Team member Christine writes to us from her home, where she and her family have been self-isolating since March 18th.
It was a sound that was followed by a collective sigh of surrender: A family member started coughing the tell-tale dry cough the evening of Tuesday, 17 March. By the morning, we knew we’d all be self-isolating for the next two weeks.
I feel fortunate that, so far, the single member coughing has been the worst symptom. I had a slight temperature, but no full-on fever. We keep taking our supplements and eating nutrient-packed foods to ensure our immune systems are battle-ready and at peak performance!
If you are in self-isolation, here are some helpful ideas that we have used this past week; this does not include family members in poor health and staying in a room alone – follow the advice of healthcare professionals to support that person. These tips are for the rest of the family who are stuck at home but not displaying any symptoms. Some tips are for physical health, some for mental wellbeing, all for keeping the family happy together.
- Make a plan – once you get over the initial reality of the situation, make a rough plan of the next few days or weeks. Don’t go overboard planning every hour, because you need to be flexible if symptoms change or you have to deal with mood swings. These first few days, have blocks of time for work, study, exercise, chores, etc. to give everyone a bit of structure and purpose for the days.
- Drink a lot of liquids – the nurse practitioner we spoke with stressed the importance of drinking water, tea, broth, etc throughout the day. Now is the time to fill a whole teapot with the lovely herbal teas mentioned here. Make weekly batches of zero-waste broth and use as a base for soups or for a mugful of fire broth. You’ll be surprised how nourished you feel after drinking some!
- Know that you have local support – despite all the doom and gloom of the daily news, we surprisingly haven’t felt desperate or terribly low. Of course, each day we all have our ups and downs, but we are not stuck or wallowing in the doldrums. I believe this is because we have such a wonderful and supportive community – and you do, too. Friends and neighbours have offered to deliver any goods, and we have reached out to ask for help when we need it. Plan a daily FaceTime or Skype chat with good friends and extended family to lift spirits.
- Exercise – no matter what level of fitness you are at, you have to avoid sitting all day and all evening. At the local level, you can find yoga classes being offered online or via Zoom, for example, Raquel Alves at www.wakeupandshine.co.uk, Louisa Burtwell-Williams at www.facebook.com/LouisaBurtwellMassageYoga/ and Angela Thompson at www.angelathompsonyoga.com (including an over 70s gentle chair yoga session); Pilates classes via Zoom including Laura at Kaizen Pilates, www.facebook.com/Kaizen-Pilates-and-massage-616324495162135/, and Karen at Pilates from Within on Instagram Stories (@pilatesfromwithin); local fitness instructor Adam Burger of AB Fitness is offering adult and children workouts on his YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCeIwFax53X072ma7IJfV3YQ. In the wider world, Joe Wicks’ daily morning PE workout for school children on YouTube (The Body Coach TV) has become a worldwide sensation, and Davina McCall is offering a free 30-day membership to her online fitness programme (www.ownyourgoalsdavina.com).
- Feed yourselves well – this isn’t the Christmas holidays. As tempting as it is for us to eat all the snacks, try to stay mindful and healthy with what you’re putting on your plate. Treats are ok, but keep a balanced diet. Check out all the yummy recipes from the Apothecary 27 blog and try something new!
- Switch off – time to get out the deck of cards, old board games and puzzles for some family time. Take regular breaks from social media and the news. Switch off the iPad and play a game. Tell the kids what life was like before mobile phones!
- Meditate – a houseful of family may leave little time for the solitude each of us needs. Make meditation a priority, even if it is for five minutes. Encourage everyone in the family to do the same, either together or separately. Wonderful apps like Insight Timer (love Sarah Blondin in particular!), Calm and Headspace have thousands of meditations available to suit any style. Locally, Laura at Be Modern Meditation (www.bemodernmeditation.com/) offers a meditation programme for those who think they can’t meditate or find meditation challenging (her five-minute meditation is wonderful) and Maxine Crinall of Seale Natural Health is setting up a service offering online meditation (www.sealenaturalhealth.co.uk).
- Grow something – the sunshine has brightened our spirits no end, and being in the back garden has allowed us to connect with nature. Studies show that even a few moments out in nature does wonders for anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. So we have been planting seeds and pottering about. We planted up some pots for indoor gardening, too. Have each family member plant up a sunflower seed and a pea seed, then see whose plants grow tallest this summer.
What ideas do you have for self-isolation? Please share with us and we’ll give an update with more ideas soon!