Silver Linings: Isolation

I need to start with a disclaimer. We can’t deny these are stressful and upsetting times. I don’t want anyone to think I’m not taking this seriously, or that I don’t have a grip on the horrendous repercussions current events are having on many, if not most. In no way do I want to minimise the warranted anxiety people are feeling, nor be utterly insensitive.

I am someone who tends to dwell on the bad, and find times like this all to easy a catalyst to go down a very negative spiral, so therefore I’m doing all I can to try and see some glimmers of hope, positivity, and smooth within this whole lotta rough.

So this article if merely me trying to find a way to find those twinkly stars in what can feel like a very dark abyss. Times like this can bring out the best in people, and force us to think outside the box leading to wonderful and life changing results.

Today I wanted to shine a light on some positives of isolating at home… please feel free to add to the list in the comments.

Stamp of approval

It’s the perfect time for postal wooing. What’s more romantic than receiving an old fashioned letter filled with declarations of love and lust/filth. Rather than unsolicited unsolicited dick pics and cheesy chat up lines via a DM that often enters unwanted via the general folder, You could use these for some inspiration – https://thoughtcatalog.com/rachel-hodin/2014/01/the-16-most-beautifully-touching-love-letters-from-famous-writers-and-artists/

But your handwritten correspondence don’t have to be limited to just loin based themes. Why not write letters to the relatives that you know are a bit isolated and not likely to see fellow humans much over this period of isolation. Maybe invite them to share all those stories of the past that you often don’t have time to hear. These letters will make for wonderful keepsakes too. 

Kick the addiction

This virus and all it’s warnings might be enough of a kick in the arse to get you to finally shift that smoking/vaping habit. So many people I know are social smokers…take away the ‘social’ and maybe they won’t be smokers anymore too. That said, boredom plays a huge part in habits and addictions so you might need to find a distraction or hobby that utilises your hands to help you get there. We also have to remember that stress plays a huge part in people wanting to reach for the cigarette packet – this isn’t going to be the case for everyone – but hopefully some will find it a good opportunity to focus on their health. 

Foster the people..and animals

This could be the perfect time to foster an animal. There are many that need temporary homes as so many need restbite before they find their forever homes. It helps them to grow their social skills, trust humans again (if they’ve suffered at the hands of one before) and gives them some lovely time outside of the kennels which can be very stressful for them. We adopted Bluebell three weeks ago and I’m so thrilled to have extra cuddly company during these times, although I must acknowledge you have to factor in the extra expense for food, insurance and toys, which isn’t ideal in these times of financial uncertainty.

Reconnect

This won’t be the case for everyone, but for those who live with people or a partner this might (notice the italics) help you to connect. Significant events in history often bring people together. Let’s ignore all those stats floating around relating to a spike in divorce files shall we?!

For the last year I’ve only seen Si for about an hour each night as he works so late. So we sit and have dinner then go straight to bed. The TV is on and we are eating loudly and furiously so we really don’t have any deep conversations, in general just grunts and opinion about whatever TV show we are watching. If he starts working from home, we will potentially have a bit more time to remember why we liked each other, in-between driving each other mad of course. 

Book Club

My friend Jess is a book hoarder and is offering to send books to anyone that wants to use there free time in this way, and I think it’s a fantastic idea. I’m not a great book reader, but it’s always been something about myself I’ve wanted to change. I’m really going to try and use this forced time indoors to feel nourished and enriched by words and stories. 

Self sufficient. 

It’s time to bring the Good Life ethos into the year 202 and get self sufficient with our own vegetable patches, herb gardens etc. Then we won’t have to worry about the supermarkets running out of of our fave fresh goods! Plus how exciting will it be grow yourself a massive marrow!

Boxset binging 

Were you that lone person in the friendship group that couldn’t join in any of the Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad tears and hysteria. Did you have to fake laugh at all the memes and gifs being shared. Now is your time to finally catch up and get stuck in to those intimidatingly lengthy box sets. Yeah, you’ll still be horrendously late to the party, but at least you’ll up your contemporary culture knowledge and be a top contributor at the pub quiz…whenever we are allowed back at our fave locals. 

Hair-raising possibilities

It’s ideal timing if you’ve just had a haircut fail. You’ll have plenty of time to grow it out in private without the public and all those too blunt loved ones being able to comment on every part of the difficult growing-out stages. Is you hair in need of a fresh start? Maybe now’s the time to go shorter than you’d normally like so you can grow some fresh and undamaged new hair that hasn’t felt that wrath of your endless bleaching and grooming neglect. 

This period of time will also be perfect for doing a ‘Howard Donald’. Do you remember -probably not, because you’re not an artefact like me- when Take That came back with that edgy black themed video for Sure and we saw Howards new dreadlocks in all their dirty sexy glory?  About that time Smash Hits etc were tinforming us about the science behind self-cleaning hair.

No excuses

My mum has been saying for about twenty years that she’s going to put all the photos in photo albums in organised fashion. The photos go way back to the 1900’s so good luck with that Ma! For me, it will involve cleaning the make-up brushes which are now probably carriers of many other viruses. De-cluttering my clothes that I’ve hidden in bin liners in the loft is top of the list too. I might be even propagate some plants….who do I think I am??

Self care on your terms

You can have a bubble bath at whatever time of day you fancy. Start the day with mediation that you usually don’t manage to fit in after you’ve slept through your work alarm. Fresh home cooked meals during your working day…not just leftovers you have to reheat in the office microwave. You can access your treat cupboard whenever you desire. Whatever helps you, you might find it easier from the comfort and privacy of your home. 

