Due to COVID-19, we’re all practicing social distancing, and some of you may be under a 14-day quarantine to see if you develop coronavirus symptoms. It’s for our health. So why does it feel so unhealthy? When you’re in self-isolation, it’s easy to develop bad habits. But if you start letting these unhealthy habits take over, your physical well-being and mood are negatively affected, letting you spiral into loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
1. Disconnect From Friends And Family
Social relationships have positive impacts on your behavioral, psychosocial, and physiological health. When you’re lonely and don’t have strong social connections to friends and family, you’re more likely to experience illness or depression. According to a study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, “Adults with cardiovascular disease who were socially isolated had a 2.4 time greater chance of having a cardiac death than an individual with strong social ties.” If you’re in social isolation, it’s easy to feel like you have no connection to your friends and family.
2. Melt Into The Couch
It’s easy to lose motivation and melt into the couch all day everyday when you’re stuck at home. But exercise and moving your body helps keep your mind sharp, your mood bright, and your body healthy. Exercise increases your serotonin, the chemical in your brain that regulates mood and keeps you happy. If you’re a constant couch potato, you’re less likely to feel motivated to achieve other goals you may have for the day and more likely to let the stress of social isolation bring you down.
3. Never Leave Your House
It’s important to review the guidelines that are set in your area. However, in most cases, you’re allowed to walk outside around your home and in your neighborhood as long as you stay six feet from other people and don’t congregate in groups of four or more. With these restrictions in place, you may be tempted to just say “Forget it!” and stay inside. But your body needs fresh air, nature, and sunshine for both your mental and physical well-being.
4. Spend Every Second With Your Household Members
Are you socially isolating with your family, roommates, or friends? It’s great to have company during this time. With other people in the house, it’s a lot easier to play board games and it’s more fun to watch a movie together. But for your mental health, it’s important to take a break from each other and experience some solitude.
5. Change Your Eating Schedule
Before social isolation, you probably ate breakfast, went to work and ate lunch, then came home and had dinner with your family. In this new world of social isolation, everything feels a little off kilter, so it probably feels normal to maybe have breakfast, then snack for a while before you eat lunch. Maybe you add another meal in between out of boredom, then make a big pasta dinner and fresh baked cookies since there’s nothing else to do. But messing up your eating schedule may lead to overeating, making you gain weight and feel pretty icky about your isolation status.
6. Change Your Sleeping Schedule
With everything else in your life thrown on its head, your sleeping schedule is also bound to suffer. If you’re not heading to work like you usually do, it’s tempting to feel like everyday is a vacation. You may stay up late binging on Netflix or scrolling through Facebook just to feel connected to the outside world. But your sleep is a major factor in your immune system’s health, which is what you need to fight off this virus. According to the Mayo Clinic, in periods of reduced sleep, your body’s infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced.
7. Work Long Hours
If you’re fortunate enough to have a job that allows you to work from home during this time, it may be hard to shut off your work brain. Working from home bleeds your home and work environments together, which can blur boundaries between the two. Without many plans to leave the house, you may be tempted to just work all day and night. But long work hours can screw up your sleep schedule and make you miserable.