For five days I’m isolating myself at home as a precautionary measure. I’m well, thank you, but I’ve just been at WOMAD, that glorious festival. On day 2, the New Zealand Government slapped a ban on all gatherings of 500 people or more. WOMAD had escaped the ban by hours, just by chance.
If anyone contracted Covid-19 at WOMAD, symptoms may not show for a few days. I decided to take a cautious approach and wait. My self-isolation is probably over-cautious, but it makes sense, given the coronavirus’s pattern of exponential spread.
Making that decision was easy. Yet almost immediately a sense of weirdness swept over me.
Surviving self-isolation when loneliness is a killer
Hard to believe that there’s good reason to minimise social interaction, knowing what we know about its role in well-being. Social engagement is key to a happy, healthy old age. Loneliness is literally a killer, especially for older people.
How can we practise social distancing without getting lonely?
- Phone calls: vital! It’s so good to hear a friendly voice.
- Texts and emails saying anything at all are suddenly more interesting: bring ’em on!
- If you’re a social media person, you’ll be working it harder when confined to quarters.
- Writing, reading, and following blogs. Many people have reported that the social side of blogging—comments and likes and follows and virtual friendship—is intensely important. If your own blog has lapsed, now’s the time to crank it up and tell your story.
- Help someone else on your own blog or theirs, or through social media.
- In community-wide lockdowns, Italians are singing and playing instruments on their balconies—what a great way to communicate.
Maintaining a healthy routine in self-isolation
Surviving self-isolation or social distancing means coping with the loss of your carefully constructed weekly routine. That means in my case no choir, no gym classes, no dance rehearsals, no coffees with friends. Losing your routine is just as difficult as missing the activities, so I decided to replicate both at home.
- On Tuesday and Thursday mornings I go to the gym for Pilates class. So at 10 am today I found a Pilates video and went through the routine. Whew! Feels good, but I kept slipping on the carpet. (Ah. So that’s why we use mats…)
- On Tuesday nights I go to choir, so at 7.15 tonight I will practise at home. Probably not for 2 hours though. Ursula would object.
- Wednesdays would normally mean Hawaiian dance at 6:15 followed by a Crows Feet rehearsal at 7.30. I will certainly be dancing here tomorrow night—all alone.
- Saturday, Pump class at 8:45 am. I can do a short version at home. I’ve set the alarm.
Good habits! They can be adapted in a pandemic. They can still do their work even when your environment changes. If I had “decided” to do these activities at home without nailing down the exact time, they wouldn’t happen, that I know. Now I’m committed and it feels good. Like I’ve still got control over my days.
Self-isolation for a writer is no hardship
It’s what we do when we’re working. And I have heaps to do right here. But first, I need coffee … oops, almost out of coffee.
Please, don’t waste any pity on me, not for one second: this is my choice and I’m finding it interesting … and kind of fun. It’s just a few days, like a rehearsal for the real thing. I’m perfectly healthy. And of course I can order coffee online.
And please do share one good habit that is proving useful in this year of Covid-19.