Self-isolation was barely a term we’d heard until a few weeks ago, but for the whole population, self-isolation is now an essential part of our everyday wellbeing to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Self-isolation means staying at home and not having any contact with another person, and it’s required if you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, to ensure you don’t infect anyone else. If you’re in an ‘at risk’ category with underlying health issues, then self-isolation will be for 12 weeks. That’s a long time to be on your own. Being by yourself may bring up all kinds of difficulties if you’re used to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
If you’re otherwise well and self-isolating, we make the following suggestions to help make your quarantine more bearable:
1. Create a ‘new normal’
It might at times be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day and eat snacks from the cupboard. However, creating some kind of routine will help you to maintain some kind of supportive structure in your life. Maintaining your usual standards will also prop up your self-esteem while you’re coping with all of this on your own.
2. Let go of control
This can be a tough one if you’re used to being in charge of your life and for things to go your way. There is nothing you can do about the big picture. You can do your bit by staying home and staying safe, but if you try to plan too much for the future then you may create more anxiety for yourself. Yes, you may feel resentful and annoyed, but you may have to get used to living one day at a time.
3. Embrace your emotions
With all the usual distractions taken away, you may begin to feel stripped bare emotionally. You may find that uncomfortable feelings begin to surface – from anger and despair, anxiety and fear, to feeling low and lonely. All of these emotions may come to the fore, and you may have fewer defences to protect yourself with. This is an unusual time, but could you reframe it as an opportunity to get to know yourself better? Let the emotions come and go. Watch them. You can have an emotion without becoming it. You may end up feeling stronger as a result.
4. Find a purpose
How many times have you said to yourself: “If only I had the time.” Well, now you do have the time. It may be to clutter-clear your wardrobe, paint the hallway, write a book, learn a new language. Whatever you’ve wanted to do but have kept putting off doing, start it now. Working on a project you care about will put you in flow – which will make the time fly by. Having a purpose can also help to keep your spirits up and keep you focused through this down time.
5. Appreciate the little things
While a part of you may feel robbed of all the big stuff in life – and perhaps you’re feeling bereft – there may be another part of you that begin to notice and appreciate the little things in life. The caring text message from a friend, or the chance to video call a loved one. New communities opening up online, and the chance to connect in different ways. Open your window to the sounds of springtime. Notice the buds beginning to blossom. Feel the sun on your face. This pace of life may be slower, but you can choose to make it a richer and mindful experience.
If you feel you would like professional support through this period of self-isolation and these unsettling times, then reach out to us. We have therapy sessions available seven days a week by phone and online video, with low-cost options too. You can call us on 020 8673 4545 or email [email protected]