How to Survive the Quarantine and Have Fun?By Alessa Flores | Thu, 04/16/2020 - 12:52
On March 23, the Ministry of Health implemented social distancing measures that put many in self-isolation. Twenty-five days have passed since then. However, the expected resumption of activities that had been announced for the end of April was extended to May 30, while those municipalities without COVID-19 cases resumed activities on May 17, 2020. The media have spoken of different effects on society derived from quarantine, from positives like flattening the contagion curve to negatives due to the impact on the economy. However, little is said about the impact that quarantine has on people's lives from a psychological point of view.
According to philosophy, humans are social beings who need to live and function in society to fully develop. The Greek philosopher Aristotle was one of the intellectuals who stressed the social role of humans, as well as their social and linguistic function. Therefore, for the Greek philosopher, socialization is the secret to learn to talk, to walk, to coordinate into structured groups and classes that we know as families, communities and states. This is the reason why periods of isolation and restriction of prolonged movements resulting from quarantine can have negative effects.
According to Asturias Parkinson's Association, we adults may feel more resistant during isolation but in fact, we are more vulnerable than children. A study conducted in Wuhan after 15 days of quarantine revealed that 42.6 percent of the 18,000 respondents had signs of anxiety. About 16.3 percent of people showed signs of depression and nearly 40 percent were subjects of episodes of anxiety during isolation.
Uncertainty, isolation and social esteem influence the psychological state of people and, without measures to manage them, can lead to feelings of confusion, anger, post-traumatic stress, frustration and even violence, according to the Asturias Parkinson's Association. Thus, the longer the quarantine duration, the bigger fears of infection, frustration, boredom, inadequate supply, lack of information, loss of purchasing power and the stigma attached to infecting third parties.
However, negative symptoms do not have to be as extreme and can be somewhat "silent." For example, people can feel from melancholy to apathy, through thoughts of worry and even irritability. People may also be more irascible in the face of small unforeseen events or frustrations, which may be signs that they are experiencing a moderate degree of stress (conscious or unconscious), according to Álvaro Bilbao, writer and doctor in health psychology trained as a neuropsychologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London.
For this reason, specialists recommend staying connected with your partner, friends and family, in addition to establishing routines that increase your sense of security. In the absence of routines, create new ones, as using discipline helps to gain confidence and cope with all kinds of crises.
It is also important to limit our exposure to the media. This does not mean that we do not inform ourselves but rather that we use official information media and stay away from sensationalist media that can generate fear, stress and frustration. Moreover, it is important to engage in physical exercise and carry out at least 20 minutes a day of any activity that is to your liking and, above all, try to maintain a positive attitude.
Several companies have joined efforts to offer digital services for people, some free and others with a cost. For example, the sports club Sports World launched on its official Facebook a routine schedule of various types of sports activities at no cost. Teather Bar el Vicio, offers cabaret theater functions through the Zoom platform at a cost of MX$400 (US$16.5), while Airbnb migrated to online experiences that include meditation with Buddhist monks, coffee tasting classes, rescuing goats from a distance, drawings by cartoonists and many more experiences. The important thing is to stay active and busy during these difficult times.