4 years of self isolation and my advice on how to stay reasonably sane

How do you feel about being in isolation?  Staying at home with limited social interaction. It’s like the Christmas holidays without the celebrations.

As humans it is absolutely essential that we have our emotional needs met to keep anxiety at bay.  During the next few weeks we might just have to start thinking and acting differently to achieve this.

A time to panic or to recharge?

Some of you will be excited to stay at home, relax, not leave or interact with others.  Then some will be filled with questions, fears and the unknown.  Either way your resilience will be tested.

For me, when the Corona virus first hit the news I was calm and relaxed.  That was until my parents who live in Spain went on lockdown.  Seeing their beautiful Spanish town on the BBC news made this all real and sent a chill that I cannot put into words.  The typical Spanish town is where people from Madrid go to in the holidays.  Of course people wisely started to retreat to their country home in the midst of chaos.

Visits with my parents are a gift especially as they get older and they were due to visit at the end of March.  The Spa day postponed is merely an inconvenience as they are safe and well.  

As disruptive as this all is if we do need to stay at home I started to question if I could park my fears and turn this into a positive?

Isolation

Like many I started to ask myself with the Corona virus, what was the impact, how will I cope?  Then I realised oh I’ve been living like this for the previous four years.  So I thought it best to share what I have learnt.

This lifestyle was forced upon us due to my son being unwell from the age of 12 years old. For four years my focus has been his health and his education.  Our life’s completely changed overnight, including our financial security.

As I hung up my Corporate wardrobe I felt numb, I had no idea how long this would last for. I had to take control of what I could.  Breathe, put my training into practice, dig in deep and take one day at a time.

For most days I filled my life with gratitude and a positive outlook.  I had to for my sanity, family and my health.  My son’s health was president and I had Gym for the Mind to work on behind the scenes.  Seeing clients was where I went to feel a purpose.

There were many days where I spent far too many hours at home, restricted from my freedom.  Dog walking and visiting my horse became my therapy.  How lucky was I!

Personally I love people, random conversations.  Going into an office was my social and I thrive with human interaction.  This stopped and I soon became one of those people who slow down the polite lady at the supermarket checkout.  I am the person who prompted the creation of self checkouts.

With the recent lifestyle restrictions looming I thought that I would share with you some of my personal learnings as well as professional.  I hope it helps.

Recommendations

Still set your alarm, get up, shower and get dressed.  Honestly it sets your mindset for the day.  Staying in joggers might seem appealing in the beginning but it’s a slippery road.

Get outside as early as possible, hopefully you can go for a walk, if not take your coffee into the garden or just stand at an open window.  Breathe in the fresh air and look up at the sky, cloud watch, even if it is grey.

Be grateful for 3 things you have in your life.  It could be as simple as the coffee you are holding.  This mindset will influence whether you have a good day.

Still create a ‘To do’ list, no matter how small.  Having a sense of achievement is essential.

Do not spend too much time watching the news or on Social Media.  It is an energy vampire and with the current situation can fuel fear and anxiety.

My personal rule is no tv or wine before 6pm, on a weekday. I know boring but see my previous point, it’s a slippery road.

Creativity is Intelligence having fun.  As adults we often neglect our creativity, we fill our lives with ‘must do’ rather than ‘want to’.  Paint, read, write, draw, play music.  You don’t have to be perfect just enjoy.

Exercise your mind and your body, if you don’t sleep becomes a challenge.

Create a list of what you would like to achieve as it is essential to feel control.  Focus on what you can do rather than what you are missing out on.

Gardening, decorating, sorting out cupboards, reorganising your wardrobe, clear out the garage.  To name just a few activities to help you feel purposeful.

Keep social, call, FaceTime, Skype get in touch with old friends, colleagues and family. You know the ones that you miss, keep meaning to check in with but never find the time.

Most importantly your children are watching and learning.  Life does not always go to plan, you cannot control the outside world.  You do however have control over how you react to challenging situations. You will be teaching them a very important life lesson, emotional resilience.

Remember this will pass, we will return, maybe not to how we were before but maybe that is a good thing?

Slow down, breathe and treasure the simple things in life!