Image: Self/Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

The self-isolation success kit

As the Covid-19 virus sweeps the world, it’s imperative that we follow the government’s advice and self-isolate if we can. The spectre of spending months at home, avoiding essentially all contact until the situation improves, is not a pleasant one, and it does bode the big question of what we should do while we’re at home for so long.

Even a plan of sitting at home and not doing much will get tiring eventually – I’ve seen people online complaining that they’re out of things to do after just a couple of days. So, I thought I’d compile an article of potential ways to pass the time, hopefully getting a little bit of value from a deeply unpleasant situation.

If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, seize the day and start doing it

How many of you have had that dream project on the side? If you’ve wanted to write a book, compose a song, read the classics, catch up with a TV show that slipped away from you but just never found the time, isolation means you’ll never have a better opportunity to do the things that were always on the backburner.

Set yourself reasonable targets like half an hour a day, a certain word or page count, or a particular number of episodes and chip away at these dream things. If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, seize the day and start doing it. It’ll keep your mind busy and, if you emerge from this pandemic with the book you always wanted to write, you’ll be proud of yourself.

With new skills you can learn online, it has never been easier. YouTube is full of instructional videos on doing new things, and you could come away from this a jack-of-all-trades.

Although we’re physically isolated, that’s no reason not to help others

On the subject of work, we’re all students, and we’ll have left Spring term with assignments or dissertations to complete. Everything is up in the air and we don’t know exactly how assessments are going to work, but we should try to continue with our essays. A couple of months is a long time to sit around and not learn anything so keep your mind active by thinking about your degree and doing the work.

This could also come with social benefits. Propose a Skype chat with your course mates and work together, providing each other with a shared network of support. Although we’re physically isolated, that’s no reason not to help others. If you want to help nearby people, there’s a lot you can do in terms of online tutoring or supporting those who are not at school.

It’s not fun, but there are a lot of jobs to do around the house. No-one wants to live in a pig sty, so write a list of all the jobs that need doing around the house and then tackle a couple each day. It doesn’t take more than an hour to do a bit of hoovering or dusting, and you’ll feel happier living in a cleaner house. It’s the kind of work that comes with clear benefits as you’ll be in a healthier living environment. If you ever wanted to declutter or reorganise things, this outbreak brings the perfect opportunity. For me, it’s finally doing all of the gardening that I’ve never been able to fit it around going to uni and working part-time.

Remember to move about and keep exercising

On that note, make sure you’re still moving about. One of the biggest risks of being confined to the house is the temptation to sit around doing nothing, which isn’t good for you. Remember to move about and keep exercising in order to make up for all the movement you’ll have lost. There are lots of 10-minute exercise routines available online that can help you stay healthy.

Simple things like walks are also allowed under government guidelines (providing you remain a reasonable distance from other people) and getting out in the open air for a little bit will go a long way for your mental health.

We’re all worried about what will happen with Covid-19, but that’s no excuse to wallow at home for months on end. Take advantage of the time, use it well, and you’ll be far better off at the end of this pandemic. Although self-isolation is a security measure, try to also see it as an opportunity.


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