Staying Mentally Well in Quarantine and Isolation

While it is necessary to protect your physical health and the health of others in quarantine and isolation, it is also equally as important to protect your mental health while you are away. Social isolation can bring up feelings of loneliness, sadness, lack of autonomy, loss of control, heightened stress and anxiety, difficulty managing emotions, and even numbness. Below are a collection of tips, strategies, and resources to help you cope effectively in quarantine or isolation.

Stay Connected and Reach Out

  • It can be hard to stay connected when you are in quarantine or isolation. The following ideas and resources can help you fight feelings of loneliness during this time.
  • Reach out to a friend or loved one you haven’t connected with recently.
  • Find a pen pal. Write and send handwritten letters to each other.
  • Schedule a video or phone chat every single day with someone you care about.
  • Check in with your residence hall.
    • Talk with your Rector or RA.
    • Find out the virtual activities or get-togethers available in your hall.
  • Communicate your needs directly.
    • Are you feeling lonely? Are you feeling scared? Are you having a rough day? Talk to someone. Friends, family members, residence hall staff, Care and Wellness Consultants, professors, mentors, campus ministers, religious leaders, University Counseling Center staff, and more are all here to help.

Take Care of Your Physical Health

While this might seem like a no-brainer, because social isolation can have effects on your sleep and eating patterns, and a strong foundation of nutrition and healthy sleep patterns is crucial to your mental health, it is extra important to practice the following:

  • Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, even on the weekend.
  • Eat regular and consistent meals and snacks every day. Your brain, body, and immune system still need fuel, even if you are less active than normal. You can also try to schedule a meal with a friend or family member over FaceTime.
  • Listen to your body.
    • Rest when you are tired.
    • Monitor any symptoms you may experience, and consult with a medical professional and member of the COVID-19 Response Unit (CRU) when necessary.
    • Take medications as prescribed and follow medical advice.
    • If you are feeling well enough to exercise, incorporate movement that is safe, fun, and feels good to you!

Structure Your Time and Establish a Routine

If you are in quarantine or isolation and are feeling physically well, try to structure your day in a way that feels familiar to you. If you are ill, please make sure you are getting plenty of rest and following doctor’s orders, which likely means your daily schedule will look much different than normal.

  • Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, and get ready for the day as you normally would.
  • Create a schedule for the day. Include your class times, meal times, time to complete homework, time to virtually connect with others, and time to engage in pleasant and self-care activities.
  • Set an intention at the beginning of each day and connect it to your values. For example, “Today I will pursue my value of connection by Facetiming with one of my friends.” or “Today I will pursue my value of health by doing a 30-minute in-home workout.”
  • Recognize that whether you are symptomatic or not, this is a stressful and difficult situation, so you may notice that typically easy activities may be a bit harder to complete and you may not be as productive as usual. Give yourself some grace and be patient as you navigate your quarantine or isolation.

Resources

Campus Support

National Support

  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin (SAMHSA) Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text TREVOR to 1-202-304-1200
  • National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Helpline: 1-800-931-2237
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Disaster Distress Helpline:1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746

If you are in a serious and imminent life-threatening crisis, call 911 immediately or go to your nearest Emergency Room.