After recently returning to work after testing positive for Covid-19 last month, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips and tricks I’d researched to help cope with living in isolation, that helped me look after my physical and mental health:
Think about how your day starts and ends. Try and set some form of routine for getting up and going to bed – symptoms permitting! Set an alarm if you need one (as a parent, I definitely didn’t need this!) and make a habit of following the same routine before bed – apparently falling asleep on the sofa watching Netflix doesn’t count?!
Eat well. Exercise and eating habits are usually the first things to go out the window when we are in an uncomfortable situation but see this as a time to be risky and brave with your cooking and try new things. In my opinion my fish tacos were an absolute triumph, but the less said about the vegetable cottage pie, the better…
Exercise, even just a little bit! Physical activity is not just beneficial for your physical health, it has also been proven to have a very positive impact on your mental health. Isolating for nearly 12 days was one of the most stressful and challenging things I’ve done this year, and not being able to go for a walk or run limited the usual activities. Google and YouTube ideas that work for your personal space – whether its in your makeshift gym, back garden or even running up and down stairs (I tried it at least once, promise).
Watch your screen time. On top of the endless video meetings and emails to work through, a lot of our time is spent on phones, scrolling through news sites and social media. This was my biggest vice while isolated, but stepping away from the endless Covid news articles, mildly amusing compilation videos and that one ‘friend’ we have who shares fake news and conspiracy theories will help so much with physical health, state of mind and your social interactions with those locked in with you or people over the phone.
Mental Health. Exercise and screen time have a big impact, but these may not work for everyone and if you do think you’re struggling then know there is help available. Apps such as Calm are good tools to use which offer free services. Also, use your doctors and charities that are available and offer their services via the internet or phone.
Mix your days up. Varying what you do in each day will help to cure some of the boredom. A few episodes of The Crown? Great. Catching up with relatives? Perfect. Gardening and landscaping? Not my forte, but each to their own. Tidying my house and emptying that cupboard I promised I’d do back in March? Please make it stop, how many days do I have left…
Keep connected. We have so much technology at our fingertips, so make sure to use it to keep in touch with friends and family. Using services such as Zoom and Facetime are great ways to keep in touch with loved ones and can help us keep in contact with each other. This proved useful as a way to make sure I got dressed before lunch time!
Make time for you. Balancing living at home and working from home can be difficult and may seem like you never get a chance to relax. Certainly at the start of lockdown I fell into the trap of work, eat, sleep, repeat. Make time for something outside of work and chores. It could be yoga, an exercise routine, reading a book or meditation, but even 30-45 mins to yourself can help massively avoid burnout!
One thing that helped through my isolation period and the longer lockdowns we’ve had is perspective. This isn’t the way it will be for the rest of time. We have to remember that this is only a temporary thing and not going to last forever. It can seem like the end is a long way off, but try to think positive and remember this will be over soon!
It’d be great to hear from anyone else who’s had the virus or had to self-isolate as a precaution; how did you find the experience?