Over the past year and a half, we have been introduced to significant life changes, for most of us, it’s the first pandemic of our lifetime. Thankfully a year and a half on we are all in a different place from the initial sheer panic which took us through toilet roll shortages and pasta shelves being ransacked. This eventually ended (thank goodness) and then we had to adapt to long periods of not seeing loved ones and everything being shut which was really hard. Fast-forward 6 to 8 months later and everything is open again, giving us some freedom to go back out into the world. Though the harsh reality is covid still exists, and we are reminded of that every day on TV, social media and stories of those around us, of people who have been sick or know someone who has caught Corona And that brings me to the big, bold, shiny and unpleasant word we’ve all heard… isolation.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear that word, it reminds me of prison because Isolation is used as one of the worst punishments. Why is it the worst? Because we are social creatures, we thrive off stimulation, being busy, and having access to those around us.
Without that, we can grow bored, feel down and that can allow room for negative coping mechanisms and difficult experiences. So when I found out a few weeks ago that I tested positive for corona, the isolation was the bit that I was dreading the most along with the anxiety of being ill. However whilst I had corona, I knew it was paramount to look after my physical and mental health the best that I could, to make those 10 days of isolation not as negative as it sounded. I also noticed I heard a lot about how to avoid covid but not how to look after myself if I caught it so I wanted to share with you some of the things that helped me through so that they can be of use to you too!
1) Try to eat healthily if you have access to those foods. I knew that it was important to boost my immune system and body. I ate lots of ginger, lemon, oranges, smoothies, and soups!
2) Listen to your body! At first, I told myself I wanted to be productive and use my 10-day isolation to do all the things I was putting off but actually, I was exhausted and my body needed to rest. Once I started to listen to myself, my body had the time to recover.
3) Reach out to friends and family. The thought of having covid can be anxiety- provoking especially because of what we’ve heard about it. Share those worries with those you trust to make them a little lighter. Also, speak to your friends so it feels less lonely, I sent video messages and voice notes to my friends every day and this was helpful since I was living alone.
4) Stay away from the news and try not to google any symptoms. This can just exacerbate the anxiety.
5) Do breathing exercises. Every day I spent a few minutes taking deep breaths in and out. This was a good way to keep me grounded but was also good to keep my chest clear.
6) You might not have tons of energy, or you might feel fine. Covid affects everyone differently. Try not to compare or beat yourself up if you are feeling worse than you thought. Just go with the motions and do what you feel able to.
7) Read a book, binge Disney plus, watch all the films in the Marvel series, have a long steamy shower, or relax in the bath. It’s so important you prioritise your well-being by doing something you enjoy and what makes you feel comforted.
8) Try and change environments if that is available to you. It isn’t good just to lie in bed all day, it’s important to move a little if you can. Open your windows, stretch your legs by walking around the room, sit somewhere else or go into another part of the house if you can.
9) Make plans for when you are feeling better, this can give you something to look forward to and encourages positive thoughts.
10) Remind yourself of your strength. Ground yourself in all the things you know to be true about yourself! Your body is resilient, you have great coping mechanisms and you know how to ask for help if you need it. You’ve got this!
By Alice Spencer