Covid-19: 6 Practical Tips to Face the New Quarantine

Applications, yoga, self-care, eating at the correct times, exercising daily and taking breaks. A psychiatrist, an ophthalmologist and psychologists give tips to face the quarantine in homes due to the new wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

With millions of people currently in a new quarantine, the wave of Coronavirus infections has meant a setback similar to how we were a year ago. Mandatory confinement is not easy for anyone, according to Katherine Ferrada, clinical psychologist at Psyalive.com. The psychologist also pointed out that from this context an increase in the somatization of conditions has been generated. This can cause from eye fatigue to some kind of anxious or depressive symptoms.

A study carried out between the Catholic University and the Chilean Security Association showed that 45% of people who are doing telework are presenting depressive symptoms, compared to 31% who are with face-to-face work, figures that could rise in the next days.

Francisco Cerda, an occupational psychologist and CEO of GudCompany, says that many of those under quarantine do not carry out self-care routines. For him, the main point is “to grieve”, accepting that we are facing a serious situation.

Mental health must not be overlooked, so as not to face a burnout crisis, which is an extreme state of emotional exhaustion in the face of the situation we live in. Sergio Barroilhet, a psychiatrist at Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Chile, describes that self-care can be an “active behavior”. But it requires that it be planned and executed in a conscious and deliberate way. The psychiatrist summarizes four points what is essential for proper self-care: good sleep, eating at the correct times, exercising daily and avoiding alcohol and drug use.

Visual fatigue and exercises

The computer and cell phone screens generate the same effect in the brain, which is the decrease in melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle. If we do not take measures, we can find ourselves facing with situations of repeated insomnia up to visual fatigue. It is always advisable to turn off the screen two hours before going to sleep. Psychologist Katherine Ferrada adds that it is advisable to leave the phones silent once the day is over. Additionally, you can keep the mobile out of the room when resting.

Another tip, for those who suffer from insomnia, is to approach the paper, whether reading a physical book, leafing through it to distract yourself or writing what one did in the day. If we are having a problem caused by anxiety and anguish, writing what we are feeling helps us in other ways. Also, it relaxes you, allowing the body to sleep more readily.

Dr. Dennis Cortés, president of the Chilean Ophthalmology Society, says that when working for many hours focusing at a close or intermediate distance, a contracture of the ciliary muscle can occur. This modifies the shape of the natural lens of our eyes. That is why, he recommends that when working in front of the screen take breaks following the 20/20 rule. So take rest in every 20 minutes and look for 20 seconds at an object more than six meters away, and so on.

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Exposure to screens can also cause a lack of lubrication in the eyes. Cortés says that we normally blink 15 times a minute. And this is reduced to three or four times a minute when we are in front of the screen. To reduce discomfort and lubricate our eyes, it is recommended to increase the frequency of blinking or use artificial tears.

Self-care also requires physical activity, which is possible inside the house. In social networks there are many ideas and it does not necessarily have to be aimed at losing weight, but at the search for energy and movement. Constanza Núñez, psychologist and job coach, advises not to seek a highly demanding sport. Because the focus is on any act that releases endorphins. Putting on music and jumping while listening, singing, or going upstairs several times a day can help. You can also use the “Choose Living Healthy” time band to walk and keep your body active between 06:00 and 08:30. They can start using their clothes to do sports, and then leave very early the next day, giving small efforts that encourage healthy behavior.

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How to avoid conflicts

Quarantine leads us to adapt to an exceptional scenario, which puts family coexistence and relationships to the test. Ideally, it seeks to maintain harmony within the home. But since we are not made to be locked up, negative emotions such as anger, sadness, or anguish arise, causing conflicts. It becomes important to vent out these emotions and have someone with whom you can share your feelings. Sites like Camsurf can help you make friends with strangers and meet like-minded people with whom you can share your emotions. 

The contingency causes a share of structural stress, which leads people to be more reactive to problems. The psychiatrist Sergio Barroilhet explains that we do not have the possibility to regulate which spaces are private or shared, as they are isolated, especially families who live together in small physical spaces. The ideal advice is to plan private and common spaces in time, which allow the members to divide their day without interrupting the obligations of the other.

The psychologist Constanza Núñez, who is the mother of a teenager and a girl, both with online classes, describes that it is important to understand that each one has a different routine. But there must be spaces for coexistence, either at lunchtime or to discuss the problems that may exist. It is must to generate a balance and also respect when the other has obligations.

The second thing that the psychiatrist proposes is that in a crisis context it is not good to fix underlying problems, but it is time to sustain relationships.

Four recommended apps

Training in 7 minutes: Described by the New York Times as an app that offers “the maximum results with the minimum investment”. Training in 7 minutes, available for IOS and Android, delivers a series of routines based on the circuit training intensity, being a safe and efficient way to improve fitness. The app has 30-day exercise plans, all of them lasting 7 minutes, to make sport a daily habit.

Sei: For many, meditation can be associated with yoga. But it is not necessary to practice a sport to relax your mind before going to sleep or starting a day of work. Sie is an app with more than 100 free guided meditations. To learn this through sessions that are made up of 7-day series, or some singles for all times, along with music to rest and meditation to sleep better. This will help in a few minutes to improve concentration and relax the mind.

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Focus To-Do: If the intensity of your work has increased, you cannot let your obligations be forgotten. Using the classic Pomodoro timer, Focus To-Do allows you to manage the time you have on tasks. Also, this allows use of the passage of time to focus on your work and study. The app creates reminders for important tasks, as well as monitors the time spent at work, and define rest times. So you should not miss them. One of its faculties is to synchronize activities with the phone’s calendar, allowing access from anywhere.

House-party: Not everything is sport or concentration. When it comes to apps to get together with friends and family, house-party is one of the most popular. Offering free video calls of up to 8 people, it facilitates connections. Being an app different from those used to work like Zoom or Google Meet, notifying if a friend is connected to chat and join the conversation. In it you can play UNO, sing karaoke and other group activities, which from virtuality will make your free time more entertaining.

Yoga and self-containment

Yoga is important to “self-contain ourselves”. Through daily practice of yoga, we let go and dis-identify from our mind to move on.

If we stop and park in our inner Being, Consciousness or Beingness and let those thoughts pass, we prevent them from leading us to anxiety or fear or insecurity. Also, we will conquer a space where everything is calm, still and infinitely spacious. The practice of yoga is achieved with meditation, only by stopping we are telling our mind that it is not in control. And then we find that loving and eternal space that is our conscience, from where life becomes safe and confident.

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