Coping With Self-Isolation: 15 Ways to Stay Sane in Isolation During the Coronavirus Outbreak
We’re not travelling, we’re not going to events and festivals, we’re not eating out for dinner, we’re not going to parties and we’re not living our lives how we’re used to. For many of us, this time has completely floored us in a space of only a few short weeks. Coping with self-isolation is hard.
Living abroad, well away from any of my friends and family, working at home anyway and going through dark periods where I haven’t left the house in weeks, has meant that I feel like I’ve gone through the struggles of coping with self-isolation for the past few years anyway. But this is an unprecedented scenario. I completely get how you’re feeling and it’s a struggle – I’m definitely struggling now. But it doesn’t have to consume us – this is not forever.
** [For help and advice on Covid-19, visit the World Health Organisation’s official website]
Here are 15 ways to stay sane in isolation during the coronavirus outbreak:
1. Use Technology to Remain Social
Despite everything that’s going on, we are SO lucky that we can stay in touch with our friends and family all over the globe at the touch of a button. My social groups are talking more than ever already. We all finally have the time, with no excuses to not all have a group chat.
This is what we need more than ever and is the key to coping with self-isolation. STAY IN TOUCH. Ring your grandparents, Facebook-call your mum and Facetime your close friends. Chances are they will be chuffed to bits to hear from you.
I’ve never been on the phone so much in my life and it keeps me sane.
I know that scrolling through Facebook is becoming pretty depressing and you might find that the endless scrolling is doing more harm than good. You can still take a break from it, while still being social. Take to Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram or drop someone a text. You don’t have to deal with this self-isolation alone and you don’t have to endlessly scroll through your Facebook newsfeed to get it either.
2. Plan Your Next Trip
Chances are 99.9% of whatever you’ve booked this year is going to be cancelled. It sucks and I feel you. I had lots of festivals booked, including a trip back home and a road trip to Romania and none of it is going ahead. It’s the only thing I thought that kept me sane, BUT this doesn’t mean you can’t make plans for next year. Get out that map, get out that notepad and get the excitement building. This is not forever!
I’ve already started planning my travels for (hopefully) next year. Although it may feel a long time away, it does give you something to look forward to and also plenty of time to save.
3. Binge on Feel-Good Shows That You’ve Been Dying to Catch up On
We can finally binge watch TV guilt-free! The government is actively encouraging that we stay home – so here’s our chance. Get on Netflix or switch on the television and unwind.
You may find that some of the usual TV schedules will change as new programmes, documentaries, films, game shows and soaps will be put on hold, leading to the current shows eventually running out (yes, Eastender’s may stop existing for a little bit soon).
But, with Netflix, Amazon, Britbox and tons of other streaming services, along with all the great reruns on our television, means that we will never run out of something good to watch and coping with self-isolation with be a whole lot easier.
4. Start Saving – Now Is the Perfect Time to Budget
I know for some people they won’t have a choice – you may have lost your job or are struggling for work due to coronavirus, but for others, this is the perfect time to start saving. Whether it’s saving for your next trip or saving for something that you need but usually don’t spend your money on, then this is the time.
You may find that this is initially harder than you thought, so it’s important to set a monthly saving goal and even set up a savings account. It’s amazing what you find to spend your money on, as I’ve learnt over the past few weeks. Once you’ve had your splurge, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. You will thank yourself once it’s time to get back to normal again.
5. Get Creative or Learn Something New
Okay, so I’m not very artsy, but I’ve spent my time trying to expand my mind. This is the time to enjoy something simple if you’re not very creative, learn something completely new or improve on something else. Getting those creative juices following and use your brain to think of new and fun hobbies.
For example, I want to use this time to improve my writing and improve my Dutch. My mother is using this time to learn to knit again. Whatever it is, if you’re feeling ready, now is the time. If not, that’s okay too.
6. Treat Yourself
This may seem completely contradictory after I just said ‘save!’, but I don’t mean go crazy. I’ve decided to have a month where I can buy things I want that I may have put off before because I prioritised it on travel.
I’ve made a pact that I’ll do it for this month only and then I can begin to save. Treating yourself during this time is important too (again, if your funds aren’t too impacted). Self-care is important when coping with self-isolation.
