4 Things I Have Learnt From Six Weeks of Isolation

It has been over a month now since I started self-isolation and practising social distancing measures. One whole long, feels like a lifetime, month. In this time, I have laughed, I have cried and on the whole I have had a huge sense of surreal wash over my existence. What have I learnt then from one month of isolation?

Time Has Little Meaning

We are trying to keep with somewhat of a routine. We get up, get dressed and begin the day with school work. We also have lunch, dinners and try and do the same standard bedtime routine that we are used to. There is some relevance to the day we are on, but even then that’s lost some meaning.

The weeks seem to go quickly on the whole. But the days seem to be long. It’s reminding me of the early years of my children’s life, the days are long but the years are short. That was the phrase drilled in to my head, and boy was it true. Even the bad days that seemed never ending, eventually ended and before I knew it another month had gone by. That’s what’s happening now.

Each morning I wake up, saddened by the prospect of another day without being able to see those I love. Without being able to nip out for a coffee and cake with a friend, or take my children out somewhere fun for the day to explore. The day goes on and on. And then it’s nighttime. I go to bed sad, knowing that it’s Groundhog day.

Then before I know it, I realise it’s been weeks since I last hugged a friend, or dropped my kids off at school. It’s been weeks of this new normal. Time has lost meaning. I can’t use dates to really plan anything, only the odd call or work committment to schedule in.

You Realise Who’s Important To You

During this time you realise who you miss and who you wish you could see. I have really missed my friends and family. I’ve been wishing I could just see them one more time for a 10 minute coffee.

The friends that have stayed in touch, that have called me, FaceTimed me, they mean the absolute world. I miss them all so much but I know that when I see them that the time apart will be worth it. Time apart like this makes you appreciate things more. Boy, have I appreciated those friendships more. I’ve realised just how much people mean to me and how lucky I am to have them.

If during this time, you find that you don’t miss things or people so much, that you feel calmer and better without them- I think that is really telling. Hopefully this time will give you the strength to walk away from anything that no longer serves you- this is something that thankfully happened to me before Covid 19, so I am able to process this time far better.

If anything this time has made me feel closer to some people. As we have faced these fears and emotions together, and been a bit soppier than we would have usually. I’m not afraid to tell my friends that I miss them, I love them and I am lucky to have them.

You Appreciate The Little Things In Life

I have taken so much for granted, without really even realising. I’ve always been a grateful person usually. But this has taken that to a whole new level. Who knew that we would miss school runs? Trips to the super market? Being able to order food or go into any shop? Who knew that the coffee shops would shut down so you couldn’t even just pop in for a take away coffee, let alone see and catch up with those you adore.

If anything, the little things in life for me now have even more meaning. I will never look at life in the same way again. I don’t even know how or when normality will resume, but I know that I will never ever take any of it for granted again.

In Dark Times, Stars Shine

For me, I am noticing how kind and beautiful some souls are. In scary times, always look out for the helpers. They are the heroes. They are the ones that shine brighter than any stars.

From Joe Wicks delivering the nation’s PE lessons, to the headteachers of my children’s school sending out regular reassuring letters. Sometimes, its the little ways a person can help that make a vast difference in these turbulent times. Our local community set up a community support system, meaning those that are self-isolating didn’t need to leave to go and get medicines and food.

These times are dark, they are unsettling. But there will always be the silver linings. The kind people that help are the ones making this whole situation a whole lot better. They should always be remembered and appreciated after this.

All the key workers, bravely working throughout a time when they could be endangering theirs or their loved ones lives by just stepping out to go to work and keep the country running. Super market staff, NHS, fire fighters, police, lorry drivers, farmers, the list goes on- thank you all.

I have learnt a lot from one month of isolation. I have learnt that light can still shine in the dark times, that it’s ok if our usual modern day time and routine is washed away momentarily. Because all that matters is the people we love. Taking care of them, keeping them safe, keeping in touch. I know on the other side of this, that I will get to see those I love again. And I will never ever take them, or normal life for granted again.

What has one month in isolation taught you? Comment below, I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to hear my thoughts on why I think social distancing will have an impact on mental health, check out my blog here.

If you need some ideas on things to do in isolation, check out my blog here.

