Strategies for coping with home isolation

Challenges and Opportunities

Globally this Easter, there were 1.8 million COVID-19 cases with 115,000 deaths and rising. It can feel alarming, but there are ways in which we can respond to this. We can begin by identifying what is within our control and adapting to the new life circumstance of staying at home.  Taking a global macro perspective (motivated by the greater cause) – can unite us. However, we have the micro day to day life to contend with.

With kids at home, working from home and/or living in a shared apartment can be a challenge. Yet a sense of cabin fever or going stir-crazy can apply to anyone.

Media exposure: Saturation point? Consider limiting this. Choose factual sources. Tabloid mass-media feeds and propagates fear and anxiety. Some reliable feeds:

https://www.who.int/

https://www.health.gov.au

For some, it is essential to tune out.  Valid option.

Perspective

What are the actual chances of being infected- especially if practising social distancing? Where is COVID-19 placed in comparison to Malaria, HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis in terms of global cause of death? Truth is – it’s fractional.  For some, this can help.

 Connection

How can you stay connected with family and friends in varied, different and meaningful ways? Any alternatives to social media? Perhaps a hand-written letter whilst curling up with a cup of tea or phoning a person who is feeling lonely in isolation. Acts of kindness (to self and others) are sure to enrich your spirits. Maybe it’s an opportune time to connect with self.

Old world ways 

There is an opportunity to reconsider how we live.

The catchcry of: ‘I’m just so busy. I have no time ” has crept into our vernacular.  Being overly busy has become chic – a badge of honour. Perhaps now is the time to taste another way. Conjure childhood simple joys or a lifestyle you have dreamt of. Eg: Playing, cooking, riding a bike, walking without headphones, sitting in the autumnal sun, getting lost in a novel, be device free for a day, listen to a CD in full rather than racing to your favourite track, rest awhile, share a meal with actual conversation or find a room and be alone! Draw, paint, scrabble, jigsaws, board games, charades, hopscotch, marbles, knuckles…ahhh they were the days!!

For others – getting active and occupying the mind is the best tonic! Others will set boundaries and find a room for alone time. Whatever works for you – seek and enact, if you can.

Daily structure and routines

Create a set/timetable that suits you. It is highly likely that creating an individualised home routine will assist, otherwise, a day can get lost in screen-time overload.  Get up early, shower and dress as normal. Exercise time. Meal time. Study time. Family time. Downtime. Recreational time. Screen time.

Mini goals for each day could be set to enable a sense of productivity and achievement.

Creative expression?  What is possible for you? Draw, paint, mould, build, craft, compose, write, knit, dance … anything creative ..with no rules or self-judgment. Creativity lifts the soul!

I have always wanted to…..

Maybe learn a language, return to meditation, get into the garden, clean out the garage, shave your head, edit the 15000 photos on your phone, paint that fence, finish those unfinished jobs. Now is the best time!

 The Health basics of diet, exercise, relaxation and sleep are essentials.  Can you adapt? What routine /structure can you put in place to maintain the above for your own wellbeing? Is it measurable, realistic and who can encourage me?

Expressing how you feel

Many of us will be feeling stretched at home in some way – esp relationships.  Major changes to daily and weekly routines; the environment and personal space impeded. Minor irritations can amplify and tensions escalate proportions!

A good start point is to recognise these individualised feelings and understand where the subsequent behaviours come from. Calmly expressing how you feel, can assist. Logic can help, too!  Is not doing the dishes worthy of WWIII?  Probably not! Where is this stemming from? Express, explore and communicate. Others may say: ’lighten up, and laugh at the banality of the situation! ‘. Good option, too!

Shift of focus and reframing

We can easily get stuck in negative patterns of thought.

An interesting addition last week was with reporting of COVID-19. Cases, fatalities and now, RECOVERIES. This was a great shift in a shared focus. As time goes – each day we are closer to an effective treatment or vaccination.  Fact.

At  CCM , we value, revere and explore the Heroic Journey model in understanding hardship and suffering. This is applied for significant life crisis and the depths of nadir. So, it would rarely apply here to the issue of staying home.

However, I am reminded of our ability to reframe our experiences. In amongst the experience will be new insights and little gifts along the way. What are yours?

 

NB: Sadly, for some – home is not always a safe place – which has serious implications. Please refer to the first blog and access crisis hotlines if in need.

https://www.lifeline.org.au

Keep well

David Starr

Dip TP Art Therapy

Dip TP Counselling