Coping With Self Isolation

 One country after another around the globe is now enforcing the self-isolation and social distancing regulations that are required to halt the spread of Covid-19.
So as you contemplate the thought of several weeks / months at home…… either alone or else with family members who wouldn’t normally be at home in the middle of the day…..
It’s time to make a plan to get the most out of your time at home!

If you manage it well, self-isolation comes filled with opportunity!

Personally I am used to working from home – that’s not so difficult.  But what I am not used to is having Lee with me all day and every day!  We’re sharing the house and sharing the computer 😱 Face Screaming in Fear Emoji – and it’s difficult to make space for one another a lot of the time……

SO steps need to be taken and followed:

1) Schedule

You need to schedule your time at home carefully – without a timetable, it’s all too easy to just loll on the couch watching TV or lie out in a deckchair dozing.  Instead, try to:

Set yourself a regular timetable – get up at your usual time every morning and go to bed at your regular hour.  Eat 3 meals a day and DON’T snack in between

Vary your activities – DON'T just work or watch telly all day, but try out various different activities: 
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Try out some arts & crafts
  • Watch a box set
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Learn a new skill
  • Read
  • Write
  • DIY
  • Gardening

Plan some “micro-lifts every day, so that you can have some fun.
Instead of bumping into a friend on your way to work, why not ring her for a chat instead?
Some friends of my mother’s have been enjoying an isolation “champagne night” every Saturday, when they both dress up in “night on the town” clothes and eat a special meal in the “restaurant” in their lounge!

Aim for something and regain some control and focus in your life by setting some small task to achieve every day or week.
For a start you can take the opportunity to complete things that have been on your list for months & years – SO satisfying!  And if you don’t have the right tools, there’s always eBay and Amazon (as the post is still running)……
Make sure your daily timetable includes some exercise – I’ve taken up cardio every morning ( ) and Lee & I always take care to get outside for the limited walk or run that we are permitted every day (no more than 350m from the house).
YouTube has endless videos yoga classes, pilates, dance classes, aerobics – and, of course, Joe Wicks ( - UK exercisers will know just who I mean!)

2) Connection

Loneliness can be the greatest enemy during isolation – but remember that we live in the 21st century and have access to SO many forms of online communication.
I’m “seeing” more of my family than usual, as we communicate non-stop via a family WhatsApp Group, and get together to do a quiz every week via a virtual WhatsApp call.
Lee “sees” his mum & dad via Skype, even though they live in the Caribbean.  And I have taught myself how to use Google Hangouts and Zoom in order to enjoy weekly online chats with different sets of friends.

Try joining:

There’s a lot to avoid on social media – but it can also be a fantastic way to connect with new friends who share your interests.

3) Nature

Engage with nature as much as possible – it makes you happier and healthier.

Go outside to get your daily exercise, spend time in your garden if you have one, or watch the birds from your window if you don’t.
Give special care to your houseplants, open a window to let the fresh air in……

And if these aren’t possible, try searching for Slow TV on YouTube ( ) and have birdsong or a running river playing softly in the background – it’s incredibly soothing…..

4) Self Care

This is not the time to “not bother” or “just take it easy”, these can too often lead to negativity and depression.
Instead regain control over your life by:

  • Dressing smartly every day as if you were going to work. Yes, WEAR YOUR BRA!
  • Keep the house clean and tidy as living in a pit will make you feel worse and worse. Several of the over-80s I teach are taking the opportunity to do some intensive spring cleaning!
  • Eat well and don’t give into the temptation to snack all the time. Give yourself a treat by taking the time to plan and cook special meals – investigate those ancient tins at the back of the cupboard and put them to good use!
  • Sleep well and takes to ensure your sleep is regular by i) going to bed at a regular time, ii) try taking a candle lit bath before bed, iii) practice some yoga and iv) listen to this TED talk all about peaceful sleep ( )
  • Think about the Here & Now, rather than worrying about the future. Regain control within your daily life by filling your mind with practical tasks and interludes of fun!
  • And avoid too much news by limiting your news intake to just once or twice a day

5) Help Someone Else

It will make YOU - & them - feel SO much better!
Maybe just by connecting regularly on the phone.  A good chat is worth a HUGE amount – and if you can manage a virtual chat, all the better, as seeing someone else’s face really does make all the difference
  • Or collect shopping for a neighbour
  • Or walk their dog if they can’t manage
  • Or join a local support team
  • Or write newsy & supportive emails and letters to friends and family – it’s a lovely surprise to hear from someone and to know they’re thinking of you

All in all, try to view this period simply as a “different” time in your life – and not necessarily a bad one.
It’s a different rhythm of life, a chance to try things you never normally get the opportunity to do, a chance to connect with others in an alternative way……

So good luck, stay well, stay safe – and stay happy!


  • Thanks so much for your positivity everyone – so pleased you enjoyed the blog.
    Do send me photos of your champagne night, Uni! Don’t forget to RELAX, Nicola….. And many thanks for all your hard work in the NHS, Maria – and your mum too!

    Clare Smythson
  • Lovely post, just happened to stumble on you’re beautiful lanterns , defiantly will be saving up for one for my lovely mum , we’re both working in the heart of the NHS at the minute and proud of everyone for pulling together at such tough times , wishing you and you’re family all the best X

  • Brilliant Clare! So much good advice in here. Love the idea of champagne night!! 🥂 must go as Joe wicks is about to start!! Xx

    Uni Bastable
  • Thanks for the tip about online bridge, as I’ve been missing my club & didnt realise this was something you could do on the computer. Cardio is a bit beyond me – but a good game of cards will be great fun

  • I think in the future I’ll look back on this time with good memories. I wish it could be that way for everyone. Routine is probably no.1 on my list and remembering to relax 2nd. Great tips for everyone in this blog.


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