Psychological Effects of Quarantine, How Quarantine Stress Affects Your Body

With the worldwide pandemic, and the exponential spread of COVID-19, world leaders have been left with no choice but to respond with a mandatory lockdown for individuals all around the world. The quick response time of imposing the lockdown has increased the effect and impact of stress that has been induced on people, which has in turn, taken a toll on many people’s mental health. Being in quarantine or knowing someone in quarantine can be a scary feeling and a stressful experience where many people do not know what to do. For the duration of these times, it is especially important to be looking out for those people who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis than others, as everyone can cope with stress differently. The different levels that the psychological impact of quarantine can bring may effect many people around the world. During times of stress, it is crucial to take care of your mental health and body and ensure that you are feeding it with the necessary nutrients it requires, along with regular exercise

The link between stress and spending time in quarantine can be associated with post-traumatic stress symptoms, resentment, and even increased anxiety. Many individuals have feared for their own health or have increased fear of the infection of others. Boredom and frustration have been a large contributing factor due to the confinement and a loss of regular routine, and the reduced social and physical contact with others. People are social creatures, and we tend to really value our relationships with people, therefore, the stress of social distancing has put a huge toll on individuals as we may feel helpless or lonely, which could negatively restrict our ability to cope effectively with stress. Stress can affect the body in countless ways and comes in many forms, and when it comes to managing and dealing with stress, it is not necessarily the easiest emotion to cope with, especially when it comes to the unknown. Continue on reading for some examples of forms of stress, and how to cope with these measures of stress

Physical Symptoms of Stress:

    • Headaches: High levels of stress are linked with headache symptoms. The impact that the amount of stress levels is associated with increased headache frequency
    • Depression: The link between stress and depression is known to be contributed with the development of this disease. Whether the levels are high or acute, stressful life events are a key link to impact the mental health state 
    • Libido Changes: Stress effects on the body have been known to negatively impact sexual desire, enjoyment, and arousal 
    • Increased Heartbeat: High stress levels have been associated with causing a quicker heartbeat/ increased heartrate
  • Increased Sickness: Stress is known to be a huge negative effect on individuals’ immune systems. With increased level of stress, it can be associated with the increase of susceptibility to infections 
  • Decreased Energy: Decreased energy levels and chronic exhaustion are linked with persistent stress. Stress is known to disrupt sleep and can even cause insomnia in many people
    • Chronic Pain: Aches and pains are a common response to stress, that can result from the increased level of stress for many individuals
  • Digestive Issues: It has been found that stress may be negatively impacting digestive issues such as constipation and/or diarrhea in the human body
  • Changes in Appetite: Stress can effect the body with extremes of either no appetite at all, or the complete opposite where one may possibly be binge-eating. The changes in appetite could cause fluxes in weight during stressful times

Tips on How to Cope with Stress: 

  • Take care of your body: Take deep breaths, meditate, stretch, ensure to exercise frequently, get plenty of sleep, avoid excessive alcohol and/or drug use. Lastly, try to maintain and eat healthy nourishing meals
  • Take Steps to Deal with Your Emotional Health: Taking care of your mental health will assist your levels of stress and will allow you to think clearly and respond to the critical needs to protect not only yourself, but your loved ones also
  • Know the Steps to Take if You Get Sick: If you or someone you know is concerned about getting, or have gotten COVID-19 during the pandemic, ensure to contact a health professional before taking matters into your own hands
  • Take Breaks from the Stress of the Incessant News Coverage: Hearing about the pandemic constantly can increase stress in a lot of people. By taking breaks from listening to the news outlets, and/or continuously checking social media on the topic of COVID-19, you can ensure that stress can be reduced when you focus your mind elsewhere.

It can be hard to cope with stress, and the experience when recovering from COVID-19 or ending the home isolation. Everyone may feel differently about it and can experience many sources of stress. The psychological effects of quarantine stress can affect the body in countless ways and comes in many forms. Managing and dealing with stress, even though it is not necessarily the easiest emotion to cope with is crucial during a pandemic. Sometimes we do not know who to turn to when it comes to increased feelings of stress and anxiety, and this can impact our lives very negatively. The time we have spent in the pandemic has been shown to cause significant psychological stress in many forms, especially depressive symptoms, or even worse, PTSD. Psychologists, public health officials, and psychiatrists are needing to react appropriately, and give the attention of this issue and continue to work to identify the issues that affect the success of quarantine and basic infection control practices. Not only is it up to the professionals to offer additional support to those people who are at increased risk for the psychological effects of quarantine, but it is important that we as a community continue to care and look out for one another and learn to manage how quarantine stress affects our body.