Staying Sane & Coping in Isolation

24/03/2020

Being in isolation is difficult. So how do you stay sane in isolation?

I work from home most of the time, and I've struggled at times with depression and anxiety. Today's blog focuses on what I've learned, read and researched, and what has helped me. 

1) Create a daily schedule

A schedule is important, particularly in isolation, because it helps you remain grounded, productive, and will help to make sure that you do those things that still need to be done. It doesn't have to be set in stone, but it's good to stick to regular bed times; meal times; exercise; put aside time for chores; work; home schooling etc. Without a schedule, it's easy to lose track of time. Write it down, and pin it up on the fridge for the whole family. 

2) Exercise

Excercise is important for both physical and mental health. If you are able to take a short walk (staying 2m away from people who don't live with you), a bit of fresh air and sunshine will help you feel better. 

If you can't go out, there are loads of options out there:

  • Joe Wicks, the Body Coach, is offering daily Workout sessions online that you can do with your kids, in your own home. If his workouts are too intense, you could try
  • Yoga with Adrienne, who offers a range of workouts and sessions to help body and mind. She does a 30 day yoga journey every January, and you could work your way through one of them. 
  • Zumba is another option, and there are plenty of workouts on Youtube, and if there is something else you want to try, or learn, search for it on Youtube. 

3) Self Care

Take care of yourself - use the time to give yourself a facial, manicure, paint your nails . If you're in isolation with your families, take turns to do foot rubs, or back rubs. A little bit of pampering goes a long way to help you feel better. 

4) Mental health

  • Stay positive: It's easy to fall into a slump, especially when you are surrounded by so much bad news and fear. A positive attitude doesn't ignore the problems, but it focuses on what you can do, not what you can't do. It looks for alternatives, and accepts what you can not change. This won't last forever. 
  • Reach out to others (by phone!) Call a friend or family member for a chat, to catch up, and check how they're doing, and if there is anything they need that you can help with
  • The NHS has some great audio guides on dealing with anxiety and depression and insomnia, and guides for Mental Health and Well-Being

5) Learn something new

Continuing to learn has been proven to improve mental health. What is it that you've always wanted to try, but never had the time to do? Youtube has videos on how to do almost anything. if you need supplies, Amazon has almost everything, and they deliver!

For almost any craft you can think of, there is someone on Youtube with a video showing you how to get started, from crochet ;knitting; painting ; card making; and any other craft you can think of. I usually get my craft materials from Amazon, or Ebay. 

In addition to all the free guides on Youtube, there are many other companies offering free courses. I highly recommend Linked In Learning, formerly Lynda.com and they offer a free 1 month trial. 

6) Make time for fun

Laughter is the best medicine. Listen to a comedian you enjoy, or find something to laugh at on Youtube, watch a comedy, play a game, do things that you really enjoy. 

7) Activities

There are loads of free activities online. I recently wrote about activities for kids, many of which are great for adults too. There are plenty for adults as well. This blog has a impressive list of online activities. You can search for printable crosswords, wordsearches, puzzles and colouring in pages. Try these links:

Free Printable puzzles or Puzzles

8) Mindfulness

Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that 'mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. '  Knowing what you're thinking goes a long way towards changing your thinking. You can read more, take a quiz, and find guides to help you be more mindful here.

9) Pets

Studies have shown that having a pet helps improve happiness. if you don't have a pet, then even looking at pictures of cute animals can help.  Kitten Academy live streams their cats and kittens. But, who needs an excuse to look at cute animals!

10) Music

Turn off the TV and the news, listen to music you love. This blog tells you more about different free streaming services that you can try. Amazon Prime includes music streaming as well as a range of other options. 

Stay healthy, stay sane, and stay indoors. We will get through this!