How to stay sane during isolation

Stuck inside to stay safe from COVID-19? We’ve got you. Spoiler alert: alcohol and food are among them.

As the coronavirus pandemic are forcing people into social distancing or isolation, people are being forced into intense confinement, sometimes inclose quarters for long periods of time.

Being alone most of the day elicits strange behaviour, especially when left in the company of a dog and an internet connection. Time spent commuting has been replaced with mainlining news stories.

Isolation is also, well, isolating. Days at home feel disjointed and disconnected. Stress and anxiety seem amplified by being alone. If you’re running out of ideas for keeping yourself and your family entertained during this time of social isolation, fear not – you are not alone.

The stages of working from home:

  • Yay, I get to work from home.
  • It would be nice to talk to some people
  • I hope that pigeon sits in the window today

We don’t function or behave normally without our packs. People get nervous about being absent from work for so long, despite being in frequent contact and working normal, if not longer hours. As much as technology connects, there’s a lot to be said for being present, seeing and catching up with colleagues and getting stuff done in person.

 People from around the world have been coming up with all sorts of ways to beat the pandemic blues.

 Little things have the power to drive even the most disciplined tothe edge of insanity. The ones who survive with a measure of happiness are those who can live profoundly off their intellectual resources, as hibernating animals live off their fat.

For what it’s worth, here’s a few of our tips:

  • Ignore the news. There’s so much scary info – and scary fake info –going around and it’s very easy to get caught up in an anxiety spiral. Being at home for long periods can easily make you turn to rolling news and social media. Practise proactive filtering and a little perspective. Some of the coverage has been fantastic, while an awful lot of the shared information is complete rubbish.  If it’s not being reported by several newspapers and multiple sources on respected TV news, then it’s probably bullshit.
  • Keep a routine and plan how you’ll spend your time. You need a to-do list. You need a structure to your day, a plan and a goal. This is not only good for getting things done, but it’s also great for your mental health and feeling you’ve achieved something – feeling there is a point to your day. If you are actively working from home many of these things may be defined by your job. If you’re simply stuck at home with nothing to do, remember: There is never nothing to do!
  • Create a specific place for your online instruction and keep that area neat and well organized. If possible, define that as your work only space to help you stay focused.
  • Remember that social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing. It’s possible to make a connection without congregating. If you are out, or even if you’re leaning out of a window or stood on a balcony, say hello. Smile. Ask someone how they are. Check on a neighbour.
  • You will come to realise how very little of our tech is designed with our bodies in mind. A laptop on a dining room table whilst sat on a kitchen chair is a nightmare for your back and shoulders, and a phone being swiped through for half an hour is a killer on your neck and eyes. Take breaks and remember to move as much as you can. Get into good habits with your body position. A neutral stance or sitting position is good, and the closer you can get your screens to eye level the better.
  • Do things that are good for your morale. Things that really make you feel good. Have stuff to both look forward to and enjoy doing, then your home will feel less like a boring prison. However, if the thing that you think is good for your morale is booze, chances are it’s lying to you. Cracking open a bottle of wine whilst on lockdown is one of the most exquisite pleasures. But this way of living could last for a while and getting hammered every night will not be good for your mental health in the short, medium or long term.
  • Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. You may not have a treadmill in your apartment, but there are still activities you can do, such as: cleaning your place, dance party for one, going up and down your stairs, etc. A shout out to Toms PT online classes. Find him on instagram  thept_tom  or search for him on Facebook Thomas Skelton
  • Listen to My Dad Wrote a Porno or watch something that makes you laugh. You cannot survive on depressing Swedish murder mysteries alone.
  • Once vicarious pleasure is to examine what colleagues’ homes look like when on video calls. See wheat they read, the pictures on the walls, the furniture, then spend time criticising.
  • Sharpen up those skills. If you’re in marketing, learn to write properly, if in sales, learn how develop “no-bullshit” sales techniques.
  • Knowledge is power, always. Learn about topics you know little tonothing about by watching documentaries and studying online.
  • Daily diaries are extremely common among those finding themselves without external stimulus. Diaries serve as records and keepsakes for the future, but, as days tend to run together, diaries became a way to differentiate one day from another and, finally, a diary is one of the ways in which to blow off steam.
  • Books can play a huge role in the lives of those confined in small places. Books, poetry, can give something to learn by heart and repeat in a blank hour, when the mind is all too apt to think of imaginary grievances.
  • Marie Kondo your drawers. In the words of everyone’s favourite Japanese organisation expert, if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ it’s got to go. Sift between socks, underwear and whatever else is lurking in the depths of your drawers.
  • Much advice tells you to start a hobby or project you’ve been puttingoff until you have time. Now, you have time. But if you don’t want to do it,cross that albatross off your to-do list.
  • Food and drink are, for many, a way to break the monotony of mundane days. I’m sad to report that cabin fever is NOT solved by junk food. So just because you have 24/7 access to snacks doesn’t mean you can eat like a horse. Eat your vegetables. Preferably not fried.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends. Take time to connect withpeople virtually. But equally, cull those people who annoy, infuriate or arejust negative. We all have them as friends on Facebook. There’s an “unfriend”option for a reason.
  • Lego is perfect for keeping your mind busy and you get the ta-daat the end of it. Winning. For kids and adults.
  • Discover the weird and wonderful world of absurd tutorials on YouTube.There are a lot of them.
  • Most of the above activities can be done while listening to podcasts. Listen to podcasts.
  • Whatever you decide to do, don’t open Twitter: it’s especially bad these days.

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