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Isolation, Stress & COVID-19

Isolation has been widely described to increase aggressiveness, stress, and drastically alter behavior in many animal species. The brain is a vital organ and it is susceptible to change under genetic and environmental influences. Social isolation acts as a stressor, and exposure to it can result in an individual showing symptoms of anxiety, depression, memory loss, schizophrenia, and epilepsy.

COVID-19 has led to a situation where more people are quarantining and self-isolating in recent times than ever before. The result is many people feeling the impacts long-term solitude can have on mental health. It's imperative for public safety to maintain social distancing for the time being. However, it’s equally important that people take the right steps to reduce stress and stay mentally healthy during these times of distancing.

 Increased stress levels have very real negative impacts on your body. It keeps your body in a constant “flight-or-fight” response. Meaning hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released. More information on the long term negative effects these hormones have on your brain can be seen here. Stress will also result in the grinding and clenching of teeth during sleep. This damages teeth, causes pains, headaches, and can potentially lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. This is defined as pain and compromised movement in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. If these symptoms sound familiar, you can inquire about getting a night guard from your dentist, this will consistently prevent further harm from grinding. To learn more about TMJ click here

Dealing with stress isn’t easy, and it’s based much more on one's state of mind than the things they do. There is no way to force stress out of your life, this can just as easily result in more of it. That being said, some of the best things to do for stress include:

  1. Exercise
  2. Schedule time for Self Care
  3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
  4. Quarantine doesn’t mean Isolation
  5. Remember the 90:10 rule.

 

Isolation and Quarantine where seemingly foreign ideas a few months ago and now they’ve become a reality. Adapting to the circumstances is the best way to keep moving forward during these odd days. This is why it’s important to actively care for yourself and do what you can to reduce stress. When things are neglected, they get worse, not better. Active attention and work towards the positive will help us come out of this quarantine better than when we went into it.

Author
Patrick Garbowski

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