In times of isolation we lack social reinforcement (smiles, acceptance, praise etc) and feelings of belonging. Loneliness tends to influence how we cultivate joy in solitude. Social relationships nourish our relationship with ourselves, and vice versa. When we’re at home during quarantine a spectrum of emotions in how we relate the self and the narratives we hold about who we think we are can crop up. If you feel stuck in an uncomfortable place and are looking for ways to tend to yourself during isolation dive into this list below.

Practice self-compassion

As we nurture ourselves during a period of isolation, bringing self-compassion to the forefront of anything we do makes a huge difference to how we feel. There are specific techniques that can be used to strengthen feelings of self-compassion like meditation, journaling, and treating oneself like a best friend. The buddhist practice of metta (or loving kindness) provides a framework for developing qualities centred around self-compassion, like acceptance and non-judgement, through meditation. In this practice participants repeat a series of well wishes toward the self that represent the desire for one to be well, safe, happy, and free from suffering. Journaling prompts that focus on raising self-awareness have also shown benefit in feeling closer to oneself. Try one of these each morning when you wake up:

“I release X and welcome Y,”

“The kindest thing I can do for myself in this situation is___________.”

“I am feeling X in my body and that makes me feel Y.”

“What would feel supportive for me is_____________.”

“It’s healthy and normal for me to be feeling X and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Structure your day

It’s easy to feel like you are in a rut when there is a lack of structure to the day. Having a plan for the day with clear tasks can keep you and your day on track.

  • Start by having a set time for getting up in the morning and going to bed at night – not only will this help maintain focus throughout the day, but it will also be good for physical and mental health. The body will get into a rhythm which will lead to much better sleep and wellbeing.
  • As soon as you get up make your bed, shower and change out of your pyjamas – these simple tasks will give you purpose in your morning and make you feel good about yourself
  • Keep your living space clean – research shows a clean living space leads to a calm headspace
  • Schedule gentle exercise – during isolation we aren’t getting the same exercise and body movements we would usually get when out and about. Block out time in your schedule each day for your favourite type of movement (depending on your ability and energy levels).
  • Daily rituals – incorporating more rituals into one’s life can develop more intentionality and bring more comfort and joy throughout the day. These rituals may resemble lighting a candle and relaxing with a book or movie at a certain time each evening, or investing time in crafting your bedtime ritual to help you relax and unwind before bed each night.
  • Eat healthy – eating a range of healthy foods for a balanced diet will provide vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients which will keep you feeling strong and healthy. This will complement your daily exercise to maintain physical and mental health.
  • Make time for you and the things you enjoy – it’s normal to feel anxious and scared during these uncertain times so it’s important to look after your mental health and dedicate time each day to doing things you enjoy to help you relax. This may be speaking to loved ones on the phone or watching your favourite Netflix show. If you need additional support we suggest you call the Aware support line.

Allow flexibility and space for rest

If you’re typically on the go every day it can be tempting to fill each day with lots of activities. This isn’t always possible. Instead, you can plan important tasks and activities around when you feel most productive and leave the mundane tasks for when you are least productive. Some days will be less productive than others and that is okay. Remember, rest is productive.