Self-Isolation Starter Pack
The word self-isolation has jumped onto all our radars this year. Though the word itself is not new, for almost all of us, it is a new concept. This new concept is becoming a reality for more and more of us. This year, I have had to self-isolate twice, and while I am no expert, I have learned a few things from that experience which I would like to share. This is not an exhaustive list or in any way the only way to do things, but this is what has worked for me and so feel free to pick and choose what you like.
Maintain a solid routine
The first thing I would recommend, is to develop a solid morning and evening routine. There is a temptation to forget all the things you must do in this 10 to 14-day period and just procrastinate it all to when you’re done with self-isolation. However, a morning and evening routine give the day some form of structure which helps in being able to get things done, like university work or chores, and furthermore it stops the days from blending into one unending chunk of time. Doing this kept me motivated because the added benefit of a routine is that it takes up time, and so helped the days pass by faster by reducing the amount of time I was sitting and doing nothing. When it comes to making the routine, the truth is you probably already have one. The thing to think about is, whether you are happy with the routine you have or would you like to swap out, add, or remove some activities. In my second bout of self-isolation I added one new habit to my evening routine. I like the morning routine I had developed over the summer and so I kept that one the same. New activities can include exercise, prayer or meditation, journaling, reading or even cooking a meal from scratch. However, the most important part is to be flexible, if something is not working for you, change it. There is no perfect routine, and the one that works for you is the best one.
The second thing on my list is exercise. The importance of exercise cannot be overstated. Not only is it good for your body, it is also great for boosting your mood and lifting your energy levels. Feel no pressure to become an Olympian in your exercise of choice, and there is no better or worse exercise. When choosing an exercise to do, it is important to choose one that you like. There is a wide range of activities to choose from which you can do in your flat including Yoga, Pilates, online exercise classes and more. The restrictions that occurred worldwide this summer means that a lot of fitness gurus and exercise related companies have put their content online, which means you are very likely to find something that you enjoy if you look around on YouTube or Instagram. One of the greatest motivators for me to work out during my self-isolation period was that working out helped to pass the time, and so if you’re feeling bored, why not give a 15-minute exercise video a go. If you don’t know where to start, why not head to our Instagram page @residencelifecu, and on the IGTV section you will find some exercise videos done over the lockdown period by one of our very own RLCs! The amount of exercise you do is not so important as your consistency, so don’t push yourself too hard in terms of the number of sessions or the intensity of your workouts, start where you are and build up. One thing that has helped me remain consistent in working out, is to celebrate the little wins, from something as small as being just a little bit stronger than the previous week or that I actually did a session; every win is worth celebrating!
Does it spark joy?
The days can feel quite long when you are self-isolating, and so I encourage you to do things that bring you joy. Fill up your days with activities you enjoy and that recharge you. Call family and friends regularly, eat food that you like, cook, read the books that you have been saying you will read for the past year, learn a skill on Skillshare or do a film marathon. You may know what these things are, or this may be the time to discover new things that you may like. Initially it may feel weird to intentionally schedule an activity that refuels you, but after a while you will be happy you did it. There is no way to predict your productivity in this time beforehand, and if you find yourself struggling to do as much as you usually do, doing activities that recharge you will help loads in keeping your motivation up. A tip here, a good way to assess if an activity recharges you is to ask yourself how you feel after doing that particular activity, and while trying new things can be exciting, it can also be exhausting and that is okay.
You are not alone, reach out.
This is one which I have had to learn. If you need help with something, ask for help. If you need something from the store, ask your flatmates or friends if they can buy it for you. If you need someone to talk to, call a friend or sign up for our events, we would love to meet you, chat with you, and help you in any way we can. If you need support, we as Residence Life are here to signpost you to the service you may need, or you can use Student Connect (which is the small chat icon on the intranet) to point you to the service you may need. It can be difficult to rely on people in time, and you may worry about being a bother, but you didn’t choose to be in self-isolation and most people want to help in any way they can.
In conclusion I will say this, be kind to yourself. Self-isolating is not easy, it can be frustrating not to be able to go out when you want, and your energy may drop. It is wonderful if you find what you love and do it daily, or complete your to-do list every day. But it is also completely okay if you just get through the day and do not feel particularly proud of yourself. You are not better or worse for having done or not done something. The important thing is to prioritize your mental health and take care of yourself.
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