Self-isolation in Corona times: creating conditions for change for the better

We are at the mercy of a microscopic force that has the audacity to make decisions for us. We are angry and indignant as if we are stuck in a dead traffic jam, but there is not a soul around us. Trapped in an invisible case, we yearn to return to normal life, believing that we have every right to do so.

Suddenly it turns out that normal life is our main shrine. We have never attached importance to it, and to tell the truth, we did not even try to determine what it was. But we demand that it is returned to us.

‘’Normal life is postponed, and no one knows how long.’’

Normal life is postponed, and no one knows how long. The time has come, and we have to learn to live in this anomaly. We must find a rational explanation for why we agree with it, and not reduce it to just one fear of death.

Perhaps viruses are devoid of intelligence, but in some ways, they are more capable of us – they change and adapt faster. Perhaps it makes sense to take a couple of lessons from them.

Most of us today are faced with previously unfamiliar problems. The quarantine regime imposes certain restrictions, which means it forces you to change your lifestyle.

‘’The unusual life situation in which we all find ourselves can become a reason for development and change.’’

For many, these changes can pose a major challenge. You can choose the path of least resistance and quarantine lying on the couch, mindlessly switching TV channels or flipping through social media feeds. For some, this path may seem optimal. For others, the unusual life situation in which we all find ourselves can become a reason for development and change.

A few simple tips will help you quarantine yourself and change your lifestyle for the better.

1. Keep a diary

It is impossible to manage what you do not know and do not understand. Explore yourself and your life. The best self-knowledge tool is a diary. Use the simplest self-observation scheme. Write down your actions during the day, note what feelings they cause: satisfaction, joy, peace, pleasant fatigue, or, conversely, disappointment, indignation, fatigue, exhaustion.

Pay attention at what time you feel a rise in mood, a thirst for vigorous activity, and when a recession comes, a desire to take a break and rest.

The period of self-isolation, when the need to obey an externally imposed daily routine is minimal, is the best time to listen to the body and identify your unique daily rhythms. Pay special attention to the “problem areas”. It is difficult for someone to switch in the morning and it takes a lot of time to get going, for someone it is difficult to calm down and relax before going to bed.

2. Set the rhythm

By alternating periods of activity and rest, we maintain the balance of forces in the body throughout the day. As the metronome sets the beat for the musician, our environment sets the rhythm for us. In conditions of self-isolation, when we are left without a “metronome”, it becomes more difficult to maintain a habitual way of life.

Keeping a diary will allow you to learn more about your own rhythm, and the correct daily routine will help to maintain or correct it.

Diversify your activity. To avoid routine and addiction, alternate between different activities: rest and exercise, watching TV and reading books, work (study) and play, household chores, and personal care. Choose the optimal duration for each activity, so that it brings satisfaction and does not have time to get bored.

3. Use external controls

Self-organization requires significant resources. To save them, “delegate” the management of your life to external controllers. The simplest thing is the daily routine: it can be a simple schedule on the desktop, colorful reminder stickers hung all over the apartment, or a smart tracker in a smartphone.

Music is a good way to create the necessary mood. Find playlists for work, fitness, relaxation. To tune in to serious work, find simple activities that will help you focus and feel toned. Someone is helped by cleaning the room or on the desktop, someone is a small five-minute warm-up – choose your option.

Of course, the best supervisor in any activity is another person. Find yourself a companion for work or study. Determine the best way to interact: motivate and control each other, compete or collaborate, come up with a game that makes routine activities an exciting adventure. Choose what works for you.

4. Add novelty

Self-isolation is a good time to gain new experiences. Today, with many large companies providing free access to their resources, we can try new hobbies.

Set aside about an hour a day to explore new things. Sign up for an online course on Big Data Analysis. Get to know new directions for music or cinema. Sign up for a yoga or dance lesson. Take part in an online marathon.

Do what you wanted for a long time, but did not dare. Drop prejudice, overcome inertia, just try and don’t think about the result. Feel like a traveller and pioneer.

