Isolation is, well, isolating – facing the same four walls and folks for weeks plays havoc with our emotional health.
With pretty much all of life’s pleasures locked down, it’s no surprise if you’ve found yourself seesawing between anger, anxiety, and every cranky feeling in between.
A cancelled Zoom call with friends can send you spiraling into a pit of loneliness; a casual remark from your family might get you fuming for hours.
Sound familiar? Having strange swings of mood is understandable when their real target – this damn crisis – is beyond our control.
In these helpless times, we might not be able to master an outside world turned terrifying – but we can keep hold of our own inner balance.
Sujay Seshadri, Life Enhancement Mentor at award-winning Koh Samui health resort Kamalaya, shares five practical tips for coping with quarantine mood swings with us.
1. Learn to let goSujay Seshadri, Life Enhancement Mentor at Kamalaya. PHOTO: Kamalaya
When the world is being shaken up, the key to staying grounded lies in embracing the chaos.
"Accepting that we’re living in circumstances we have little or no control over – that’s the first step of dealing with it," says Sujay.
Clearly, that’s easier said than done for us certainty-loving humans.
"Our mind needs stability," Sujay acknowledges. "Yet this is exactly what we’re lacking now."
His advice? Draw two circles – one inscribed with the things you have under control, the other containing things you don’t.
Chances are, you’ll discover that there’s much more you can control within your life than you realise.
Not only will this give you a confidence boost, it’ll help you refocus on what you can change.
2. Protect your alone timePHOTO: Kamalaya
Have you been snapping at your family for minor stuff these days – interrupting your work call, leaving a mess in your space, heck, even for breathing too loudly?
We all need a little solitude for mental health, but privacy is in shorter supply than toilet paper these days.
To carve out alone-time for each family member, it helps to define rules or set a schedule.
Living aboard a cramped ship, Sujay tells us, sailors in the old days had a golden rule. A sailor with a glass of rum – which he received at the end of a gruelling workday in the ship’s mess – was not to be addressed by anyone.
It’s a handy system that will work at home just as well (substitute rum with your poison of choice).
Find a way to tell others that you strictly don’t wish to be bothered – a do-not-disturb-badge, for instance.
A little respect for one another’s me-time goes a long way in soothing frayed tempers.
3. Know when to walk awayPHOTO: Kamalaya
If your emotional weather is stormier lately, part of the reason why might be influence from others’ black moods.
Cooped up together, it’s tough not to get swept up in your loved one’s bad moods – and vice versa.
This is especially true if you’re usually the one trying to keep the family happy.
"If you feel your mood taking a plunge, stop what you’re doing and change your location by going into a different room," Sujay says.
Once you’ve gained a bit of distance, let yourself embrace all that raw, ugly emotion.
"Tell yourself that it’s alright to feel what you’re feeling. Learn to relax with the emotions. When you become relaxed enough, you can walk out of that room and literally leave those negative feelings behind you."
4. Listen to your body
It’s never just all in your head – our minds are intimately connected with our physical states.
With isolation throwing our regular routines out of whack, your mood swings might stem from a lack of sleep, exercise, nutrients, and so forth.
If you suspect the issue is nutrient deficiency, consult a doctor or try supplements like Vitamin B, Vitamin C, zinc, and calcium.
Consider taking up meditation and stress release exercises as well for a dose of much-needed endorphins.
To get started, you can check out the video above for a guided positive visualisation meditation led by Sujay himself.
5. Live for something greaterPHOTO: Kamalaya
Perhaps the worst thing about lockdown is the uneasy sense of life being on hold – aimless and empty for the moment.
To help yourself regain a sense of larger purpose, why not look outward to the community?
Donate and volunteer to help those in need during the Covid-19 crisis, send care meals to your loved ones, or pick up new skills to upgrade yourself.
Simply striving to spread joy, Sujay affirms, is "a gift that you are giving to everyone – including yourself."
This article was first published in City Nomads.