Using the quarantine to your advantage

quarantine

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Érica Ferreira de Albuquerque, 26 years old, fourth year medical student at Centro
Universitário São Lucas, in Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Life is no longer the same. Schools and colleges with suspended classes, closed shops, changes in the pace of social relations, an economy weakened by a pandemic that has no expiration date. The situation in which we live is unprecedented and puts us in constant contact with our insecurities and weaknesses. Anxiety, the feeling of uncertainty, stress due to isolation are feelings that take over.

Although much is said about the spread of the virus, confirmed cases, number of deaths, exhaustion of the health system, little is said about how to preserve mental health at this critical time. Especially in Brazil, parents who, according to WHO, have the largest anxious population in the world, it is a challenge to further filter this daily vortex of negative information. So, how to adapt your routine to live isolated and mentally healthy?

Even if everyone loses quality of life during the pandemic, we can find ways to alleviate anxiety symptoms and add good habits to this new routine. An example: if you like to read, how about looking for books that you wanted for a long time, but did not find time to devote to them. If you don’t like to read, how about trying?

Another valuable tool is to practice meditation. It helps to connect the body and mind, in addition to being able to be practiced anywhere in the house. Technology can also be an ally in the quest to fill the voids in isolation. It has instruments to bring people together that the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus have naturally removed. Call your grandparents, make a video call with your cousins ​​or friends, write a long email to someone special. Why not?

Besides, you can also venture out and discover new hobbies. Painting, drawing, cooking, for example, can make quarantine less frustrating. Are you sure you know all your talents? Create a chance to discover new skills. Isolation can also be a way of connecting with nature – build and plant a vegetable garden, buy a plant for the living room.

Isolation cannot be an excuse for a sedentary lifestyle. You can exercise by climbing stairs, dancing and even improvising a range of weight training using household items like weights. You can also study and learn other languages. Several platforms offer online courses – some even free – as a way to encourage knowledge and help with professional training.

If you still find it difficult to take this new routine alone, don’t be afraid to consult a professional. Take therapy online, for example. Several psychologists are attending virtually and there are still those who do it for free.

And lastly, avoid the bombardment of information during quarantine. Too much negative news is one of the main triggers of anxiety. Remember to cultivate positive thoughts and that you are not alone. Life may not be the same, but we can do our best to overcome this phase.

About the author

Érica Ferreira de Albuquerque, 26 years old, fourth year medical student at Centro
Universitário São Lucas, in Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil. Member of IFMSA Brazil's Standing Committee on Health and Sexual and Reproductive Rights, including HIV and AIDS (SCORA) since 2019. She loves helping people and really believes that knowledge saves and changes lives.

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