Why is it recommended to follow a schedule during quarantine?

The coronavirus epidemic has led authorities in many countries to ask their residents to confine themselves to their homes to help stem the contagion.

Faced with this situation, the experts recommended the establishment of a schedule adapted to the quarantine situation as a psychological method to deal effectively with the situation. But what is the explanation behind this recommendation?

    The importance of timing during coronavirus containment

    This is a preventive measure aimed at reduce the likelihood of developing a mood disorder in vulnerable patients.

    Studies show that the most common symptoms in people in quarantine are bad mood and irritability. Quarantine means being separated from family and friends, losing your freedoms and living in uncertainty and boredom. This leads to inevitable disruption of our daily life. By minimizing our physical and relational context, the likelihood of receiving reinforcing stimuli also decreases, making it difficult for pleasant emotions to appear..

    In this way, we can remain in an environment where the absence of reinforcements precipitates or maintains a depressed mood, even apathy and a decrease in our capacity to enjoy, all possible symptoms of depression.

    On another side, quarantine can affect our sleep and eating rhythmsSomething that has also been linked to mood disorders.

    In fact, context and biological rhythms are central to some psychological treatments for depression: behavioral activation therapy and social and interpersonal rhythm therapy.

    Behavioral activation therapy

    Behavioral Activation Therapy views context as a key variable in depressive moods. According to this therapy, maintaining a level of activity appropriate to our circumstances and possibilities would lead to changes in our thoughts, Our mood and the quality of life that we perceive.

    In any case, it should be noted that it would not be about being busy all day and not thinking, but finding the activities that we like, connecting with ourselves and taking into account of our personal interests and values.

    Social and interpersonal rhythm therapy

    Social and interpersonal rhythm therapy is based on the hypothesis that vital events, both negative and positive, which involve a marked change in daily routines and biological rhythms can precipitate or maintain depressive states.

    Therefore, anything that involves maintaining sleep and eating schedules and sun exposure, in addition to daily activities and interactions with at least one person are considered, from this point of view, measures that may promote a positive mood and energy level. enough to adapt to the changes that occur in the coming days.

    To summarize, the behaviors we practice during quarantine would be essential to avoid the possibility of presenting depressive symptoms over the days of closure and isolation.

    In particular, it is considered important to maintain personal care in terms of sleep, food and exposure to the sun, and to schedule an activity routine that includes tasks related to obligations (work, school …) but also activities for which we are accustomed do not have time and we always wanted to do it. Including anything that encourages introspection, for the purpose of self-knowledge and personal growth can help make sense of these days and project into the future, asking ourselves what changes we want to make in our lives once. all this finished.

    Bibliographical references:

    • General Council of Official Colleges of Psychologists. (Sf-a). BEHAVIORAL ACTIVATION (AC): A NEW APPROACH TO DEPRESSION TREATMENT. Retrieved March 19, 2020 from http://www.infocop.es/view_article.asp?id=1157
    • General Council of Official Colleges of Psychologists. (Sf-b). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it, according to a study. Retrieved March 19, 2020 from http://www.infocop.es/view_article.asp?id=8630
    • Official College of Psychology of Madrid. (2020, March 15). Guidelines for the psychological management of coronavirus quarantine. Retrieved March 20, 2020 from https://www.copmadrid.org/web/comunicacion/noticias/1459/orien taciones-la-gestio-psicològica-la-quarantena-el-coronavirus
    • Soria, V. and Urretavizcaya, M. (2009). Circadian rhythms and depression. Acts Esp Psychiatry 2009; 37 (4):. 37 (4), 222-232.

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