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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Thaiger top 10 ways to cope with self-isolation

Jack Burton



It’s a turbulent time. With socialising discouraged and many businesses closed, things can seem a bit scary. And with the Covid-19 coronavirus sweeping the world, you will be worried about the health of family and friends, even yourself. If you’re stuck at home due to the virus you’re probably asking yourself: “Now what am I supposed to do?” But there are some things you can do to keep yourself sane… actually 12 of them.

Take care of yourself: Don’t neglect your physical and mental health, love yourself. Meditate. Never done it? Fire up YouTube and search for learning about mediation. Also ‘mindfulness’. Do jumping jacks or press-ups in the living room whilst flicking through your Netflix options. Practice yoga and never neglect the importance of self-love. Whatever works for you, do what it takes to care for your body and mind.

When it comes to food you’ll need to do a bit of planning to make sure the binge buy-up at the supermarket ends up with more than a packet of Tim Tams and 2 minute noodles. A lot of fruit and vegetable can be bought frozen and will last in the freezer for months. You’ll need to balance your diet and make sure you have all the ingredient to cook up your favourites whilst you’re cooped up at home. A lot of stuff comes in cans and will last on the shelves for, well, years. When you can try and pop out for some fresh food too. Or you will be able to get it delivered to your door as well. It will just take a bit of planning.

Learn a new skill: Let’s face it, if you’re stuck at home, you’re probably not going to learn Greek or Latin… but how about a new recipe, or an entirely new type of cuisine? There are 1000s of ‘how to’ guides and even more formal courses on the internet. You could actually do an entire course for a new subject online and likely end up with some sort of degree in the time you might be stuck in home. It’s not wasted time, it’s an opportunity.

You can even study to be a pilot online, excepting the actual flying bits at the moment.

Write a journal: In years to come, people’s thoughts and experiences during this (ahem) rather unique period are going to be interesting. Write yours down. Or turn on your mobile and do it on video. Getting the kids to record their daily feelings and frustrations in a journal or online can also be a great way for them to share and reflect of=n their experiences.

Binge watch that series you’ve been wanting to see: Want to find out why everyone’s talking about Baby Yoda, but you haven’t sat down to watch “The Mandalorian?” Now’s your chance. There’s a bunch of shows that are perfect for binge-watching while you’re stuck at home. Maybe you’ll want to start new shows like “Picard” or catch up on those classic “Seinfeld” episodes.

Netflix isn’t the only streaming service and most of them are quite inexpensive given the opportunities to watch just about anything. There’s also 1000s of documentaries you can watch on YouTube.

Read an actual book: Ironically, while many of spend most of our time staring at a monitor and reading, we seldom pick those old-fashioned bundles of paper and ink. Why not grab one and learn something new, or revisit an old favourite? Psychology Today suggests reading five books you have always wanted to read but never had the time. Now you do.

Ay me! for aught that I could ever read, Could ever hear by tale or history, The course of true love never did run smooth. But, either it was different in blood,- Or else it stood upon the choice of friends,- Or, if there were a sympathy in choice, War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it – William Shakespeare

Watch a concert: Lots of artists, bands, even orchestras are putting their performances online and there are heaps available for streaming; click HERE for a list. The Metropolitan opera is streaming nightly; click HERE for the schedule. There’s also an almost endless supply of classic rock and pop concerts for a variety of artists going back 50 years and even more. You bought that big fancy TV, now you can use it!

Go to a museum: You can now “visit” hundreds of museums without getting out of your chair. HERE‘s a list.

Go for a walk, get outside: You can leave your home in most cases, just practice social distancing. If you’re not under curfew or shelter-in-place orders, doctors say fresh air, exercise and especially sunshine are good for not only your physical but also mental health. You can walk around your neighbourhood, go to a park, go hiking or go jogging. You should be doing this daily unless ordered not to.

Revisit that long forgotten project: Somewhere in the deep, dark depths of your computer you probably have an unfinished project – your great novel, a book of poetry, your first standup show, a vast scientific treatise… whatever it is, you might want to use this time to dust off the files and finish it up. Or it may be in the deep, dark depths of your bedroom cupboard, under the ‘Ab Blaster’. Whatever it is, dust it off and re-start your passion.

Promote yourself online: Consider devoting time to a bit of marketing. Does your personal website need updating? Have you been meaning to set up a Twitter profile and learn what hashtags are? Would you like to create a YouTube video about your passion? This might be the perfect time to wiggle your way out from beneath the rock you’ve been living under and find new avenues for connecting with others online. And there’s money to be made in this new online world.

And now for your bonus round of two extra ideas…

Be nice to your fellow humans: If you live with others, being cooped up with them full time might be even less than the fun that you’d imagined it to be. Channel your frustrations into something harmless; punch a pillow, exhaust yourself with exercise, put a tea towel between your teeth and scream as loud as you can. Whatever you do, don’t punch anyone. Have a bit of ‘me’ time by yourself and practice some domestic social distancing too from time to time. Given the shit-show happening around the world does it REALLY matter if the ironing wasn’t done this morning?!

Do fun stuff: Close your eyes and think back to the time before the world went on its head. What was giving you joy? Is there an old hobby you can pick up again? One up-side of your home confinement is that you no longer need to spend time commuting to work. Can you spend that time to be doing something that will bring you joy or, at the very least, alleviate some stress? Dust off the board games and drag out the Twister set. Anyone for a round of cards?

It’s an incredibly stressful time for most of us. Don’t expect your government or city officials to be able to cope with everything going on – it’s a really crazy time for them. Take control of your own situation and be a master of your destiny for a few months.

Take care of yourself and others, and remember to wash your hands.


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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