Three things I’ve learned from self-isolating

It’s day 3 of our 14-day self-isolating experience for our family due to my partner having a temperature. We don’t know if it is coronavirus since there’s no testing, but we’re taking the precaution anyway. I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned.

You are not alone.

When my partner woke with a temperature, the baby and I promptly moved into another room and started the self-isolating process. I couldn’t sleep and was worried about what to do about my eldest. I followed the guidelines at the time and sent her to school. By the time I picked her up the guidelines had changed and we all needed to be self-isolating for 14 days.

My daughter was devastated, that time took us up to Easter and she loves school. She also only has two weeks of Rainbows left and she was worried about not seeing her friends. I posted all this on Facebook and immediately we got offers for picking up the shopping, video calls, activities and general messages of support.

I messaged my brother and my aunt to cancel some family visits within that timeframe and lo and behold, they too were isolated. Suddenly we were all in this together. Being isolated didn’t feel so isolating for us with a brilliant and kind network.

Whether you have a network or not, this isn’t the time to hideaway. This virus is spreading and it’s no-one’s fault so reach out…there are people willing to help. There are Facebook groups in local communities offering ideas to keep folks entertained and to provide services for others. Join them, ask for what you need, offer support and ideas. If you’re not self-isolating get outside (practising social distancing).

We’re also seeing communities coming together all over the world, from rooftop fitness classes to singing in the streets. It is humanity at its finest.

We need to do things differently now

My friend commented on my post and said at first she’d been anxious about the food situation but had come around to realising that things needed to be different now. Maybe forever.

We too are experiencing that. We are surviving day to day and it’s ok to rip up the rule book. This is not the time to beat yourself up for your kids being on YouTube all day long (which incidentally I cannot fathom at all!). We are in unprecedented times, at least for our lifetime. With my normal routine out window, we have implemented a fun game for choosing activities and we’re eating from the cupboards and only getting the essentials (which are being dropped off outside our door). It feels liberating in one way.

We’re also seeing the need to be creative as lots of us work from home, sharing our space with other family members and trying to work virtually. I am really lucky to be able to continue coaching without much change but others are experiencing bigger changes. I have friends running baby classes by live video link! Of course, it’s not that easy for everyone and some folks need to work face to face and it is them who we are protecting by staying in. The biggest challenge when self-isolating is finding space for each of us to refill our cups! 

If you are self-employed it feels really uncertain but there is help available and my fellow freelancer Rachel Extance has put a list of resources out.

Remember that if you’re worried about your job or your business then the best thing you can do is tell someone. If you need a listening ear, please get in touch with me.

If ever there was time for self-care, this is it!

As I video called my aunt my kids went wild until it was pointless continuing. She messaged to apologise for causing chaos and I laughed and reassured her I’d created that chaos myself, times three!! Now, I love my kids but I also love the quiet time I get to work in whilst they’re at school. I fell into bed at 8.45 pm utterly exhausted from refereeing my chaos makers.

I grabbed a hot drink and settled down to my favourite movie (Harry Potter in case you’re wondering!) For me, last night, that’s all I could manage. Whether you isolating yourself from someone else in your household who’s unwell or it is you who is unwell then this is the time to look after yourself. It isn’t selfish, it’s vital.

If you have some extra time right now earmark it for something you really enjoy or maybe something you’ve always wanted to do. We’re going to be learning the guitar…well, I’m not, but I’m going to refresh my skills to teach the kids!

Or you might take some time for something quiet, maybe journaling, meditation, yoga, especially if you’re staying inside.

If you’re having to work early mornings and/or late nights put some hard boundaries in so that you don’t burn out.

If you’re feeling really anxious, focus on what you can control, which is essentially yourself and your actions. Write down your fears, talk to someone and get the worries out of your head.

Kindness in a crisis

The biggest upside to this situation is the kindness being shown to each other. Of course, there’s panic buying and madness like that but that comes from fear. More and more I’m seeing communities coming together, acts of kindness being demonstrated and gratitude abound. I’m seeing people be so generous with their offerings, their entrepreneurial and community spirit. My partner was telling me about Roman Abramovich who’s donated a hotel, free of charge to NHS workers. I’m seeing people showing courage and vulnerability in asking for and in receiving support and I’m proud to be a part of that.

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