Sorry for assigning an almost cute little buzzword to the current situation, but South Korea is not, and hasn’t been on lockdown since the COVID-19 virus arrived on the peninsula in January. We have had very strong suggestions to socially distance / self-isolate, and mandatory quarantine implemented for those who have come into contact with known positive results, or showing symptoms (which has since extended into all new arrivals to the country) but nothing hugely drastic. I’ve had 3 weeks of ‘Coronacation’ (Corona vacation – though I have absolutely not been treating it as a vacation, more a time to avoid all interaction with anyone other than the dogs and the boy), with a return to work for two weeks and 4 days in the middle of that – but it’s taught me a few things, and reaffirmed some others. Here are some lessons from COVID isolation.
Things I have learned from this period
First up – I did not consent to living through a future ‘Historical Event’. It’s not fun and I would like to exit please. It’s also important to consider and understand that this is a very stressful time for literally everyone, and for all the people preaching ‘if you’re not getting stuff done, it’s not that you didn’t have the time, it’s that you don’t have the drive’ can take a long walk off a short pier, please k thanks. That train of thought is not helpful and needs derailing stat.
This time right now is one where taking care of your mental health is really important, as well as facing each day as it comes. Whether that’s adjusting to a new normal, or trying to find some semblance of normalcy in a very unpredictable situation.
So what I have I learned during this period of COVID ‘isolation’, no one asked, but I’m here to answer that questions anyway,
I’m sure routineis at the top of most people’s list. Having a routine, I’ve figured, is important for me. Whilst I’m not a fan of my current hours out of the house (7:45am – 6:00pm) having a set time to wake up / have to be ready by, is something that dictates whether I’m going to have a ‘productive’ day or not. (If I’m feeling up to it.) It also helps to give myself a bedtime so I’m not effing up my sleep schedule too much. Luckily I’m one of those people that can sleep easily and sleep anywhere, but going to bed at 3am on the reg is Not Healthy. Scheduling time in to work out is also important for me, too. Not just so that I actually do it, but so that I don’t get trapped in a mindset where I pretty much physically wreak havoc on my body due to problems in the past with over-exercising. It’s a niche problem, but having scheduled 10 minute yoga breaks or Madfit dance workouts (seriously she’s a great channel) is way better for my mental health than a 3 hour exercise marathon.
Migrating my ‘to-do list’ from daily to weekly has helped ease the pressure off myself to be this productive machine in a time of high stress. COVID isolation isn’t the time to hurt yourself mentally. I used to have daily to-do lists, and even though they weren’t long due to my working hours, I found that I was adding more and more to ‘fill the extra time’, and then feeling increasingly defeated when I couldn’t complete them. Now I fill out a few tasks that have to be completed by the end of the week, it takes away the stress of assigning a set deadline day, and the guilt of not doing everything in one day.
Distraction methods / hobbies are a good idea. Sometimes you can have too much netflix, but picking up a new hobby to distract yourself from everything going on outside is a good diversion for the mind. Everyone has different coping strategies, whether you want to bake 17 loaves of banana bread, start a sourdough culture, or repeatedly stab fabric a couple of hundred times (cross stitch/embroidery) it’s OK. No matter what noisy people on social media say. Personally, I’ve started sewing projects, been baking and learning new recipes, as well as journaling more. It’s not ‘super productive’ but it’s a lesson in effective COVID isolation distraction techniques.
Things I have reaffirmed due to COVID Isolation
Genuinely, I hope that this pandemic helps to restructure the way we do things as a global society. It’s been clear for a while that things needed to change. I really hope that this passes quickly in a sense I would like to go outside and not have to worry about staying 2m apart from everyone, or being very isolated, that is a normal I would welcome back with open arms. But I really hope that we find a new ‘normal’ that isn’t so draining on us mentally.