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Mental Health During Quarantine

Aaron Baker
Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
05/28/20  6:45 AM PST

Staying Active & Connected

It has been 5,218 days of quarantine and I do not know about you… but I find myself struggling at times with days that turn into weeks, and a routine which can become uneventful. Let’s face it – when we were dealt the hand of “spinal cord injury” we all lived a secluded, quarantine lifestyle. Our days ran together, we had limited exposure to friends and family, and any change in routine became the highlight to focus on. In a way… we are pros by now. However, that does not make it any easier, and it is especially important to make sure we are keeping our mental health in check.

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed each May in the United States since 1949 (however mental health is important all year long!) The purpose is to raise awareness of different disorders such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and depression. Depression and the consequence of non-treatment can lead to self harm or suicide, which is one of the leading causes of death for those living with a spinal cord injury.

A few things I have been doing to keep myself active and social (but safe) during quarantine are:

1.    Active Routine

Change it up! Flavor is the spice of life after all, and who wants to be stuck with the same workout day in and day out? I try to do something physically active at least 5 times a week and I pick something new each day. I am lucky enough to have mobility in my lower legs and can use a recumbent bike, climb some stairs, or use my walker in the neighborhood. I also have a Nu-Step at home, along with weights and bands. My wife and I like to get in the pool or hot tub together for relaxation and stretching.

2.    Put down the phone and remote

If we stay glued to our phones, computers or TVs we miss out on another beautiful day which makes it easier for us to excuse another day spent inside! Staying inside with our devices limits our exposure to productivity, healthy eating, a good night’s sleep – and it can consume our thoughts and emotions. I know I have fallen victim to watching too much news and waking up frequently in the middle of the night with unreasonable fears that are out of my control. However, what I can control is the time I focus on those activities and what I choose to expose myself to.

3.    Start a project

Remember those goals and lists we all made in January for what we would like to accomplish in 2020? Well, what’s stopping you? Plant that garden, paint that wall, write that blog, start a YouTube channel. We have the time, might as well do something productive with it!

4.    Connect with friends and family

There are great Apps out there to connect with your loved ones like Zoom, Houseparty and Facetime. Virtual happy hour, game night and birthday parties can all be enjoyed even if we cannot physically be in the same space.

 

By changing up our routines, and seeking adventure in our own communities, we make better choices with food, sleep and consumption.

If you are feeling depressed, anxious or suicidal, please contact a health care professional immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is
1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Remember that you are not alone, and things will get better.

We are all in this together!

Explore more articles on Shield HealthCare’s Community site:  www.shieldhealthcare.com/community

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I have c6 injury and I have lots of spasm in my whole body. What can you suggest to help?
Rahul
I have found that consistent stretching, light exercise, plenty of water, quality food and rest all affect my spasticity.


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