Quarantine (separating well people who have been exposed to the virus, to see if they become ill) and self-isolation (separating people who have symptoms so that they can’t infect others, including close family members) are sometimes needed to prevent the spread of a virus in a community including close family members.
Dealing with isolation
People placed in quarantine or self-isolation may experience a wide range of feelings, including fear, anger, sadness, irritability, guilt or confusion. They may find it hard to sleep. Some people might feel relieved. Humans are social creatures and need connection to others to thrive, which can make isolation challenging. The following suggestions may help you through this challenging time:
- Create and stick to a schedule for work, leisure, chores, meals, physical activity and sleep.
- Many people will not be able to work when they are quarantined. Explore if your employer will allow you to work from home and attend meetings via teleconference or videoconference. Keeping busy with day-to-day activities can be helpful. Loss of income is a major source of fear and not everyone has a supportive work environment.
- Catch up on other tasks or projects at home.
- Do things that you normally love to do (e.g., crosswords, puzzles, reading, TV shows, listening to music).
- Think of ways to stay connected to other people – by videoconference, phone, chat or text. Talking to others and sharing how you are feeling is important. So is asking for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- As much as is possible, prepare healthy meals and drink lots of water.
- Stay physically active: go online to find exercises you can do at home with no equipment.
- Practise relaxation or meditation.
- Stock up on groceries and supplies ahead of time if possible, including dried pasta, rice, canned foods, hygiene products, medications and toiletries.
- Plan ahead with family or friends to get additional food and supplies if you are quarantined.
- Use delivery services to order groceries. Your local grocery store may offer this service.
- Ask your pharmacy if they can deliver medications you need, or plan ahead to make sure you have enough medication to last through your quarantine. If you take opioids to treat either chronic pain or addiction, make sure that the pharmacist and prescriber are available to ensure an uninterrupted supply of your medication.
- Keep a list of important numbers, including your doctor, public health, pharmacy and hospital.