Mentally Healthy Self-Isolation

It is a scary reality that we must all be involved in curtailing the spread of COVID-19!

I still come across people who are in denial of the existence of anything called coronavirus.

It is psychologically anxiety-relieving to use the coping mechanism of “denial” as a means of coping with the stress and emotional turmoil that might accompany the acceptance of the fact that there is a deadly virus spreading across all spheres of human existence. The use of “denial” in this situation will be a danger to all of us. It will hinder many from deploying problem-solving measures which might help arrest the spread of the virus.

The practicable modalities for limiting the spread of this virus include the universal measures (for everyone) and indicated measures (for persons who are currently at a higher risk of the likelihood of haven been infected).

Some of the universal measures are infection control measures that should be part of our routine hygienic practices. These include; frequent washing of hands with soap and clean water, use of sanitizers, keeping a safe distance from sick persons who have potentially transmissible infections, environmental sanitation, and disinfection of places where a large number of people frequently pass through, avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated places, practicing social distancing, etc.

Some degree of paranoid or obsessive traits might be needed by all of us to be able to effectively protect ourselves and our loved ones. It’s better to be naively safe than to be arrogantly sorry later!

For those who are at a higher risk of the likelihood of haven been infected, there is a need to adopt the indicated measures. Persons in need of these measures include those who have recently visited places or countries where there have been reports of infected persons and those who have recently been in direct contact or potential contact by proxy with persons who have tested positive to COVID-19 infection. The most vital measure is self-isolation.

Self-isolation alone is not for someone who has been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 or anyone who is ill! Such persons need to be seen by qualified health professionals who are trained and well protected to be able to care for such a person’s health needs ASAP. For anyone who is ill but is not confirmed to be infected, the hospital will still provide the necessary care while putting in place measures to prevent the spread of the virus peradventure the individual is infected.

The phrase “self-isolation” sounds more socially relevant than the term “quarantine”.  An infected person can be without symptoms for up to 14 days after the initial exposure. During this period, the person without obvious signs of the infection can actively unintentionally infect others! That is why it is best to safeguard others by isolating yourself from physical contacts or proxy contacts with others. This should be done for up to two weeks after the period of your contact with an infected person, potential proxy contact situations or visit places with a high number of cases.

There is no health without mental health. Maintaining our mental health is also dependent on our physical health. Therefore, to remain mentally healthy and strong during the period of your self-isolation, you need to consider the following:

  • Food and Nutrition:
    • Stock up enough food that will last beyond your time of isolation. Some basic food items that are high in calories and can be prepared easily include rice, pasta, noodles, yam, and cereals. Canned foods of various types are available and can be procured to meet up with your protein needs.
    • Make sure you keep palm/vegetable oil, salt, sugar, and other condiments as it suits your taste. You can also keep fresh fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator. You must assume that there will be power outages. Hence, it is okay to keep canned vegetable or fruit juices which can be a reliable supplement for your nutritional requirements.
    • Ensure that you have a steady source of potable water for drinking and other hygienic uses. Don’t forget to drink lots of water as convenient as possible
  • Physical exercise:
    • Take time to do basic body stretching exercises in the morning and some running or walking on the spot as it’s convenient for you. This can be done for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.
  • Mental Exercise:
    • Avoid being mentally idle! It might take some time to reset your mind if you don’t engage in mental exercises during your period of self-isolation.
    • If you can still work from home in your self-isolation, try to do this.
    • If you can’t; get books to read, games to play (card games or computer games).
    • Document your daily activities and experiences in a journal.
    • Follow the news and happenings all around.
  • Remote social interaction:
    • Keep your phone charged with airtime, data, and power as much as possible. You can continue to interact with people on the phone for as long as and as often as you want to. This can only be limited by your battery running out or you running out of airtime or data. It is possible to have face-to-face interactions with video calls now.
  • Health Needs:
    • If you have any pre-existing health condition, you have to consider that. Ensure that you have enough medications that will last you through your period of self-isolation.
    • Keep some basic medications for common acute ailments. You should have drugs for treating malaria, diarrhea, headache or body pains, etc. These can only be used as a short term measure for temporary relief until you can see a doctor who can review you and give appropriate treatment if there is a dire need for such.
    • Have emergency helplines stored on your phone probably on speed-dial.

Self-isolation can be fun if properly done!

It can be a period for you to take a break from your busy schedule to reflect and meditate on your future plans.

Indeed, if you have to go on self-isolation, embrace it to enjoy it!!

Remain Safe and Sane; Help others do the same!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ola Ibigbami

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you sir for the article. At this point where no cure for this highly contagious virus has been found and only guaranteed measures is mainly preventive, it will be advisable that people abides by the rules. Hopefully, by God’s grace in no distant time COVID 19 will be a thing of the past.

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