Surviving Isolation: My Tips
Today is my 30th day in self-isolation due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home, which gives me a sense of purpose and structure. Yet there are still days where I struggle with this new world we’re living in.
But I don’t want this post to turn into a pity party, or to start some competition as to whose suffering is worst.
What I want to do is share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned that are working for me, in the hopes that there might be something among them that will work for someone else.
So in no particular order, here are my tips:
Limit your news intake
I have been limiting my news intake in several respects;
· Only going to trusted and reputable sources (I check the BBC News, NHS, and UK Government websites).
· Only checking the news once a day, and only allowing myself 30 minutes to do so (I set a timer so that I can’t accidentally spend hours trawling through the news).
· Because I find the news tends to leave me feeling a little low and negative, I never check it until after I have finished working for the day, to prevent it having a negative impact on my motivation and energy.
Establish new routines
It would be easy to get angry and upset at the disruption to, or even loss of, our usual routines. Instead I’ve been trying to some new routines that work for me. My focus has been creating a new morning routine for my workdays, one that gets my physically and mental ready to work. I’m still refining it, but at the minute my weekday morning routine looks like this;
· Wake up
· Have a shower
· Take my tablets with a glass of orange juice
· Brush my teeth
· Get dressed
· Go for a walk (I always do this first thing in the morning because there’s less people around that I need to avoid because I am having to following the Shielding guidelines – stupid autoimmune condition)
· Make a cup of tea
· Remotely log onto the work system and get started on my day
Have a separate space for work
Working from home blurs the line between work-life and home-life by its very nature. Some people might be lucky enough to already have a home office, or at least a spare room they can re-purpose.
I have set up my work laptop at one end of my dining table – carefully selected to keep my lego collection out of view when I’m having video calls. This allows me to keep my living room free from work.
However they are people whose circumstances mean that their work space is their bedroom, so they cannot have a physically separate space. I’ve been trying to think of ways for people in this kind of situation to have a ‘separate space’ for work, and the only thing I can come up with is creating a little routine that helps them mentally get in and out of ‘work mode’; it could be showering and getting dressed before work, then going for a walk after work. Anything that creates a clear divide between your ‘work time’ and your ‘personal time’.