Tips on Surviving Isolation at Home During a Pandemic

For some time at Gentleman + Son we have been doing our part to help flatten the curve on growing coronavirus infections. We have done this through social distancing, self isolation, working from home, limiting our exposure to other risks of infection and following strict hygiene guidelines. This also includes eliminating unnecessary trips out in our local area. We are 100% committed. We also try and stay informed on all directives from local and federal government and the health experts as they come through. Most importantly we have too much respect and admiration for our frontline folk to flout the rules regarding distancing and isolation.

With that being said, how do we manage the challenge of cabin fever, anxiety and social isolation now that we are cooped up at home 99% of the time day in, day out? We knew it would be tricky, but then we asked our go-to mental health expert (from a gentlemanly safe distance) for some very simple manageable tips on keeping our sanity during these confronting times. Here are six simple tips we were given to help us cope:

Tip #1 - Reduce your daily dosage of news consumption’ve probably heard it already
So much news about Covid-19, coronavirus, lockdowns and mass unemployment is repeated throughout the day across numerous channels, feeds and platforms. It has been recommended to us to consciously listen to less news, reduce our scrolling on social media, filter content and turn off notifications where you can. Also, it is a good idea to have a mutual understanding with friends about off limit topics such as Covid-19. So, if it’s not new news, and you have heard it before, skip it!

Tip #2 - If confined or working from home set yourself a daily routine
Whether you have been asked to work from home or have been unfortunate to have lost your job like so many others in recent weeks, it is important that you still set a daily routine that you can easily follow. Get up at the same time each day as if you were heading to work, and get dressed making sure you take pride in your appearance even if you are only going as far as the letterbox to collect your mail or putting out the bins. Look good, smell good, feel good gents! Dressing smartly also means foregoing the temptation to get into your “tracky dacks”. DON’T DO IT! It is also good to set small achievable daily goals for yourself so that you can celebrate those little positive wins at the end of the day.

Tip #3 - Make sure to include some “huffy puffy” exercise as part of your weekly routine
We don’t know if “huffy puffy” is a clinical term but I think we all get the idea gents. Just get your heart rate going and break a little sweat for at least 30 minutes 4-5 times a week. The options are endless and you don’t need equipment either. It's hard to be anxious when you are exercising, and exercise is a great way to help improve your mood.

Tip #4 - Find NEW healthy coping strategies
Unfortunately, many of our normal coping strategies during stressful periods such as the gym or catching up with friends over brunch, coffee or drinks are no longer an option for us. Try to think new strategies to help you cope. Is it time to take up online yoga...anyone? It’s your call. Coping strategies could be as simple listening to relaxing music to unwind, twirling your mo, stroking your beard or getting lost in a good show or movie. We’d probably avoid movies such as Contagion, Outbreak and Twelve Monkeys.

Tip #5 - Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
Working from home and choosing to start drinking early now that you don’t have to drive somewhere doesn’t mean you should. We know that alcohol is a depressant and this is an important time to watch your mental health and do proactive things to help manage your mood. It is not just your health which is vital these days. If you find that you drink too much, this is a great time to cut down. Cheers to your friends on that Zoom party with a non-alcoholic beer, they will never know the difference!

Tip #6 - With uncertainty there is always some certainty. Find the certainty in your situation
Given that this is a highly stressful experience for many of us, some anxiety, uncertainty and concern about the future is very normal. Remind yourself that there are some certainties in this situation. The sun will rise again tomorrow and one day this crisis will be all over. We are all in this together.

If you need to talk to a professional...
Our mental health is important to us so if you are struggling or need further help to cope with the stressors and anxiety caused by the virus and economic fallout there is a lot of assistance out there. You can call your local GP or GP practice, a mental health professional and for Australians one of the many mental health services available including:

Beyond Blue - 1300 22 46 36
Lifeline - 13 11 14
MensLine - 1300 78 99 78

#weareallinthistogether #flattenthecurve #stayathome