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Coping with Isolation

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Depending on where you live, your version of isolation may be a bit different. You may have already been in isolation for a while or you may be in a country where restrictions are being lifted a little. You may also of course be an essential worker who hasn’t been in total isolation at all. In Australia, where I live, restrictions are being gradually lifted. Strangely though, I have kinda got used to being at home and I am not in a hurry to get back into the pre COVID busyness. I know though that some people are struggling with isolation.

How are you doing?

This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is - and how much we need human connection! Remember you are not alone, everyone is impacted! No Matter where we are in the world are all going through something similar.

This is an interesting quote which is really applicable to current situation,

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor E. Frankl

This is the challenge each of us must rise to! If we're going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it.

10 Things You Can do to Make Your Life Better while Physically Isolated:

1) Create a Routine

What I have found most helpful is creating and sticking to a routine.

When we feel powerless or helpless (as so many of us do at the moment), one EXTREMELY easy thing to do is to create a routine or schedule. Try to get up and go to bed at the same time. I find it works best if I plan the next day the night before, so I will have some idea of what my day will look like.

While we're all stuck in anxiously waiting at home, it's easy to lose our sense of time. Days can begin to blend into each other. A routine can give us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives. And if you have children, creating a routine is especially important to give them a sense of normality.

Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time and some learning or creativity so you get some benefit from this challenging time.

It's also important to recognize weekends because it's too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a more flexible schedule for your weekends.

Creating a routine will give you a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it's important for you - and especially important for children - to have predictability.

2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Flexibility!

Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health but feeling more physically powerful actually helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too!

So, add some physical activity into your schedule - as little as 15 minutes daily. Maybe by the end of this you'll be fitter. It is good for your mental health too.

There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas:

· Take up a yoga practice - excellent for strength-building, flexibility - and calm! There are lots of online options. Here is one with everything from 10 minutes for beginners to an advanced practice. I have been doing Yoga with Kassandra’s 30-Day Morning Challenge on You Tube. It is a free 10 minute daily yoga class, that is very easy to put into your morning routine and even continue after isolation ends.

· There are so many other online fitness classes on YouTube - for beginners or experts such as pilates, dance, bootcamps, indoor walking,

· If you are allowed to go out, get outside at least once a day for a walk (or a run). Walking in nature or close to water will help you feel better too.

REMEMBER: BEING stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness!

3) Catch up on your reading

If you are like me, you may have a pile of books waiting for you to find the time to read. And guess what, now you have the time! I usually have 2 books on the go at the same time. One is a personal development or business development book and the other a novel. I have still been doing that during isolation but reading them much faster.

4) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning:

There are so many opportunities online to gain a new skill and they're growing by the day!

Grow your personal or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and take back to work with online training providers like Teachable or Udemy.

If there's a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any - and check money-back guarantees as you need to!

And with so many learning options ranging from FREE to tens of dollars to the low hundreds of dollars, there will be something out there just perfect for you.

I have 2 free online courses on the Teachable Platform that you might like to try

1. Five steps to Conquering your limiting beliefs. CLICK HERE to enrol. If you are feeling stuck and not able to create the life you desire, you might have some old (and unhelpful) beliefs, that are getting in your way. These are your limiting beliefs, and yes, we all have them. In this course you will delve quite deeply and identify and release the limiting beliefs that have been keeping you stuck 2. Managing sleep, stress and your immune system CLICK HERE to enrol. If you are feeling stressed or worried about your health, in general (and who isn't right now?), this course will help you to discover the connection between your immune system, sleep and stress. and how to use strategies to support you.

5) Be in the moment

In THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.

This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practicing BEING.

This is a PRACTICE - meaning you will have to do it over and over again - bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it's a great skill to have to take back to "normal" life.

So, when you notice you're worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the "latest" is about the COVID situation, say to yourself, "It's OK. In this moment, I am safe. In this moment I am OK." You can also add or say, "In this moment, my children/husband/family are safe."

EXTRA TIP: Reduce or minimise how often you watch and read the news! And DON'T read or watch the news (or articles about COVID-19 or similar) just before bed!

