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How do you maintain your state of mind during confinement?

How do you maintain your state of mind during confinement?

Published: 13 April, 2020 - Updated: 1 February, 2021 | 3'

Anxiety, stress, sleep disorders... Can the global health crisis upset our mental balance? 

This is the question that a team of professors from the Faculty of Psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid are now trying to answer. The research team, who work in collaboration with the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, are conducting a study to see how social isolation affects our mental health. To this end, they are monitoring the effects of confinement on a group of 2,000 people representative of the 17 Spanish autonomous communities.

Social isolation affects our mental health and sleep quality

The first research results from the first week of confinement, March 15-22, seem to confirm that social isolation has an impact on our psychological balance. 

In fact, the authors of the study point out, in an interview with the EFE Agency that has been recorded by media such as Acta Sanitaria, that a high percentage of people, in a number still to be determined, have symptoms of anxiety and/or distress, and a slightly lower percentage also have sleep disorders or depressive symptoms. 

The researchers believe that this kind of psychological condition is likely to disappear as soon as we recover our lives. But as long as the confinement situation continues, what can we do?.

Ideas for maintaining mental harmony during confinement

We provide you with several tips that will help you maintain your mental balance during this period of social isolation.

  • Organise your day to day. Our body likes routines. That's the reason why it's important to plan what you're going to do every day. A good option is to write down in a small notebook the tasks or activities that you are going to do, so your mind will feel more relaxed and you will avoid the feeling of anxiety.
  • Avoid over-information. Information is good, but over-information is not so good. Looking constantly for information in newspapers, radio, television or social networks will only make you more anxious. Just limit this search for information to an update in the morning and another, if you like, in the afternoon, but never before you go to sleep.
  • Put your most creative side to work. Cooking, handicrafts, gardening, restoring furniture or simply reading, writing, watching a good film or series, recording a video, contact with your family and friends thanks to technology... will help you not only to be busy, but also to feel better.
  • Take some physical exercise. Being locked up at home, from the chair to the couch and from the couch to the bed, is not good for our organism. There are lots of free activities you can do online that will help you keep your body fit. You do not need to run a marathon in your living room. Just moderate physical activity can help your body release endorphins, a hormone that helps maintain your mood.
  • Take care of the quality of your rest. The above-mentioned research carried out by the Faculty of Psychology of the Complutense University of Madrid shows that confinement has a negative impact on the quality of sleep. To prevent this, it is good, as we said in point 1, to get back into a good routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time, even if you do not have to go to work, and avoid using mobile phones, tablets, computers and televisions in the room... in short, anything that prevents you from falling asleep.
  • Keep an eye on your diet. Some foods contain nutrients that help regulate your mood. These include foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid vital for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our mood. Foods high in tryptophan include cheese, lean meats, fish, legumes and nuts.  
  • You can supplement your diet with supplements to help your emotional balance. Some nutritional supplements that contain tryptophan or melatonin in their ingredients can help modulate moods and sleep-wake cycles.