Pay attention to the feelings that new activities evoke. A little resistance is a normal reaction to novelty that quickly wears off. However, if the experiment causes you strong negative emotions, you should not wait for the end of the session – click on the “stop” button and continue looking for yourself in a different direction.

5. Consider the meaning of what is happening

A pandemic is a global, uncontrollable, and meaningless process. Quarantine and self-isolation are forced measures that most countries are currently taking. This is a challenge to all of humanity, which cannot be resisted alone. At the same time, everyone can ponder what meaning this situation carries for him personally.

For some, this is a time of serious testing, personal and professional, for others, a period of forced rest. For some, quarantine may become a time of active personal and professional growth, and for some, it is a good reason to take care of family and friends.

Find the answer that’s right for you. Understanding the meaning of what is happening for you personally will help you determine your goals for the period of self-isolation, mobilize the body’s resources, and reduce the level of anxiety and uncertainty. This will make this period more productive.

6. THE BEST PART (!) Visualizing and Managing Emotions

Visualization can affect the state of mind not only in the short term, but also for a longer period – even for several days. Ideally, this practice should be done in privacy, away from family, phone, and news. This is the time for an emotional and mental break. And we need a place where we feel comfortable. If you want, you can turn on music that helps to calm down.

I. Visualization for feeling the energy of inner growth

This practice is designed to help you focus on inner growth and play the role of a gardener.

• Relax and focus on the visualization. Imagine yourself in a garden filled with beautiful flowers with a pleasant scent. Smell the earth, listen to birdsong, and the faint rustle of leaves in the wind.

• Find the areas of your body that feel the most tension and stress. This could be your back and shoulders, or your arms. Take a deep breath and try to release the tension.

• Imagine that you are a sprout breaking out of the ground and slowly opening towards the sun. Imagine bright lights and rays on your face, feel them slowly moving through your body, warming your neck and chest.

• Relax your arms and hands, releasing an inner strength that you have long forgotten.

• Take another deep breath and picture yourself as a gardener growing a flower.

• Keep this image in mind – you are both a gardener and a flower.

• Take a deep breath and stretch well.

Practice and you can easily be enlivened in imagination images that will take you to a beautiful place, restore inner strength, self-control, and calmness.

II. Visualization of a place where we are calm and happy

Perhaps we were there, or perhaps we are just dreaming to visit. Pre-found images – photographs, paintings – will help us present this place more accurately. The more detail the better.

‘’Remember to use all your senses. If you imagine that you are on a beach by the ocean, remember the burst of waves and the screams of seagulls, the taste of salt on your lips, the fresh scent of the breeze and the sensation when your feet touch the sand.’’

Imagination can take us from home to the middle of a green forest, to the bank of a babbling stream or to the top of a mountain. You can imagine a place and activity that brings us joy, such as hiking, photographing, or gardening.

Remember to use all your senses. For example, if you imagine that you are on a beach by the ocean, remember the burst of waves and the screams of seagulls, the taste of salt on your lips, the fresh scent of the breeze and the sensation when your feet touch the sand.

This article was written Irina Campbell. Dr. Irina Campbell, is a psychologist, hypnotherapist and transformation coach. She was working as a psychiatrist in Russia for 7 years before she moved to Scotland as a single mum to do her PhD in psychology. After finishing her PhD, she was working at various British Universities as a scholar and has numerous publications and international appearances. She has been on her discovery journey to understand the reasons of human behaviour and human potential. Understanding people’s psychological and suffering. She decided to open her own practice in April 2019 and does that from a more holistic approach integrating her knowledge as a psychiatrist, psychologist and hypnotherapist.  She believes that each individual has the ability to heal and resolve what troubles them all by themselves. Her role is to facilitate the process in a more direct and focused way to resolve their issue as quickly as possible. If you would like to get in touch with Irina, feel free to visit her website or find her on Instagram at mentalhealth_coach

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