So, many of us are self-isolating at the moment because of Coronovirus. I’ve noticed on Twitter that a lot of people are struggling to cope with having to spend so much time indoors.
As a writer who has endured periods of isolation, I feel I’m in a pretty good position to weather this storm! A while ago, I found myself living in a flat in the arse-end of nowhere and I had tight deadlines to meet meaning I could barely go out - I felt pretty damn adrift from society!
It wasn’t pleasant and I didn’t enjoy it, but I got through it. These are my tips for coping with isolation!
Setting goals is one of the best ways to cope with isolation. Goals provide a sense of hope, focus and progress and will stop you wallowing in self-pity or sinking into despair.
Personally, I’ve decided that I will use this period of self-isolation to achieve the following:
- Finish editing my new book, Flying Solo
- Start making the YouTube videos I’ve always said I’ll make
- Grow my following on Twitter to over 6K
- Begin my new rom com
I want to come out of self-isolation in a better position then when I went into it. If I can use this time productively, then I’ll be able to enjoy life better on the other side. Setting goals enables you to prepare for the future and stay positive.
Embrace virtual communities
We all know Twitter can be a bit of a hellsite but I still love it - it's anchored me and provided me with distractions, entertainment and a sense of community during periods of isolation. I’ve often thought of it as the writer’s equivalent of the office water cooler. I’ll take breaks from writing and see what’s happening on Twitter, have a bit of a chat, and then get back on with work. Obviously, it’s not quite the same as face-to-face contact, but it definitely helps! The same can probably be said for Facebook and Instagram and other social networks, but Twitter is my personal favourite.
However, while social media is great for interaction, muting people whose content makes you feel miserable, muting words relating to topics that get you down, or blocking rude people, isn’t snowflake behavior, it’s just sensible. Protecting yourself from influences that make you unhappy is vital if you’re isolated.
Listen to empowering music
When in isolation, I think it’s important to be mindful about what you’re consuming in terms of music, TV, and books as your mood can be affected far more than usual by the content you take in.
I once spend several months writing a very dark book while listening to a lot of Radiohead and spending a lot of time alone and I sank into despair! I can't say I recommend it! These days, if I have to be alone, I’ll listen to music I find inspiring and uplifting. For me, this includes a lot of hip hop, but everyone will have their own favourites.
Find a book or TV series that offers escapism. I’m finally getting round to reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith. It’s a fairly long book which will keep me occupied for a while and provide some escapism from all this pandemic stuff. I might also get into Breaking Bad, which I’ve been meaning to watch for ages. Now is the perfect time to tackle that TBR list or watch a series – watching the news non-stop will only get us down. Escapism is healthy.
Isolation is no picnic and despite all the hijinks of celebrities singing into hairbrushes about fried fish (thanks for that, Madonna) or dancing up stairs, it's not just a zany lol-fest.
Isolation can be really awful. Humans are social creatures and it's not easy having to be alone. Sometimes you need a helping hand to get through hard times. I take Propanolol for anxiety. It's a beta blocker that calms your heart rate. I try not to take it too often, but if I feel panicky, it helps. I also find herbal supplement, Kalms, helpful. Admitting that I take something for anxiety makes me a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn't. It helps and it's not a sign of weakness, it's a practical measure. If you're struggling, there's no shame in getting some medical help. And if you're really struggling and need someone to talk to, the Samaritans are there too.
I hope my tips help!
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