Self-Isolation During the Coronavirus Pandemic: How to Make the Best of It
As the world tries to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, the concept of self-isolation is becoming a real concern for many people and can appear quite daunting on top of our other worries and anxieties.
Our mental health and wellbeing is often forgotten in these difficult times but whilst the numbers of people affected in a physical way may be only small, thankfully, at the moment, the majority of us will feel some impact on our mental wellbeing.
Much has been written about the symptoms of coronavirus and the worldwide statistics of its global spread. We are not going to add to these but recommend you visit the following websites for expert advice and information:
We would like to concentrate on the practical ways we can deal with the expected period of self-isolation many of us will be facing in the near future, if not already.
Some people have referred to self-isolation as “cocooning”. This is a wonderful term as it conjures up warm and cosy imagery and an all important positive mindset. It is this positive mindset which we want to reinforce at a time when there is so much negative sentiment surrounding the epidemic.
How Self-Isolation is Becoming a Reality
In the UK, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said self-isolation is a “very big ask”, but one which is for people’s self protection.
“Our generation has never been tested like this. Our grandparents were, during the Second World War, when our cities were bombed during the Blitz.
“Despite the pounding every night, the rationing, the loss of life, they pulled together in one gigantic national effort.
“Today our generation is facing its own test, fighting a very real and new disease.”
War has become the favourite metaphor for the coronavirus epidemic.
Already we have seen evidence of people pulling together and setting up initiatives to help ensure people in their communities aren’t forgotten about:
- Community cafes are sending out meals with the help of recently recruited volunteers. One such scheme in Horsforth, West Yorkshire, has seen a surge in people coming forward with offers of help.
- In Falmouth, Cornwall people are dropping postcards through letterboxes with their contact details should anyone require their help.
During times of war, heroes often emerged out of the crisis. Medical workers today are one example of the heroes of this war and there will be many other unsung heroes in each town and village. These people will do their best to limit the impact of the virus in their own small but significant ways.
How can we Organise our Self-Isolation?
- If you are the sort of person who has always led a structured, organised life, there’s no need to change that habit now. Make a daily and a weekly timetable or schedule and fit your new housebound activities into it.
- Simple comforts often give the greatest relief so take pleasure from books or ereaders and enjoy time spent browsing through old magazines.
- Listen to music – music is a great mood elevator so put some music on and feel free to sing and dance along!
- If you have access to any open space, get outside and take pleasure from watching Spring budding around you. Notice which birds visit your garden or yard and encourage more by putting food out for them.
- Maintain or start an exercise regime. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. Try to incorporate exercises which will improve your strength and balance. Yoga, tai chi and resistance exercises can all be done from the comfort of your home.
- Laughter is often a great antidote when you are feeling low so if you can, watch Youtube videos of old comedy classics.
- Dust off your old cookery books and rediscover the satisfaction of creating a new dish. You may also like to do a batch of a favourite recipe for freezing to give yourself easy, nutritious meals in the weeks ahead.
- Register with Facebook and join online chat forums to share experiences and anxieties with other like-minded people.
- Catch up with old friends via email or regular phone calls and texts.
- If you have an outside space, give it a spruce up ready for the season. Gardening is great exercise for you too!
- Finally, listen to your body. If you feel like doing nothing more than watching the TV, don’t feel guilty, just enjoy whatever you are doing no matter how much or how little!
How Can We Protect Our Mental Health?
- Limit the news broadcasts we listen to and beware of misinformation
- Have breaks from social media
- Take care not to become too obsessive about things
- Stay connected with people by phone and messaging
- Avoid physical burn out by eating well and staying hydrated
Anxiety UK suggests practicing the “Apple” technique to deal with worries and anxiety:
- A – Acknowledge: Notice the uncertainty as it comes to mind
- P – Pause: Pause and breathe before you react to your worries
- P – Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, thoughts are not facts
- L – Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling, it will pass.
- E – Explore: Explore the present moment. Look around and notice what you can see, hear, touch, smell. Then shift your focus onto doing something positive.
We need to remember that good things often come from difficult times. We often develop a sense of perspective and petty arguments and problems no longer seem important. A sense of community becomes stronger and people take time to consider their neighbours who may need assistance.
And finally, remember it will come to an end sooner or later. Remember to offer yourself a reward for coming through the difficult times – a trip to see a city you’ve always longed to visit or something simple like a new piece of furniture or set of crockery that you can enjoy every day.
By working together and looking out for each other, we can overcome this.
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