How to Cope with Panic During Isolation


Worldwide, we are experiencing a crisis most of us have never experienced in our life time. It’s turned lives upside down. And when you’re isolating or in quarantine, it is really easy to feel stress and panic. You might notice that it gets worse over time, the longer you spend alone or without your normal socializing. If you are feeling like your panic is getting worse, here are some tips that can help.

We all have different triggers that cause us to feel panic. For some it comes on more easily than others. Each person is “wired” differently. One person in your family might enjoy being alone more than another. Or one may feel more afraid of the potential threat of exposure to a virus than others. It’s important that your family communicate and support each other during this time. Communication helps to know how you can help each other as well as know when phone therapy would be helpful. There are some things you can do to help get through it and calm those feelings of panic and stress.

Tips on Handling Panic Feelings

Get Information From Trusted Sources Only

Stop getting your news and information from social media. You need to look at trusted sources only. Not only will these reduce how often you are absorbing the news, but it allows you to get only the facts, without all the opinions and commentary. This can be reassuring as you don’t need to know people’s take on what “might” happen unless it is based on facts.

Some reputable sources included the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

I would, also, like to add this: don’t overwhelm your emotions with too much reading or watching the news. Watching news shows, reading articles and talking about it for long periods may over load your mind and emotions creating a feeling of panic or stress. Watch enough to stay informed and then go on with your daily life to stay occupied.

Set Up a Normal Routine

When it comes to isolation or quarantine, no matter why you have to isolate, it’s important to keep a normal routine. When you find yourself spending long periods of time at home, the panic sets in when things are off. Things you usually did each day or week may not be possible anymore. This disruption in your routine unsettles you emotionally. For example, those who are used to to going out with friends everyday experience feeling “stir crazy” or trapped. This can worsen to feeling panicky.

To combat this, try to create a routine that is the new temporary normal. If you can include some elements similar to what your routine was prior to isolation, that will help tremendously. For example, if when you were working outside the home, you always ate lunch at 12 pm, try to do the same thing now. It will feel more familiar, and can often ease a little panic.

It may be tempting to lay around, binge on television shows and eat junk food. But, that disruption of normal can set you up for trouble. Little exercise, lack of quality sleep and bad food choices can set you up for problems with stress or panic.

Take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods. Get enough sleep. Shower and get dressed. There’s no reason you shouldn’t being doing these things as you did when you weren’t practicing social distancing.

 Focus on What You Can Control

You can’t do anything about what is happening in the world right now, except keep yourself and your family safe.Instead of worrying about what you have no control over, just focus on what you CAN control. You have a lot in your life that you need to take care of for you and your family. Focus on those priorities. Don’t over worry about things you have not control over.

  • Set up a schedule to do homework with your kids.
  • Get some exercise. Learn Yoga or start an exercise program. Take a walk where you can have social space.
  • Cook meals at home. For many families, eating out one or more times a week is the norm. Now you have the chance to create a new norm of cooking and eating together.
  • Give yourself some quiet time to read and relax.
  • Doing other self-care. Pamper yourself a little more with a home pedicure or facial.
  • Use your time together to have some fun. Bring out the board games, craft projects or even puzzles.
  • Spend time in your yard growing a garden, grill out on the patio or playing outdoor games with the kids.

These are things that are good for your mental and physical health, and that you have full control over.

Work with a Mental Health Professional

If you have severe anxiety that is leading to panic, then you might need to talk with a mental health professional through telephone therapy. There are many therapists who work remotely that you can talk to on the phone or online, if you are not able to leave your home and visit their office.

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