• BLOG | Corona Crisis Self-Isolation – How to Stay Resilient

    March 20, 2020 | Andrew Stead
  • As we all now know, on 11th March, Coronavirus, aka Covid-19, became a pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    There’s no reason to panic - here are the general best practice guidelines advised by WHO to reduce the potential health risks.

    In many countries self-isolation is already a fact of life. And if you’re in a country where it’s not yet, get ready!

    Here’s the best guidance I’ve found on the practicalities of how to self-isolate, published by the government of New Zealand.

    Psychological Dangers

    However, one of the topics not yet fully covered is how to stay fit and healthy, especially psychologically healthy, during the isolation most of us must now be prepared to face.

    For many centuries isolation has been used as a psychological punishment – right the way from standing in the corner as a naughty schoolchild (that’s me!) to solitary confinement in our penal systems. So it’s no surprise that the research shows that self-isolation is severely related to depression (Taylor at al., 2016), and can lead to anxiety, public anger and PTSD (Brooks et al., 2020).

    As you know, I’m no healthcare professional, but I am a Resilience expert and I know some tricks to keep the mind healthy. So, here are my best ideas to help you make the most of your self-isolation!

  • 1. Exercise

    Empirically, physical exercise is the best thing we can do to build psychological Resilience.  

    Moving the body is fundamental in trying to stop the mind. Physically exercise prevents risks of depression (Meyer & Schuch, 2018) and anxiety (Petruzzello, 2018) and improves cognitive functions (Okudan & Belviranli, 2017). And the evidence suggests that even small units of 10 minutes anaerobic exercise is beneficial.

    So, I suggest you roll out a mat and get into the habit of exercising regularly at home!

    Here’s a link my own morning exercise routine to help you along the way! [CLICK HERE]

    The upside? When this is all over, we’ll be fit and ready to go for a run or play tennis like never before!

  • 2. It’s Good to Talk!

    The 2nd largest component of our well-being comes from our relationships. Not that long ago, international communication was tricky to say the least. Nowadays, while partly a 21st century curse, lets also bless this modern technology that allows us to communicate with our friends and family easily and cheaply around the world. Our nearest and dearest have never been so close! Science tells us that social communities and support have extraordinary benefits in tackling depression (Uchino et al., 2020) and reduces anxiety (Majumdar et al., 2018).

    So dial up that video chat with your aunts, uncles, god children and overseas friends you rarely talk to. Get connected and feel the love. But beware not to engage in unending chat or scrolling on social media. In fact, giving up social media improves our well-being and reduces stress (Vanman et al., 2018).  

  • 3. Personal Planning

    Research says that on average we spend more time planning our summer vacation than we do planning our lives (Abdulrahman, 2010). A period of isolation is the opportunity to change that!

    Perhaps it's time to sit back and consider the big picture. Where you’re at and where you’d like to be heading. What do you value and what’s your life purpose?

    One excellent way we can support this is to write stuff down! Journaling is shown to have numerous benefits: it makes you smarter (Falahati, 2003), reduces stress and anxiety (Korb, 2012), improves communication skills (Sperling, 1996), boosts your creativity (Cameron, 2012) and even heals physical, emotional and psychological trauma (Murray, 2002).

    Make the most of your self-isolation and have a solid make over!

  • 4.Read

    As a society we’re simply not reading anymore. I know it's true of myself, but the science agrees, suggesting that on average, Americans read for only 15 minutes a day (Watson, 2019). Clearly the internet and TV are our primary tools of distraction.

    However, through not reading, we’re not only missing out on the knowledge we receive from books, but also their therapeutic function.

    When Nietzsche supported the social necessity of tragedy and their cathartic properties, he couldn’t have been more right! Poetry is also shown to confer extraordinary benefits (Healey et al., 2017).

    Reading your favourite poems, exploring a new author or reading a book that‘s been gathering dust since Christmas, will boost both your brain and morale!

  • 5. Extra Zzzzzzs!

    How many times have you dreamt of taking some time off just for sleep? Self-isolation provides the perfect opportunity to get some extra Zs! Even if you’re still working during your period at home, I recommend spending that extra time you just picked up from not commuting in bed!

  • 6. Declutter

    Most of us have a papers lying around, a disorganised wardrobe or a junk room. And what about those old Christmas gifts you’ve not shaken off yet?

    Capitalize on your self-isolation to declutter your house, your documents, and your time.

    The science shows how our mess takes up valuable visual and brain space. And how decluttering will make you less stressed, more productive and change your life forever (Edwards, 2018).

    In doing so, we’re making much more space for the good to come!

  • So in my opinion, self-improvement really could be the key to self-isolation! Don’t miss this golden opportunity.

    I’m providing a variety of resources to support people and organisations during these challenging times. Please take a look at some of them HERE. [CLICK HERE] and keep an eye out for more Corona Crisis posts over the next few days,

    Wishing you all the best during your self-isolation and the Corona Crisis, please be in touch if I can help,