We are all struggling with finding a way to normalize the abnormal. Astronauts may be the best ones to give advice on isolation. Taking from some of their experiences of living on the International Space Station, here is some advice on how to deal with the challenge of being isolated. Here’s a YouTube link if you’d like to see the video. The English part starts at 4:58:41
Here are some key takeaways:
Follow a Schedule
Maintaining a plan will help you and your family adjust. If you’re still working, but from home, “go” to work each day, at the same time. Habits and routine will give you a feeling of control.
Also critical is maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Lack of sleep can impact mood, health, cognitive ability and more.
When living and working in the same place for days on end, work can overtake your life. At the end of your work day, walk away from it. Turn off the computer and do something fun. Watch a movie, binge watch a TV series, play board games.
Spending time outside is beneficial both mentally and physically. Someone once said “a true professional knows when it’s time to clear the cobwebs.” You’ll be more productive if you take a few moments to step outside.
You don’t need to run a marathon or work-out for hours. Try to get moving at least once a day. If walking means being with others who are not in your household, stay at least six feet away.
Develop a Hobby
It’s critical to have an outlet that isn’t work-related. Hobbies can be anything from sewing or knitting to reading a book or playing an instrument. While in isolation, satisfaction from creating something can be very satisfying.
Keep a Journal
Instead of just writing about the tasks of the day, try describing what you’re experiencing, or write about memories. When all of this is over, writing about your time in isolation will let you look back on this time had meant.
Take Time to Connect
Even though you may be stressed with work or family responsibilities, take the time to connect with family or friends. We’re fortunate to have the Internet and cell phones that allow us to video conference or FaceTime with those we can’t be with physically.
Science shows that isolation is detrimental to both our mental and physical health and especially our immune systems. Make a point of connecting with someone at least once a day.
Listen to Experts
Trust the advice from the experts. During challenging times, we need to seek information from those who know the most about the subject. Make a point of paying attention to information from the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization.
We are All Connected
The spread of COVID-19 knows no borders and all people are at risk. There are so many positive stories that have come out of this challenge…people making chalk drawings on their sidewalks to cheer up people who are taking a walk, entertainers giving free concerts online, celebrities reading books online for children.
We will come out on the other side of this, and we can prevail, if we all do our part.