Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, we’re now attempting as a nation to come to terms self-isolation and the surreal fact that we have to stay at home for the foreseeable future.
For many of us, this brings worries about loneliness, boredom and uncertainty – as well as financial insecurity.
Having had a chest infection for some few weeks, I personally feel ahead of everyone else in the self-isolation game!
Whilst I’ve been at home for a while now, I’ve learnt how best to manage the situation and what to do and not to do!
So, whether you’re at home on your own, with your family or looking after vulnerable parents: here are five top tips to keep you in cheerful spirits and to keep you from feeling frustratingly nauseous with cabin fever!
1. E-socialise as much as possible
One of the most daunting things about self-isolation is the prospect of being alone for so long.
Whilst I live with other housemates, I have no idea when I will physically see my friends and family again. But, times have changed since the Spanish Influenza – the last global pandemic of this nature.
This is 2020 and we can have virtual coffees or dinner with friends. Zoom, Skype, FaceTime. WhatsApp, Hangouts and Google Meet are all really simple tools enabling you to hang out with friends and loved ones from the isolated haven of your own home. Or, why not pick up the phone and have a good old natter?
Outside of work, I’m trying to schedule at least one call or video chat a day, so that physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social distancing. At work, my team has also agreed to a regular video catch-up every day to stay connected and on top of what we’re doing.
It’s really important to stay in constant regular contact with friends and family. So, connect with others!
2. Stick to a routine
Staying at home may mean our regular mealtimes, commute, chores and social activities are now all in a pickle. And, here’s where creating a routine helps!
Maintaining even a vague structure is critical to help us get through our to-do list and to maintain some peace of mind. Ask any stay-at-home parent or friend who regularly work from home!
So, on a working day, make sure you’re showered, dressed and sat at whatever table you’re using to work from home. This will help you feel mentally prepared for the tasks ahead of you.
Don’t forget to also take your lunch break at regular times – this can also help split up the day and help your mind and body to separate between work and leisure time.
Yes, you do need downtime too when working from home!
3. Connect with groups and hobbies
With places of worship, theatres, sports venues, cinemas and other places of leisure closing down, you may feel like you’ve been forced to put your hobbies and interests on hold. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Fun groups are springing up all over the place, using the power of online connections.
Earlier this week, The Sofa Singers welcomed 500 people logging in all over the world to harmonise songs like “Stand by Me”. Their mantra? “Sing as if no one is listening… because they won’t be!” (While participants can see each other via video link, technology to hear one another is not yet available.)
The Coronavirus Theatre Club has also called on writers and actors to send in submissions to stream theatre performances online. Meanwhile, if you’re concerned about how to keep fit, many fitness studios, yoga and pilates teachers are putting their classes online.
People are coming up with all sorts of ways to stay connected to communities with shared interests during this period of self-isolation. Just keep searching.
For example, for those of you who are missing going to the mosque, you can listen to Friday khutbahs online. It’s worth seeing if you can find resources through your local mosque. Have a look at their website or ask around in local social media groups.
Plus, whilst we’re at home, it’s a great time to reconnect with offline hobbies and interests too. Perhaps you enjoy reading, crafts, sewing or painting? You can even watch that DVD boxset that you’ve never had time to unwrap.
The possibilities are endless, so fear not!
4. Have faith
Whether you’re a person of faith or no faith, with uncertain times ahead, it’s important to stay positive about the future. Things may not be easy, but we’ve got so much to be thankful for!
I’m not a person of faith myself, but by reminding myself of the positives in my life and trying to remain patient, I can better face the future.
Likewise, for people of faith, a moment of reflection, thanks or prayer can offer real reassurance, peace and hope. Knowing God is there can be a real comfort.
So, whatever your faith or beliefs, take time to pause, to reflect and to remember everything we have. A home, loved ones, food on our table and the future ahead are all things to be thankful for.
5. Help the vulnerable
One of the scariest things about this whole bizarre situation is that we have no idea how long it will go on for. We feel that everything is so far beyond our control.
And here’s where I’m taking some inspiration from climate activists. Their way of calming their anxiety about the planet is by doing what they can.
We can definitely apply the same situation to this crisis!
Firstly, by staying in, you are doing your bit. You are actually helping to save lives by staying at home. Secondly, there is a lot you can do from the comfort of your own home to support others who are affected.
The National Emergencies Trust (NET) of which Islamic Relief UK is a member, has launched an appeal to support families and individuals across the UK. Likewise, Islamic Relief UK has launched its own appeal and released £500k of its own funds to help people in need in the UK.
We’re supporting a range of local organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable amongst us are kept safe. By helping others, we can do something positive – and save lives – during this critical time.
So wherever you are, we’d like to wish you a safe, peaceful time at home.
As part of our continued commitment to supporting vulnerable communities here in the UK, we have partnered with a range of UK organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable amongst us are kept safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
By donating today, you can help save lives.