So buy that nice aftershave or face scrub you’ve always wanted. I’m addicted to candles, so I’ve got some amazing Yankee Candles and a Rituals candle. It helps me relax when coping with self-isolation, and my house smells amazing (which is great now I’ll be spending so much time in it).
7. Watch Live Streams of Your Favourite Artists/Festivals
Have a festival, show, event or concert coming up? I FEEL YOU. But you’ll be pleased to know that many artists and events are offering online alternatives in the meantime.
When you know where to look, you’ll be shocked at just how many live streams are taking place.
Head to your favourite artists’/festivals’ socials and see if they are advertising a live stream. Take a look at Twitch and see who is playing on there and even go on YouTube to find a ton of new content. You’ll find that you, along with thousands of other people, will be enjoying a show from the comfort of their own rooms in complete solidarity. It’s pretty damn beautiful.
8. Practice Mindfulness
I know what your thinking – not another person preaching mindfulness. I admit I’m not someone who practices it at the best of times, but I’ve certainly seen a shift since this pandemic.
Take some time out, write a journal, practice meditation, get some exercise. It doesn’t just mean go full meditation/yoga mode if it’s not for you. Even just getting up and pampering yourself, getting dressed and taking some stress-free time doing something relaxing will do wonders for your physical and mental health.
9. Go Old-School With Board and Card Games
The sales of board/card games have gone crazy since the pandemic took hold and there’s a good reason why… they’re fun! Whether you settle for an old-school game of chess, or battle it out over a game of Uno, or just go all out over a game of Cards Against Humanity, it will keep you and members of your household busy for hours.
10. Enjoy the Power of Music
Think of all the times music has got you through a difficult time. Chances are, it’s a lot more than you realise.
I imagine that new music is going to be released left, right and centre very soon, especially with artists also self-isolating and having lots of time on their hands because they aren’t touring. So not only can you sit down with your headphones on and enjoy the absolute bangers you love, but you’ll have the time to enjoy all of the new music that is going to be released.
Stick the radio on, have a dance, enjoy the moment.
11. Get Your Head Into a Good Book
There’s no better way to transport your head into another world for a few hours than to have your head in a good book. I always feel like I don’t have the time to read and now there are no excuses. Even if you aren’t a massive fan of reading usually, you can’t deny that once you begin reading an incredible book, you just can’t put it down.
Not only does it pass the time, but it’s a great way to temporarily distract your mind from all of the madness.
12. Kickstart That Blog/Business
With all of this free time, how can you use this time to our advantage? If you’ve been thinking of starting a blog or business or stepping it up a notch, then there is no better time than to start planning! Looking back and knowing that you used this time as the building blocks to a possible successful venture is amazing.
We all spend a lot of our time complaining that we don’t have the time and ‘we wished that we did’, well now your time has come. Make it count. BUT only if you want to. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve lost motivation. It will come in time.
13. Pamper Yourself
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be guilty of getting so busy that you neglect your own free time to indulge. My idea of treating myself is buying some nice facemasks and relaxing. I now have a box filled with different facemasks and I bought a load of Rituals products for my home. I’ve also started to use my Happiness Planner for the first time in years! Now I’m wishing that I took time to do this forever ago and not just while coping with self-isolation.
Take time to think about what your ideal indulgence is. Whatever it is, make time to do it – it will be amazing for your mental health during this time.
14. Lose Yourself in a Video Game (Or for Nostalgia)
I love nostalgia when it comes to playing games. Losing yourself in a video game is a perfect way to relax during these times. I don’t game regularly usually, but sometimes I play with my partner on Steam.
This was just the perfect time to start up the PS2 & Xbox 360 and enjoy all of the old games that I used to love. If this is something you like, then definitely make time for it.
15. Start Writing!
2020 has given us all a whirlwind of emotions, so what can we do with it? Put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and start writing!
Whether that’s blogging, writing a diary or a poem or just throwing a load of ideas onto paper for you to remember in the future, or just get off your chest. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I just sit there and stare into the abyss for a moment. Get up and get myself a wine and then throw my thoughts on a piece of paper. Then I use that for ideas for blogging. Whatever makes you feel better – it’s great to delve into the writer in you.
Coping with self-isolation is not easy, but learning new and healthy coping mechanisms to get us through this time is important. Do what you love, stay safe and keep healthy.
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