Stress-reducing measures in quarantine and isolation

It can be stressful to be at home in quarantine or isolation. It is not uncommon to feel anxious, tense or irritated or to experience difficulties concentrating or to struggle to sleep.

Read the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s advice for persons quarantined at home.

Read the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s advice for people in isolation.

See our overview page of advice for various groups: healthcare personnel, adults, children, vulnerable families and people experiencing mental health issues.

If you have come into contact with an infected person or you are infected yourself, you may feel afraid of developing symptoms or your health deteriorating. Many may also feel restless, sad, lonely or tired. However, for the majority of people, the quarantine and isolation period will be fine and any psychosocial reactions will be temporary.

Everyday life changes for the entire family when you are placed in quarantine or isolation at home. You are unable to go work, school, nursery or meet up with others in the same way as before. This often results in becoming less physically active, eating less regularly and perhaps sleeping more or less than otherwise. Most people end up having a lot of screen time. Everyday routines for children and young people in isolation also change due to the infection.

Recommended measures for those affected

Keep up to date with the news – but don’t let it take over

There is a lot of important information and useful advice but an excessive focus on news updates can take up too much time and contribute to concerns. If you want to stay up to date, use reliable sources such as the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Helsenorge websites.

Create structure for your day

It becomes important to create new routines when stuck at home. Try to maintain a normal circadian rhythm. For many, school and work provide structure, meaning and security in everyday life. Find effective ways in which to work if you are working from home. It is also good to stay active through hobbies.

Ensure that you get your daily ‘dose’ of physical activity and daylight

Life in quarantine can easily become characterised by a sedentary indoor existence. Physical activity, walks in nature and in daylight have a positive impact on mental health and sleep. Follow the guidelines from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health when engaging in outdoor activities.

Maintain social contact

Even if you are quarantined or in isolation at home, it is possible to stay in touch with others through social media and by telephone. Feel free to schedule time for staying in touch with e.g family, friends, fellow students and colleagues.

Recommended measures for children, young people and families in quarantine or isolation

Children may have different reactions to being in quarantine or isolation at home. Some may feel stressed, sad, anxious, scared, angry or irritated, while others will not experience any negative feelings in connection with being quarantined. Some may experience stomach pain, headaches or pain in other parts of the body and you might wonder whether you are getting sick. You may also be scared that parents or siblings might be sick.  All of these feelings are normal. For the majority of people, these reactions will pass. It can still be challenging for the entire family when everyday life changes in this way.

We know that there are many things that can be enjoyable to do when experiencing a situation in which you have to stay quarantined as a family with children:

Talk to your children

Children need information they can understand about why they are in quarantine or isolation and what they can do. It is important that children know they are helping prevent others from getting infected by being in quarantine. Ask the children what they are wondering about and answer them. Remember that children pick up more than you might think. Children may also feel guilty about the situation or become extremely scared. Do not wait for them to come and ask you. Ask what information and news they have picked up and answer any questions they might have.

Safety is contagious

Children feel safe when you feel safe. Children need comfort and care when they are afraid. Take a few deep breaths and find your own peace of mind. Create peace of mind by recognising the child’s feelings and helping them manage all of their emotions. They may need adults to show some additional patience during this phase.

Stick to everyday routines

Even if it is not possible to go to nursery or school, it is a good idea to have set activities to do each day, such as getting up and going to bed at a normal time, being physically active and doing schoolwork. Healthy, regular meals, sleep and physical activity help reduce stress in the bodies of children and adults alike. Bedtime routines can be disrupted when children are scared and/or sick. Stick to regular, familiar bedtime routines. Avoid letting your children spend too much time alone on their phones and tablets. It is a good idea to put screens and telephones away an hour before bed. It is normal for children to wake up during the night and come to their parents. This will pass.

Social contact

Stay in contact with friends and family via social media and phone. This is supportive, encouraging and reduces stress.

Do what works for you

Do things you and your family enjoy such as watching movies, reading books, listening to music or audiobooks. Family time can be positive but be respectful of the fact that children may also need some time alone.

Seek help

Families may need help during difficult situations. Get in touch with the support system in your local authority or call a helpline.