• Kathy Shaw

How to self isolate and still remain positive

Updated: May 25, 2020

With the government announcement on Monday, it has now become apparent that as a nation we must self-isolate if we are to beat this awful Corona virus. Although we understand that for public health reasons we must follow the recommendations, I am all too aware of how self-isolation could have a detrimental impact on our mental health. I have put together some ideas that can help you to stay positive during these long periods of isolation in the hope that they will help you to combat the feelings of loneliness, sadness, depression and frustration.

1. Get up each morning at a regular time, eat at a regular time and go to bed at a regular time each night. This will help you to stay in control of your sleep pattern, thus reducing the negative impact that insomnia can have on your mental health.

2. Take advantage of your right to exercise. Go for a walk, run or a bike ride, alone or with a family member. Get out in the fresh air as this will help to reduce feelings of claustrophobia.

3. Keep in contact with friends and family as much as you can, either by phone, email or video call. Reach out to your loved ones as much as you can. Support is vital in times like these.

4. Keep up to date with the news but limit your interaction with it. When we listen to too much bad news we can feel helpless and hopeless and this can increase feelings of anxiety.

5. Record how you are feeling, either through a diary or on the notes section of your phone. Writing down your thoughts can help you to make sense of them.

6. See this as an opportunity for you to spend some time doing things you would normally be too busy to do.

Below is a list of ideas of things you could do to help you to stay engaged and positive during isolation. Challenge yourself to see how many you can complete during this isolation period. Having a focus each day and achieving a goal will distract you from your worries and the lack of control we have over this situation. Whatever you choose to do focus all your attention on it as this will help you to push your fears to one side, if only for a little while.

Things to do to stay positive and engaged during self-isolation.

1. Put on YouTube and learn a new dance. This will reduce stress, diminish depression and increase your energy levels.

2. Spring clean every room in your house. When you spend your energy and attention cleaning your home, you’ll appreciate what you have even more!

3. Dig up the weeds in the garden, mow the lawn, paint the fence. Create an environment that you can relax in when the sun shines.

4. Make a bird feeder and hang it just outside your window so that you can relax and watch the beauty of nature.

5. If you have teenagers take part in a Tik Tok video. Not only will you have fun, but you will be making some great memories with your child.

6. Paint, draw, sew or make a greeting card for someone you love so that they know how much you care.

7. Sort through the family photographs and put them in chronological order. This will help you to see your life as it has been and will help you to look forward to making more memories.

8. Cook something that you have never cooked before (if you can get the ingredients!) either by yourself or with a younger child so that you are learning something new together.

9. Sort through all your cupboards and throw out all the junk you haven’t used in over 2 years. If you haven’t used it by now, you’re not likely too.

10. Play a board game with members of your family and if this is not possible download puzzles onto your phone or computer. Playing games together or online will give you a sense of belonging.

11. Have a long soak in the bath. Use candles, play music, put on a face mask and take time to relax and appreciate the space.

12. Organise a video party with your friends. Put on some music and dance. Appreciate the friendships you have made and celebrate them.

13. Put karaoke on YouTube, choose your favourite song, pick up a brush and sing at the top of your lungs. Singing helps to release endorphins which helps combat depression and anxiety.

14. Take part in Joe Wicks 9 am PE lesson every morning on YouTube. Not only will this help to release endorphins which will help your mental health, it will help your physical health too.

15. Try on all your old clothes and throw out what you know you’ll never wear again. Life is about having a healthy mind and body, not about fitting back into those old jeans.

16. Tidy up your attic/loft and sit for a while going through all your boxes of history (photos, letters, mementos). Reconnect with your past, the good and the bad!

17. Download the Duolingo app and learn a new language. Once the world opens up again it will be nice to converse just a little bit with people who speak a different language to us.

18. Download the free BBC Sounds app and listen to music and podcasts. This can do wonders for lifting your spirits.

19. Read a book and escape to another time and place for a while.

20. Watch a box set that you have been meaning to watch for a while but have never had the time for.

21. Go through your DVD collection and watch a film that you haven’t watched for a while and remember all the reasons why you loved it (or hated it!).

22. Create a playlist of all your favourite songs and listen to them and sing along to them.

23. Text or call an old friend you haven’t seen for a while. This will help you to feel connected and it could be just the boost that someone needs right now.

24. Watch funny videos on YouTube and laugh out loud. Laughing will release any tension that you feel and will help to reduce your stress levels.

25. Visit the Open University website and sign up for a free online course. Keeping your mind busy will stop you focusing too much on the negatives.

This is not an exhaustive list and of course you can add to it yourself. It's just a few ideas of what you can do to keep yourself mentally and physically active as we wait for this dark cloud to pass over us.

Let me know how you get on.

Stay safe everyone.


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