Mental and Physical Effects of Quarantine

Travis Freeman

In the United States and other countries around the world, the COVID-19 virus has introduced a number of changes to the way people live their daily lives.  In an attempt to contain the virus, state and city officials have established set guidelines for people who believe they may have been in contact with the virus.  These guidelines encourage people to isolate themselves from others for a specific number of days. So, schools and work places have been closed to confine students and workers to home.  This period of isolation that is meant to prevent the virus from spreading is referred to as quarantine. 

Quarantine is effective when people follow its guidelines. Isolation has proven to be effective in containing a virus within large groups of people. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention on social distancing, quarantine, and isolation reminds citizens that isolation is all about separating sick people from healthy people. One main tip for those being isolated is to avoid large and small gatherings in private and public places.  Although quarantine may appear to be a good idea to contain a virus, people can be mentally and physically impacted from being isolated.

What is one mental impact

According to an article titled The Psychological Impact of Quarantine and How to Reduce it: Rapid Review of the Evidence, quarantine “was an unpleasant experience due to the separation of loved ones.”  Being quarantined for a period of time by isolating yourselves can take a toll on a person.  Individuals who are quarantined may blame themselves for coming in contact with the virus and placing family members in danger.  This mental burden that is placed on quarantined persons can be relieved if friends and families continue to show them love and acceptance. This will avoid those who are in quarantine from feeling lonely and unloved.  In fact, we must remind those who are quarantined to avoid labeling themselves as irresponsible since this could lead them to withdraw from meaningful friendships and relationships.

        Physical activities, such as exercising, may decrease when people are quarantined indoors. Research has shown that a lack of daily exercise could affect a person’s health. In a New York Times article, Dani Johnson, a physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, encourages people who are staying home to get creative. This means every bit of movement count. If you are confined in your homes you do not need any fancy gym equipment, you simply have to weave exercising into your schedule.  Johnson goes on to say if you’re watching a television show and a commercial comes on, then do some squats. Doing this will help you to maintain your health and keep your body strong to fight off the virus.  Occupying your time with an exercise activity may be a way to involve everyone in the home, who may be tired of quarantined. 

How do we reduce the mental and physical effects behind quarantine? 

According to an article in The New York Times by Anna Goldfarb, during this time of isolation you can still take care of yourself.  A pulmonologist at U.C.L.A. health by the name of Dr. Russell G. Buhr stated, “a good mental health promotes a good physical health”. That taking care of your mental is essential.  Some of the possible effects of mental health are fear, sadness, numbness, anger, confusion, and stress. All those are possible effects but there are ways to reduce and cope with quarantine. As it relates to physical activity, one way is if you’re working from home, you can schedule some days as your regular workdays. Or, you can make different routines and so not every day has to be the same routine. Also, in an article from Verywell Mind written by Kendra Cherry talks about ways to reduce and cope with the effects behind quarantining. Overall, quarantining yourself at home can help prevent the spread of the disease but it does not mean that coping with confinement in the home is easy. Especially, if the isolation has been imposed upon you and it is not your choice. 

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