Isolation can be a difficult time because of the reduced level of contact with other people.  It can also be boring, lonely and anxiety provoking .

Here are some ways to tackle those feelings along with a list of suggested activities to undertake during this time.

In order to tackle difficult thoughts and feelings, you can try to re-frame these thoughts and to adopt a different approach.

Thought/Feeling Mindset Shift
I’m stuck at home I get to be SAFE in my home and spend time with my family/do activities I am normally too busy for
I will get unwell I can self-isolate, wash my hands, this could significantly decrease my chances of becoming unwell and/or spreading any illness
I will run out of items at home during self isolation I can prepare for this and use my items wisely.  I have everything I need for today.
Everything is shutting down, I am panicking The most IMPORTANT places such as medical centres, pharmacies and food shops largely remain open
There is too much uncertainty right now! While I can’t control the situation around me, I CAN can control my actions.  I can do some breathing exercises, call loved ones, get enough sleep and proper nutrition and do activities at home.  This will all help during this time

It is important to acknowledge other people’s feelings, but not at the expense of your own.  In a time of uncertainty, people who expect you to be a beacon of positivity and motivation during your hardest times have unrealistic expectations.  It is OK if you are the one looking for the light, you do not have to be the whole lighthouse.

Managing anxiety at this difficult time can be done in a variety of ways;

  • Avoid excessive (or any) exposure to the media coverage.  If you wish to look at the news, choose a source you would look to normally.  There are many useful resources on the BBC website.  Set a time that you will look at the news each day and put a limit on it.  You may wish to do this by setting a limit of 10 minutes every couple of hours.  If this is too much you may wish to set a limit of 10 minutes once a day.  You can decide what is right for you, but whatever you do, make a plan and try and stick to it.  This will give you structure and routine at a time when those things have been largely taken away beyond our control.
  • Connect with others through calls, text and video calling.
  • Add extra time into your day for stress relief.  This could be some gentle exercise, a mindfulness activity or enjoying a hot drink.
  • Practice self care
  • Focus on your mental health
  • Limit or stop completely your use of alcohol and or/other substances.  If you are unable to safely stop please do not stop of your own accord without medical advice or intervention. 
  • Social media can be useful for catching up with friends and family, and in feeling connected to others, however it can also increase feelings of loneliness. 

For children;

  • If you are taking care of children then it is important to reassure them that they are safe.
  • Let them talk about their worries.
  • Share some child friendly coping skills with them.
  • Limit their news exposure.
  • Create a routine and some structure to each day.  It is difficult to do this far in advance but you could try to create a route for one to two days at a time.

For self isolation;

  • If you are unwell then you need to ensure that you rest.  If you are able to, this means to rest in bed with your eyes closed and no other distractions.
  • Ensure that you are drinking plenty of non alcoholic fluids.  Warm drinks can help.
  • Ensure that you take any medication as directed.
  • Eat.  You should ensure that you have access to healthy nutritious food and this may mean that you need to call on a friend, family member or other person who may be able to drop off food items to you.  If you are self isolating you may need to ask them to leave them on your doorstep. 
  • Keep in contact with your loved ones via social media, texts and phone calls.
  • Create a daily self care routine.
  • Keep yourself busy with games, books and films.
  • Focus on new relaxation techniques.

If you are feeling well, but are in isolation then the following can help to keep you feel on top of everything;

  • Create a routine for each day (it might help you to do this the night before). It doesn’t have to be strict, but you should add things on here that you wish to accomplish the following day and include a planned waking up and bed time.  It also helps if you can plan your meal times as it will give your day structure and focus. 
  • You can build exercise into your daily routine in the following ways;
    • Cleaning your home.
    • Dancing to music.
    • Seated exercise.
    • Online exercise workouts that you can follow.
    • Sitting less.  If you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, getting up or changing position can help.
  • A few other tasks you might like to try;
    • You could try having a clear out.  Sorting through your possessions and putting them away tidily can help focus your mind.  You could also have a spring clean while you’re at it.  Set aside any possessions that you wish to donate to charity or up-cycle by giving them to someone that may use it more than you do. 
    • You can delete any old files or apps that you no longer use.  You could also update all of your passwords.
    • Write letters or emails and make phone calls to people you have been meaning to catch up with.
    • You could use this time to do any household admin tasks such as filing away important letters or documents, or shredding any old documents that you no longer have a need for. 
    • Cleaning/dusting/rearranging.
    • Sewing/Knitting.
    • Gardening.
    • Mindfulness colouring.
    • Drawing/Painting.
    • Baking/Cooking.
    • Crosswords/Puzzles.
    • Writing a letter to someone.
    • Journaling.

Keep well and get in touch if you need any more information – aquariuslife@aquarius.org.uk.

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