If you are feeling this anxiety over the unknown, take a breath. Wendy emphasises that this anxious feeling is one that we can combat.
To avoid panicking or giving in to anxiety, we need to stay engaged, active, and productive – whatever that may mean for you.
“People in self-isolation can help minimise anxious thoughts by staying connected to others and being positive when interacting with others,” Wendy says.
“Maintaining routine in self-isolation is not only for maintaining productivity, but also good for mental health. Routine will help restore a sense of purpose and normality during self-isolation.”
Even small things like making your bed and getting ready each morning will help you to feel that sense of every-day routine – it’s especially good if you’re in self-isolation with another person, as they will likely appreciate your personal hygiene.
Wendy also points to a physical practice that can help us keep calm.
“Deep breathing is a useful and an effective technique to calm our minds in self-isolation,” she says. “Structuring the day to begin and end with breathing exercises will assist to start the day with peace and go to bed with comfort. Find a place where you can sit comfortably with your back straight. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Count slowly as you exhale. This is effective in relaxing the mind and body, and thus managing anxiety.”
Staying engaged and connected with others, maintaining a routine, making time for moments of peaceful practice – these are all good ways to keep calm during this crisis and to bring the best out of ourselves rather than the worst. By practising ways to manage anxiety, we can better enable ourselves to focus less on the challenge of our current circumstances and more on the time that will come when the pandemic has passed. As we think into the future, we can choose to do what we can now – practising self-isolation and good hygiene, being considerate of others as we buy, treating ourselves and each other with care – that will better prepare us for the days to come.
Remember that even if we are in self-isolation, we are still in this together.
If you or someone that you know is struggling with anxiety, help is available at Beyond Blue or through Lifeline on 13 11 14. JCU students seeking help can also book sessions with the free JCU Counselling Service.
Studying during self-isolation and need some help? Take a look at our resources that can help you with Learning Online.