Student Tips

How to Look After Yourself During Self-Isolation and Social Distancing

27th March 2020

We’re obviously in a very strange and unsettling time right now. I thought this video was really important to make because we’re all feeling really overwhelmed and freaked out right now. Today more than ever, it is important to come together and create a sense of community and support one another. So, in this video, I am going to discuss five different tips I have found to help me cope with what’s going on and with social distancing.

Stay Calm!

Rather ironically, my first tip is to try and stay calm. I’m sure that, in these past two weeks, you’ve heard the word ‘Coronavirus’ more than you’ve heard your own name in your entire life. Both the media and social media are riddled with fake news and misinformation and language that is used to cause hysteria. This is extremely unhelpful and will not do you any good.

I’d strongly encourage you to only follow information from reliable sources that aren’t using language to cause fear. One of my all-time favourites is an Instagram account called Simple Politics. They are currently providing their audience with simple and clear daily updates on what’s going on and they only provide clear-stated facts. They don’t use scaremongering tactics and I’ve found their updates to be really reassuring at a time of real uncertainty.

Stay Connected

Now more than ever, staying connected to your loved ones is incredibly important. Of course, everyone’s situations will be different. Some of you will be living with family, some of you may live with a partner, others with friends, and some will live alone. Regardless of your living situation, make sure you are still talking and engaging with the people that matter most to you. If you’re living with family or friends, spend time with them. I’m lucky enough to live with two of my bandmates and we’ve been spending our evenings watching films together, which has been so nice.

We are also incredibly lucky to live in a time of advanced technology and FaceTime is going to be your lifeline. FaceTime your family and your friends who you maybe can’t be with at this time. My friend told me about a really good group FaceTime app called Zoom – me and my group of pals are going to use it tomorrow night so we can all be on FaceTime to each other whilst having a glass of wine. It’ll be like being at the pub, but without the extortionate prices and no threat of spreading a virus – a win-win if you ask me. Check out Zoom here.

Make a Daily Schedule/Routine

For many people, a huge aspect of maintaining their mental wellbeing is having a sense of routine. And over the coming weeks, for pretty much all of us, this is going right out the window. This can be an extremely difficult thing to lose and it can be even harder to get it back.

In all honesty, I found the beginning of this week really difficult. I felt like I was floating in a void whilst the world outside was going crazy. But these were unhelpful thoughts and I realised that I do have control over how I spend my days. We’re in this situation and I think it is helpful to just accept it and to try and grow comfortable within it. The more we fight it, the harder it’s going to be.

As part of the notion of acceptance and sinking into what’s happening, I thought it would be helpful to create a new routine whilst enduring self-isolation and social distancing. As part of my routine, I am still waking up at 9am every day. I have now introduced morning and evening meditation – something I never felt I had time for. I have set hours for work, or music, an hour each day for exercise, and set hours for relaxing and down-time.

I don’t let myself watch Netflix all day because I know that makes me feel rubbish. Instead, I have an allotted period each evening where I watch a film with my flatmates and chill out. But during the day, I keep myself busy with work, projects, and fitness. I know that these things bring me joy and fulfilment and that is incredibly important right now.

I’d strongly encourage finding a routine that works for you. Of course, everybody’s different, but waking up and going to bed at a decent time can vastly help. Give yourself a rough guideline to stick to every day – it’ll help to improve your mental state, your productivity, and your general wellbeing, as it’ll give your days a sense of purpose. I promise!

Exercise and Try to Go Outside (Within Reason)

In a recent update from the government, they said that although they are strongly advising that we stay indoors and self-isolate, they are encouraging people to go outside on walks and to exercise. Of course, this must be within reason so as not to come into contact with other people. But this has been my lifeline during social distancing.

I am lucky enough to live by the sea in Brighton, and it takes me about one minute to walk down the road before I’m on Hove Lawns by the sea. I have been going running and on long walks every day since going into self-isolation and it has been one of the major contributing factors in maintaining my mental health. Being outside, breathing in the fresh air, and looking out at the sea whilst exercising and listening to a podcast has bought me so much tranquillity, and has allowed me to get out of my own head for a little bit.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our thoughts and anxieties in strange times such as these, but exercise can bring great clarity and peace and help to calm and clear your mind. You’ll also feel amazing afterwards.

I am aware that I am extremely privileged to live so close to the sea and that I am still able to go outside for short periods each day to exercise without coming into contact with others. If you live near other open spaces, such as fields or parks, I’d highly recommend going for a nice run, walk or even walk around the block where you live. Of course, just be conscious that you must remain a minimum of two metres away from other people.

If you are quarantining and you are not able to go outside, perhaps try and follow some exercise and workout videos on YouTube or via apps. There is loads of information and guidance available on various forms of exercise; muscle toning, cardio, and yoga to name a few. Find what works for you and keep fit!

Be Kind to Yourself and to Others

Now more than ever, we need to support one another and be there for each other. We are all going to struggle in some capacity and that’s ok. What is important is that we listen to our friends and our family and show love, kindness, and compassion. We all need that right now.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel good. These are some crazy circumstances we’ve found ourselves in. It’d be weird if you weren’t phased by it! If you feel sad, let yourself feel sad for a little while. Be kind to yourself and take your time. But know when to reach out to loved ones and ask for their help and support, because we are all going to be ok and we will 100% get through this.

I hope these five little tips can perhaps offer some guidance and comfort in these trying times. Keep sharing your tips and stories on how you’re dealing with social distancing, engage with each other and support one another. Please stay safe and well and stay inside!

Author

Olivia Judd

Olivia is a Songwriting graduate from BIMM Institute Brighton. She writes and performs under the moniker La Lune.