SELF-isolation is well-known territory for me. Most people with the same auto-immune illness as I have are professionals at staying home, sometimes for months at a time. The illness I have is not a high priority for the NHS but I have long stopped fretting over medical neglect and developed my own coping techniques for self-isolation. Fortunately I have well periods interspersed with self-enforced lockdown times, a microcosm of the experience which the world is currently undergoing.
Here are my tips for remaining sane during lockdown:
1. Create a daily routine and stick to it. This will make you feel more grounded especially in a time of such great uncertainty and panic.
2. Wake up at the same time each day, except of course at the weekend.
3. Do something productive with your time if you’re not working and/or don’t have children at home.
4. Try to do this productive activity at the same time each day. During my well periods I like to do yoga when I get up and then write for a few hours afterwards, with breaks for housework and cooking interspersed between.
5. Exercise if you can. When I am feeling well I like to practise yoga at least five times a week. There are some great yoga videos free on YouTube. No matter if you’re not a yoga bunny like me, there are thousands of other types of free exercise tutorials available on there.
6. Take a proper lunch break like you would do at work.
7. Connect with friends and family each day. Speak with at least one person on the phone. Don’t keep sending endless messages to each other: talk to another human being each day other than the people you live with. This will make you feel more connected with the world outside your home and ensure that your mental and emotional horizons aren’t as narrow as your physical ones might be at this time.
8. Eat properly. Don’t spend your time slumped in front of the television eating junk food all day. Not only will this make you fat but you will feel awful too. Of course this is on the condition that the grasping hoarders have left any food in the shops for the rest of us.
But stay in your pyjamas if you want to!
(I am not a medical professional, these are my personal coping strategies. Use at your own risk).