Surviving Isolation: A 9 Step Guide

Ben Gray is a personal fitness coach and the Founder and Owner of Suffolk Strength Academy. He shares some tips on how to survive isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic
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Surviving Isolation: A 9 Step Guide

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9 Steps to Surviving Isolation:

1. Connect with your neighbours

We are stuck in our neighbourhoods for the foreseeable, and whilst we have our friends and family at the touch of a button, it is inevitable we will lose and miss human interaction over the coming months. Connecting with our neighbours is a great way to get over this and discover more about people we might otherwise have said no more than a pleasant good morning to over a period of years.

Obviously, we can’t invite them round for coffee or a BBQ, and we probably shouldn’t go and chat on their doorsteps, but people are going to be out in the street. Take 5 or 10 minutes in passing to find out about them, share stories, and ultimately give them some human interaction, they will probably thank you for it.

We are all going to have to come together through this and I cannot think of a better way to start than by striking up conversations with our neighbours.

2. Use FaceTime

It could be a long time before we get to see and experience some of our friendship and community groups, let alone our families through this time, and while of course it is good to talk, we get so much more from visual connection.

A picture does speak a thousand words…

So, as we have the technology, let us use it and commit to making connection through visual means where possible, we will learn and understand so much more about the person from their visual cues than we would just through listening to their voice.

We will be able to have more meaningful conversations and connect on a far deeper level, despite the distance, through using video calls where possible.

3.  Create a Routine

Unfortunately, with the current situation as it is, life as we know it is likely (in the short term at least) to go out the window in place of chaos and confusion, which creates uncertainty, anxiety, and self-doubt, and the longer we remain uncertain of what is to come, the deeper we will go into these states, making it more difficult to get out.

The sooner we can grab back the certainty, the quicker we adapt to the new environment, and learn to accept it as the norm the quicker we get back to living our lives. The only way to do this is to create routines.

It is one of the first things parents ever do for their children, create reliable routines, something they can depend upon, and then, as we grow, we come to rely on routine to keep us on track throughout all phases of our life. Whether that is school, university, or our working and family lives, routine is what keeps us grounded.

We might just have to get creative and make some brand-new ones for now…

Focus on the simplest things first, such as the time you wake up and the time you go to bed and evolve your new routine over time to find the perfect fit.  It is unlikely you will get it right first time, be prepared to adapt and change it over the coming weeks until you find the sweet spot that works for you.

4. Get Outside

Being stuck in doors will wreak havoc on our health and mental state at a time when we need to be looking after those two things more readily than ever. Get outside at every opportunity, exercise outside, take phone calls outside, even work outside if at all possible.

Fresh air will give you the mental clarity to be more productive and assist in any problem solving that you are struggling with, while also giving you space from the monotony of sitting at your desk.

If you find yourself not going out, or indeed getting stuck behind your desk, schedule it in, set alarms and take regular breaks, do whatever it takes… but get outside!

5. Exercise

This should go without saying, exercise is going to be potentially our most powerful ally throughout this period. We can use it to keep our mind fresh, to change our state should we start to feel anxious, fearful, or weary, and it will keep us healthy and give us something positive to focus on when we need it most.

The list of benefits is endless, as is the list of exercises we can choose to take part in from walking to cycling, yoga to strength training – find something active you can schedule in daily and get started, you will thank yourself for it.

(Please stay tuned to our site over the coming weeks, and we will be making some sessions available to you to help you with this)

6. Learn a new skill

Many of the things we know and do are no longer going to exist in the way we are used to – the way we do exercise will likely change, there’s no live sport on TV, soaps and TV shows aren’t going to be as regular as they once were, and in all honesty are going to feel less important in our daily lives.

There is however going to be space created as a result of our new way of life, so let’s keep our minds active and fill that space with the opportunity to learn new skills – a language, an instrument, handstands, cooking…

The list of new (or old) skills you could try are limitless, and you will be surprised how much progress you can make over a short period of time if you dedicate just a little time each day to them – besides when was the last time you were a complete novice at something?

By being so, and learning something new, we will take away far more from the experience than just the new skill.

7. Practice Mindfulness

Understanding our own mind is hard at the best of times and we are going to spend much more time alone with it over the coming months. We will need to give our thoughts space, and time to flourish if we don’t want them to dominate us and turn on us. Don’t hide from your feelings and force them back, give them airtime, accepting them as they are – just thoughts – they need us to turn them into reality.

By giving thoughts space to roam, instead of boxing them in, you are more likely to learn to live in harmony with them – rather than entering battles you simply won’t win, be mindful of this.

You will be surprised at the amount of solutions you come up with when you work with your mind rather than against it.

8. Read positive material

Our heads are going to be filled with many concerns and disturbing reports over the coming months, use reading to block out the noise to forget everything for a few moments and escape into your favourite type of fiction, or grab a book that will help you develop as a person or think differently about circumstances or situation.

(We will look to put a reading list together over the coming weeks of some of the most influential books we have read)

9. …and music

Quite simply music heals the soul, listen to some great music, sit back, relax and enjoy.

We are currently in unheralded times in the modern era and it is something we simply cannot change, or fight, so why not embrace the new way of life and use it to come out of the other side with something positive to carry forward. Stay Safe, Be Inspired

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