Ideas to Help Cope With Isolation

I don’t have any profound words of wisdom to share, but I did want to write a quick post about some things I am doing to keep a sense of normalcy in my life.

Like almost everyone else, I am experiencing living in near isolation for the first time in my life. As someone who has travelled quite a bit, I can say that I feel a bit more prepared for time away from family and friends in the short-term than if I had never left home, and I have been drawing on my experience to help guide me through this unusual time. Here are some things I am doing that I’ve learned from travelling, hiking, camping etc:

1. Staying connected with friends and family via social media, video calling, and sending messages with photos about daily life – As some of you may know, I spent a year living and travelling in Australia, Fiji and Thailand in 2008-2009. Living halfway around the world, and in a completely different time zone than everyone I knew meant that I needed to get creative in order to see and speak with them. I can remember having breakfast with my family while they were having dinner over Skype just to feel like I was still a part of our weekly family dinners. This is now even easier to do with the advances in technology that have occurred in the past 10 or so years. In the last week alone, I have had video chats via Zoom, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, and Houseparty. We can communicate with messages using text, email, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and probably even more ways I haven’t listed. Using these technologies, I feel that I am sometimes seeing friends and family even more than I normally would, and spending more time just chatting and catching up than we would if we were seeing each other in person for some kind of activity.

2. Make a plan for your day. When you don’t have anywhere to go or anything specific to do, it’s easy to feel lost or feel like you don’t have a sense of purpose. Even if your plan for the day is to get through 5 episodes of the show you’re bingeing, or to cook one meal for yourself, you’ll have something to accomplish. I always feel so amazing when I knock everything off my list.

3. Move your body. Yes, I am a yoga teacher. No, I don’t think you need to do yoga every day. I love the simple act of going for a walk, or a more vigorous body weight HIIT session. I usually try to get some movement in first thing in the morning, sometime around mid-day, and then foam roll or stretch a bit before bed. I find that getting myself moving helps me sleep better, and I feel less tired. Anyone who’s ever watched Legally Blonde knows “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy”. If you do feel like joining me for some online yoga classes check out my page.

4. Eat good food. I’m not just talking about healthy food, though that is important of course. I’m talking about food that makes you feel good. When I was living in Australia, I was feeling a bit homesick after a few months had passed and I was working a lot. My parents shipped me some Smartfood and Reese’s peanut butter cups (which weren’t available there) and I can still remember exactly where I was and what they tasted like when I ate them. I’m not advocating for filling up on junk, I’m just saying, if there’s a thing you love and it truly makes you feel happy, eat that thing. Eat your veggies too.

5. Dance it out. Put on your favourite music and find the rhythm. Or, just put on your favourite music and listen to it, taking it all in. Music has the power to lift me out of a bad mood, inspire me, motivate me, and remind me of good times.

Most importantly, I find it helps to remember that even though you may be on your own, you are never alone. We are all going through this together, even though we are not in the same physical space. If you ever feel like you just need someone to talk to, please reach out.

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