Tips for surviving self-isolation and social distancing
A virus from China is sweeping its way across the globe and people are being forced to stay home or avoid unnecessary contact with others. Unfortunately this is not the plot of the latest sci-fi blockbuster but life as we currently know it.
There is no denying that the new coronavirus is changing the way we go about our daily lives, which in itself is unsettling and scary – never mind the threat of getting sick. But remember you are not alone (even if you are self-isolating), we are all in this together.
Here is a handy guide to surviving the social symptoms of Covid-19.
I know that is easier said than done when it's all we hear about in the news but it is important for our mental wellbeing and those around us such as children and older relatives, that we stay calm. Follow the health guidelines at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 about washing hands (we are all going to hate the Happy Birthday song after this) and social distancing. And remember if you are ill, stay at home. Visit www.gov.uk for the latest updates and advice.
Don't bulk buy
There is no need to stock up on essential items because the supermarkets are not going to close and the supply chain is operating as normal. It might not seem like that when you walk into a shop at the moment and the shelves are empty but that is half the problem. It has a ripple effect because more and more people start to panic buy leading to more shortages. Remember people on low incomes often live week to week so they can't stock up on essential items and people who care for the elderly and vulnerable need things like hand sanitiser to help keep themselves and the person they care for safe and healthy.
As well as the government and NHS websites, keep an eye on regional and national news sources for all the latest coronavirus developments as well as support measures being put in place, such as help for people and businesses facing financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic. It's also worth looking at local business websites and social media for changes in the way they operate. For example, some eateries are offering a delivery service to people self-isolating or social distancing.
We might have to keep our distance physically but the wonders of modern technology means we can be as connected as ever. Take advantage of social media, messaging and video chat facilities to stay in touch with friends and family, even those in self-isolation, or go old school and pick up the phone and have a good old chat. You don't have to miss out on your regular activities either because you can meet with your book club virtually and do exercises classes online.
Support each other
Look out for your neighbours, especially those who are elderly and live alone. And reach for help if you are in need of support. Keep an eye on community pages on social media where people are offering to help those in self-isolation by picking up groceries. There are also tutors offering online learning for children out of school. Small businesses also need our support in what will be a difficult time financially as footfall continues to decrease, so buy local from independents whenever you can. Some of them have online shops so you don't even have to leave the house.
Social distancing doesn't mean you can't go outside. You can still go to the park or enjoy a walk in the woods, just keep a good distance away from other people. Even if you are self-isolating you can still enjoy your garden and what better time to start tidying up those borders and putting in bedding plants. You could even try your hand at planting your own veggies so you have fewer trips to the shops.
This might sound crazy when we are all worrying about getting sick and paying the bills but self-care is more important than ever during these unprecedented times. So make sure you put time aside from home working and keeping the kids entertained to do something enjoyable, just for you – whether its read a book, have a bath or listen to music. Make the most of family time too by getting out the board games and jigsaws or turn your sitting room into a dance floor. Just because the world is a strange place right now, doesn't mean we can't laugh and have fun.