For more information on Mindfulness read my blog post Ten Strategies for Stressful Times

6) Laugh

Distracting ourselves from our fears is a valid technique for feeling better!

Laughter releases helpful chemicals in our bloodstream - Endorphins (our natural "happy" drug) and Dopamine (part of our bodily "reward" system).

✔What are your favourite comedy shows?

✔ Is there a comedian you like?

✔Watch a funny movie. Netflix and similar channels have so many options, so find something that makes you laugh!

·✔ Have you heard of Laughter Yoga? Check it out on You Tube. This will certainly make you laugh.

7) Start a Journal

If you've always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences and learn from them. It's a great way to get to know you.

It's great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started.

Here are some prompts to get started with:

Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.

One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________.

I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________.

One thing that's surprised me recently is _________.

What matters most to me in life is _________.

Describe your ideal day _________.

Use journaling to create a vision for the future post COVID-19

Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action and make change. Soon, we'll all be super-busy again - and a vision might be just what you need stay focused!

Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper:

What do you desire or yearn for in your life?

How do you want to feel?

What do you really, really want to be different in your life?

Imagine you're 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you proud and happy?

8) De-Clutter

I bet you have some organizational things on your to-do list (like going through winter clothes, sorting out toys to donate or tidying the laundry closet, garage or shed) that have been on there for a while. Use this isolation period to get them done!

Getting organized and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives - and therefore feel less helpless! Plus, it'll feel amazing just to have it done.

Organize your closets, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organizing. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes!

If you need some inspiration (and great clothes-folding tips) you could watch the Marie Kondo series on Netflix!

A simple 3 Step Method to go through your stuff:

1. If you're keeping it, be sure to DECIDE where it will "live" from now on.

2. If you're not keeping it, create two piles:

o Things to DUMP

o Things to DONATE (and if relevant to pass on to specific people).

3. When you're done, put each pile into bags or boxes, and then once this crisis is over you can get rid of what you no longer need.

TIP: You don't need to do any of this 'in one sitting', do an hour a day - you'll be surprised how much you get done if you keep it up for a week!

9) Grow Something - Or Get an Indoor Flowering Plant!

There is nothing quite like growing something - whether it's flowers, fruits or vegetables that makes us feel good! Even if you live in an apartment and you could grow fresh herbs on your windowsill or balcony to cook with!

Get some seeds, (a pot and some soil if needed) and get started.

Many plant nurseries are still open, or you could order seeds etc. online.

Follow the instructions - and remember to water it!

I have been sprouting broccoli seeds (which have so many health benefits) in a glass jar. It is so easy to do and much cheaper than buying the sprouts (if you can get them). There are many videos on You Tube that show you what to do. Here is one

If growing something is just too much work, get yourself a spring bulb or succulent (cacti) planter, or you could get an indoor plant like a Spathiphyllum* (Peace Lily) is good for cleaning the air of pollutants (and easy to take care of).

10) Begin a Meditation Practice

Meditation is a practice that has been proven scientifically to calm us, help us be more creative and be happier. It's extremely beneficial.

There is a lot to learn about meditation - and it's called a Meditation Practice for a reason. But it's also not as hard as it sounds. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day - and it's good to build a routine, so you meditate at the same time every day. Insight Timer is an app with lots of free guided meditations or go to YouTube or Google and search for "How to Meditate". Another good place to start is "Metta" or "Loving Kindness" meditation. Again, search online and you'll have lots of options to choose from.

It helps to have a quiet space without interruptions - which many of us don't have at the moment. And for some people, trying to meditate when anxious can be stressful. If this is the case, listen to a relaxing guided meditation instead.

Another idea is to listen to a sleep meditation or "Body Scan Meditation" before going to sleep.

Find more techniques and ideas in these blog posts:

I hope you have found some ideas here to keep your mind and/or body active during this period of physical isolation.

Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what - you'll find a way.

This current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. And when it does, you'll be proud you made the effort to learn something - whether it's about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill - and who knows what else!

I would love you to share below in the comments how you have been spending your time.

If you would like to reach out for some support, you can contact me here. To find out more about Managing Sleep, Stress and your Immune system with essential oils and other strategies enrol in my free online course or book a 15-minute call here.

Take care and stay safe safe.

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