3 Ways to Deal with Social Isolation
As someone who has been largely stuck at home for years due to illness, this whole self isolation thing is nothing new to me. But that doesn't mean that I haven't struggled with it over the years. I'm good at it, but sometimes a little too good at it! That's why I decided to share 3 simple sanity savers to help get you through the coming weeks (or months?!).
While pants may have become optional for your day to day life now that you're stuck at home, they are not optional for your mental health! Now don't get me wrong, no one likes getting home (on the odd occasion that I do leave the house!) and pealing off those tight restrictive jeans more than me. "Pants come off!" is probably my most repeated homecoming statement (apart from declaring what a good boy my dog is and how much I missed him!). But a lesson I learned very quickly in the early days of my illness was that getting out of your pjs and into some day clothes is incredibly important. Your day clothes can be as gross, loose and baggy if that's what comfort prescribes, but you must not have worn them to bed in the last 12 hours!
Even if you don't bother to shower, the ritual of getting out of your pjs and into some day clothes will become increasingly important in the coming weeks (or maybe months!). Having said, if you can shower daily, you really should! Declaring yourself ready for the day with a pair of pants and a coffee is a great way to mentally switch into gear. Just like putting those pjs back on at the end of the day is a way of telling your subconscious that the day is done and you can now relax. Observing the pants rule may be just what you need to stop you climbing those walls in isolation borne frustration.
2. Reach out
This is a no brainer for you extroverts. If being around other people energises you it's probably hard for you not to reach out to friends and family to check in and recap your day. But for those of us who love being alone, or with just one or two loved ones, this is a tough one. This is a big deal because before you know it you may have gone 3 weeks with only talking to yourself!
A lot of introverts feel like they're inconveniencing their friends or loved ones when they reach out. Or possibly you don't reach out because there's not a whole lot that's been going on with your life so what would you talk about? Feeling uninteresting or like a burden to your friends is pretty common. But remember, they're your friends, they want to hear from you! Even just a text to check in and see how they're travelling can be a good way to keep in touch.
Feel like you have nothing to say but missing a bit of contact? A textual life observation can be an easy way to let someone know you're thinking of them and looking for a bit of connection. Because really, what was Dumbledore thinking employing Hagrid as a teacher? And if there is a Ministry of Magic, why can't they occasionally intervene at Hogwarts to make sure that Dumbledore isn't just appointing his mates? Yes, I listen to Harry Potter audio books when I can't sleep. Which is often.
3. Get Outside
Every day. Every single day, get outside and feel the wind/ sun/ rain on your face. Enjoy the fresh air! When you're in isolation it can be easy to go days without venturing out of your front door. This added isolation from the outside world will slowly wear on your mental and physical health. So make a concerted effort to get out and enjoy the day!
The best time for you and your energy levels is first thing in the morning, so why not enjoy your first coffee in the garden? If you're really not a morning person, nothing blows out the cobwebs like a quick walk around the block at lunchtime or before dinner. Trust me, you'll feel better for it!
How is your social isolation going? Have any tips to share? Get in touch and let us know how you're managing in this crazy time! And remember, put on pants!
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