Making the most of self isolation

30 March 2020

For many people, the self isolation most people are currently facing because of COVID 19 is a real challenge. Lack of social contact, being in the same environment and a disruption of normal routine and going out are major ordeals. Suddenly the life we have all been used to has been taken away from us without us having a choice in the matter.

I've seen people posting comments on Facebook trying to be funny like 'Our grandparents had to fight in the war, you've only got to sit on your sofa'. However, the reality is much more difficult. Being stuck in the house with no social contact can make people far more depressed and cause complex mental health problems. Indeed, if there was a real physical threat we had to run away from, we'd be so consumed with the threat we wouldn't have time to contemplate the gravity of our situation. With Covid 19 we are put into a position where we have to just spend hours, days and maybe months faced with almost pure contemplation time. So in some ways the challenge many people face with regards to their mental health is just as intense as if there was a war.

As well as being a mentalist, I'm also a psychotherapist. Currnetly I'm working with some clients remotely by telephone or video conferencing. It is nowhere near the same as face to face sessions. I work with some clients who have experienced major traumas, including experiences in war zones and even torture. Being shut inside without their normal routine and distractions means that they are faced with time on their own at home to think, and unfortunately all of these memories flood back.

So I'd suggest never joke about it being easy just sitting on the sofa for a few weeks.

What you can do is use the time to do things you've been putting off. Watch some lectures on Youtube or Ted talks. Learn something new or revisit an old hobby, like painting. Learn a new craft. Take out a board game that's been gathering dust because you've put off playing it. Engage your brain and your body in new things.

Think if your brain like a muscle. Use it and it develops. Don't use it and lose it.

Involving yourself in activities can also help distract you from all of those negative thoughts you'd rather put off.