Social Distancing and the Impact on Mental Health

It’s been a few weeks since I last published a blog post for Me Against Myself. I had one lined up as a new blog post, but it’s hardly relevant now. The World as we know it has quite literally been turned upside down. It has affected the lives of so many, if not everyone. We are now effectively in ‘Lock-down’ in the UK. Now this is affecting many aspects of our lives and our freedom is the main element. But also social distancing is having a huge impact on our mental health.

Worrying and Anxious Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I have had a bucket load of worrying and anxious thoughts. I feel like the vast majority are in the same boat here, we are worrying about the coronavirus itself and either ourselves or our families getting infected. But also, worrying about the impact this social distancing and lock down may have on us financially. Many of us will see our employment, or businesses suffer due to the current situation.

We may also be worrying about food, getting food and the supermarkets potentially having a shortage. In fact, there is just so much you could worry about when it comes to Covid 19.

What can we do about our worries? The main thing to take away here, is that these are unpredident times. No one knows what is happening, or what the future holds. There is so much uncertainty and of course, the climate changes daily. So, it’s almost like having a constant knot in our stomachs waiting for the next wave of news to hit us.

Why not try worry time? No, it won’t take away these worries completely- and they are only natural. BUT it may just help to control them a little bit.

Social Isolation

One of the biggest changes to life is our inability to be social. Now usually we are naturally social beings, however, we are have to put a pause on all social encounters for now. This is obviously for the greater good to help stop the spread of the virus, however it is bound to affect our mental health.

I have always said that a cuppa and talk with a friend does you the world of good. Hugs and warmth from someone else help to comfort you when you’re feeling low are priceless. I have on many occasions cried over the past week, not only because of my worries of the invisible killer, but also at the thought of not being able to see my friends for months.

Never again will I take for granted going for a simple coffee and cake with a friend and discussing life. And what I wouldn’t give to have a girls evening in with one of my best friends, howling with laughter like we usually do. There is so much I wouldn’t take for granted again. Like going on a school run and having that 10 minutes of conversation at the start and end of the day with others.

What can we do about social isolation? Just because we are practising social distance and essentially in a ‘lock down’, it does not mean we need to socially isolate. Keep in touch with loved ones, whether they’re friends or family on social media, by messages or phone calls. I have already Face-timed a friend whilst we both sat, had a drink and caught up. I have also made a phone call at least once a day touching base with friends. At the end of each phone call, my spirits were lifted.

It’s funny, as before this, we had to be careful with social media but yet now social media and our smartphones are our lifeline when it comes to coronavirus. Through them, we can still touch base with friends and family. I encourage you all to regularly call and keep in contact with your friends and family. Before we know it, we will be sipping on a warming mocha and looking into the eyes face to face of those that warm our hearts. Just hold tight for now.

Trapped Inside Our Heads

Not only does the coronavirus lock down mean we will feel trapped inside our homes, but it will also be hugely testing for our mental health. That means that we will also feel trapped inside our heads too.

There is so much more that could cause ourselves low moods, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. It can exasperate conditions that were already there, even if they were fairly dormant. My anxiety had been the best it had been in years. This has knocked it back ten fold. I have cried more than I think I ever have, and I have a constant knot in my stomach with anxiety.

What can we do about feeling trapped? Keep busy. That is the best way to combat boredom and also dwelling on things. Write lists of things you can do, split them into housework, hobbies, self-care tasks, Spring cleaning tasks and if you have children, home schooling tasks. This will keep you busier than you realise. Keep to some sort of routine, create a loose timetable on what you might do each day. You don’t have to strictly keep to it, but it may help.

Looking for the positives.

Try to see the positives in this unprecedented situation, we all lead such busy lives that often we don’t have the time to pause. I am seeing this as life being paused. Of course I miss my friends, and I am worried about the virus itself. But, maybe being cut off from normal life is just what we all need?

Certainly the environment is managing to heal. The world is having a rest. That’s another positive to take from this.

But asides from that, when was the last time you really took time out- a decent amount of time to spend with your family, or partner? When were you last able to spend time doing your hobbies? NOW is that time.

Self-care can come first. The pause button has been pressed. Now we could sit and dwell on it all, or we can embrace this quiet time. It is time we will never get back again. Once life resumes, we will be so busy- and hopefully mindful of every social interaction we ever encounter again.

How are you coping? Let’s reach out, keep talking and support each other through these testing times.