As you all know, Covid-19 has become the main concern on people’s minds. As hospitals act to stabilise the situation and treat those worst impacted by the illness. It now falls to us all to self-isolate or social distance in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.
Think of a virus as an alien that like to inhabit a human body, it needs a host and the more we give it the harder it will be to defeat it. So, now we all have a moral responsibility to stay in our homes and wait out the storm.
Now for many people, the prospect of self-isolation probably seems like a daunting prospect? But, take it from someone who has plenty and I mean plenty of lived experience self-isolation for medical reasons. You will get through it.
Today I wanted to give some of my key coping strategies for spending a considerable length of time indoors.
To give you a bit of context, I have a rare congenital illness known as Septo Optic Dysplasia. The illness impacts my sight and endocrine system, I live with adrenal insufficiency, hypopituitarism, an underachieve thyroid and I also take daily hormone replacement therapy. My illness means I tend to get ill very easily due the smallest of things like physical strain, a common cold or over-excursion. So, I’ve spent many weeks indoors recovering from illness or distancing myself from other people in a bid to not become seriously ill.
Before I go any further, I want to say this. We owe it to everyone in our society to stay indoors and reduce the spread of the illness. But, mostly we owe it to the valiant efforts of our brilliant health services (NHS here in the UK) to aid them in this fight. This is going to be tough, I won’t deny that, but do it we must. So here are my top tips for coping with self-isolation for those of you who have never experienced anything like this before.
Keep Things In Perspective
The first most important thing that you can do right now, is to put all of this into perspective. Remember why you are doing this, why we are all doing this. We are doing this in a combined effort to save lives and keep the most vulnerable in our communities safe.
The point I’m trying to stress is that nobody is missing out here. We are all having to make a lot of sacrifices, it’s hard and very taxing, but in the end it will be worth it.
For me, self-isolating this time round has been a lot different emotionally to previous experiences. Even though my anxiety feels as if I’m walking a tightrope most days, I don’t feel isolated. This time I actually feel more connected and more “part of something” than I ever have before. I’ve been able to connect with so many people online through this situation that it has made self-isolating a lot easier in some ways.
Keep looking ahead, I’m not someone who believes in wishing your life away, especially in these current times. But, it’s important to look ahead and remember that there will come a time where this is all over. Believe me, casting your mind forward into a time where normality is restored really does help.
Perspective is key and it will serve as your mental tonic to get you through those harder days to come.
One thing I cannot stress enough is that it is so important to remain connected with people during self-isolation. Self-isolating can be a very lonely time and it can become all to easy to slip into depression when spending long periods at home without contact. Doing something as simple as starting a WhatsApp chat or holding a Google Hangout with friends and family can make all the difference.
Luckily at the moment, everyone is in the same boat and we are all looking to make connections online with people. There are a whole host of online activities you can do as well as social groups and meetings. So either create a new one yourself or join an existing group.
But, now more than ever is the time to pick up the phone and send someone a text. We all need the emotional support right now for our mental wellbeing.
Stimulate Your Mind
Keep your mind active, don’t simply binge the TV all day or spend hours scrolling through social media feeds. You need to keep your mind active if you possibly can.
Whether you are a bookish person or a creative soul, we all need to find ways to keep our mind sharp and engaged. Try a new hobby, learn a new skill or practice an old one. There are lots of online resources and many online courses are now making their materials free or discounted to people facing self-isolating.
Audible is offering free titles to help with self-isolation, so now is a good time to read all those classics you’ve been meaning to!
Keep a diary of your mood everyday, jot down how you are feeling both mentally and physically. It helps to keep track of your days, that way you can notice any patterns in your mood.
At this moment in time we all need to act as our own personal therapists. One thing I learned from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is that you need to keep track of your mood and any patterns you get into. Anxiety and depression are very prevalent with long periods of self-isolation. So its incredibly important to focus on training yourself out of those low spells.
Keeping a diary will help you notice any negative patterns with your mental health, how to recognise them and how to stop them.
Self Care Is Important
Lastly when it comes to self-isolating, you have to remember to take care of yourself. Self-care means different things to different people, but to me it comes down to taking time out for myself. Now, this is the time where we can get all our face masks out, use all the lotions and potions we have, order in that takeaway and listen to some meditation. But in essence, take time out for you and only you. Distance yourself from your anxieties and stress, lock them in a cupboard and spend some time taking care of yourself.
At the moment I’ve really been enjoying taking care of my hands with a nourishing hand cream, spraying my bed linen with some pillow spray and using a face mask.
I’ve really been enjoying these fragrance products from Clean Beauty, including the Rain Linen and Room Spray and the Fresh Linen Reed Diffuser to give my room that clean, fresh scent.
But one of the things I’ve really been addicted to doing as my daily ritual is applying liberal amounts of hand cream (after washing them thoroughly). I tend to put it on at night before bed to really give it a chance to sink into the skin. I’ve been using the Algenist Genius Collagen Hand Cream. Its incredibly rich and gives my hands a real boost of moisture.
I’m also a real advocate of face masks as part of a self-care routine, one of my favourites is the Ren Evercalm Face Mask. I use it at night before bed, its very soothing made with chamomile to help calm irritated skin.
I know things are hard right now and I know we are all battling with mental health issues as a result. But you are well and truly not alone.
Keep safe, stay positive and we will all get through this.
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