied

More About Dr Lee Kingma

As a former HR executive at Juta Publishing for 13 years, Lee has coached and mentored employees in managing their careers successfully in dealing with the complexities of life and the world of work. She has consulted both in SA and internationally.

She holds a Doctorate in Human Resources Management and a Master of Business Administration. She completed professional coach training at UCT and is registered as a PCC coach with the International Coaching Federation. She is a published author of ‘What’s you Tribe – Using the Enneagram at work and life'.

During the last four years, she established her own practice, focused on leadership, resilience, and coaching at both executive and middle management levels.

Life Purpose

"To bring hope and clarity to my clients using my powers of resilience, humour, and life wisdom so that I, my family, and all whom I connect with may have more ease."

Recently, Lee has been supporting many clients virtually, both individuals and groups, within vastly different contexts, to ‘Cope while in Cocooning’ during the lockdown period due to the pandemic.

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