For some, the idea of self-isolation is a blessing, a welcome scenario where the stresses of the outside world have been reduced to a bare minimum. The streets are quiet, the drag of the commute is non-existent and the only possible activities to choose from are going to the supermarket, ordering online or exercising. 

But self-isolation can increase the anxiety of those that take comfort from the outside, it's their way to escape family members, an annoying partner or worse still, themselves. 

Here are four ways to stay sane while in self-isolation:


It should come as no surprise that when we aren't surrounded by others our immune system takes a hit. Day-to-day there are fewer reminders prompting us to watch what we eat, from the crush you have at the office to the weekly visit to the parents. 'Oooo you're really filling out aren't you?' say your parents as you through the door.

Many are treating the self-isolation as a sort of holiday; indulging in snacks and treats like the fat kid at an American summer camp. It's simple, eat healthily, get around 30 minutes of sunlight a day and exercise. Psychologists also believe that listening to upbeat music or watching a movie can increase your immune function.


With no need to be anywhere, the days can roll into one. This lack of a routine can lead to some mild mental health issues. Indeed, people that spend who have spent a winter in a polar research station see an increase in psychological problems.

It's unlikely your isolation is going to be anywhere near as extreme as a stint in the Arctic winter but that won't make you immune from restlessness, sadness or feeling demotivated. Having a set structure to your day can keep you from feeling rudderless and drifting from day-to-day with no clear focus. Plan meal times, set goals and stick to consistent bedtimes to keep motivated. 



A key reason why we can feel down during an imposed isolation is an absence of human interaction. Even when we aren't in the mood, a pint down the pub with our Uncle Bullshit of a mate can lift our spirits. We turn to friends and family to offer support and guidance in times of stress.

Studies also suggest that without such social support, people turn to less positive coping strategies, such as drinking. Fortunately, it's 2020 so there are plenty of ways to maintain contact using technology. Chatting and having a good laugh is infinitely better than relying on a drink to cheer you up. 



Some of us may be isolating alone, but some will be co-habiting with a loved one or a friend. You may think that the constant company will ease the isolation but be warned. Even you're nearest and dearest will find a way to annoy the very core of your being after a while. Habits and mannerisms that on a normal day don't even register on your radar will test your patience.

Soviet cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev, who spent 211 days on board the space station Mir, reported that around 30 per cent of his time in space was spent dealing with crew conflicts. Two solutions can resolve any building tension: regular exercise and spending some time of the day away from each other. Take it in turns to go for a jog to achieve both.

May 10, 2020 — Simon Smith