Poo in peace.

Because my bowels are volatile I’ve never enjoyed the prospect of having to poo at work. It’s not something I can do peacefully in subtle and unassuming fashion. It doesn’t smooth out in effortless fashion, it’s an anguishing process that creates extreme noise and smell pollution. I feel like I’m going to war half the time. When I’m out when an IBS attack arrives I’ll often choose to do the hardiest of clenches to allow me to make it home to poo on home ground (when I say home ground I do me in the toilet…my toilet). I’d much rather poo in the comforting surroundings of home than in a cubicle that might be hosting colleagues, or feel the pressure to poo with haste should the work place  only have one toilet. 

Skin Salvation

Is your skin in need of some serious TLC? Has the commute, city pollution, office air con, or daily make-up wreaked havoc with your complexion? Now is a great time to attempt to get it back on track. Assuming you don’t have video conference calls you can use this time to create a thorough skin regiment with masks and all those other things that make you look somewhat unappealing etc.  Try that retinol product you’ve been putting off for fear of angry skin. 

Get screwing

Has there been a better time to get the house in order. I think not. Lots of my home blogger pals have stocked up on paint, nails and all their other DIY kit and are excitedly mapping various projects to get on with over the next few months. Do a coat of paint then head back to your laptop to tend to your emails/skypes and repeat. 

Also….you could literally screw too. I’m personally far too tired. 

Such a chore

Do you usually eat in to your precious weekend chill time by having to ram all of your weekly chores done in those two days? Now you can spread it out throughout your working week. Get a wash on in the morning, get it out to dry during your lunch break. Make the mopping part of your excerice regime, do squats while you brush the skids out of the toilets bowl. 

Get over that phone/skype phobia 

In the last few months I’ve been forced to make calls. Something I have always avoided at ALL costs. My biggest pet peeve is people that insist on calling me when I’ve stated VERY clearly to text or email. What is up with these people?! But as we work remotely many of us will be forced to get used to it and make it a norm, even if thus far we’ve created a working formula that’s allowed us to avoid dealing with our phobia.

This might not feel like a silver lining, because let’s face it, for some of us it’s going to be very painful, but in the long run it might make our lives easier if making calls doesn’t make us come up in hives, bring on an IBS attack and have a heart rate of 120. 

Zoom insights

You finally get to see how your boss and colleagues live. When you Zoom of course you’re trying to look professional and like you’re listening and focusing on things being discussed, but undoubtedly your eyes will wonder and you’ll be able to find out that your serious boss actually loves nude art prints, or the quiet bookish girl on the desk opposite has a curated display of antique dutch sex toys on her mantle. You might also find out that the girl you really likes has a love live laugh sign in her entrance hall. 

So many people are enjoying group Zoom sessions that I foresee it becoming the norm for more and more lonely freelancers once this all passes. I think we’ll really see more emphasis on supporting each other and finding ways to work together even when separated by miles or differing industries.

Nap’a valley 

Okay, so I did have a nap at the Vogue offices once, but on the whole it’s probably frowned upon to snooze at your work place. Although if I was prime minister I would make an allowance for power naps in special cases. One of the most glorious advantages of working from the place where your bed is, that nothin is stopping you from sneaking under the covers….hell, you could work from there all day (depending on your job of course). 

Enhance the CV

You might what to enhance your cooking skills, learn how to do something crafty, learn or improve your musical skills, I’m sure many of you will learn how to make your own gin, but you might also use this time to enrol on an online course that could help your career prospects once we return to our new status quo.

This might be the perfect time to take a bit of career reset and really look at whether what you do now is something you want to continue. Perhaps you do and you just want to hone it become better at it. But perhaps this time at home will give you room to question your path and  investigate new avenues. Some of us will be forced to assess or rethink our jobs due to unexpected redundancy, lack of bookings or because we this has brought home what a fragile industry we work in, but many of us might want to choose to do time voluntarily. 

Burn-out Recuperation.

Maybe you were crashing towards burn-out when you were given the go ahead to start working from home. Perhaps the working environment has been toxic for a while. Now you’ll have a bit more flexibility of time to be able to heal and breath, and get yourself back on track. The lack of commute means a few extra minutes each day that you can use for any sort of restorative care. 

Homely habits

Now you’re working from home you can create a bespoke environment that aids your productivity and comfort. You can’t usually burn your favourite candle in case a colleague finds the aroma offensive or brings on a migraine. You can’t necessarily eat that stinky snack you’d ideally like to have by your side while you type. You can’t have your fave metal band blaring when the rest of the office favour smooth grooves. Get you favourite vinyl or podcast playing. Grab you favourite snacks, fill the room with your favourite scent and make up for the lack of buzz/chat that you’re used to while you beaver away. 

Spoonie Sympathy

Many of those living with chronic illness will be finding a lot of what’s going on fairly run of the mill. Sure we will be panicking about medical supplies, and cancelled appointments, but the feeling of isolation and lack of social life is sadly the norm for many of us, particularly those who spend most of the year housebound. It can be frustrating to see new measure implemented for the ‘abled’ when we’ve been screaming about certain things for years, but I hope after all this people will be more aware of those living with disabilities and chronic illness and make changes that make us feel less sidelined in the future. It’s always going to be a shame that it took something like this for it to happen though.

Group Chats

Last year I left all of my WhatsApp groups as they were making me nothing but stressed and sad. I couldn’t keep up and felt stressed about the rising number of unread messages. I hated that I missed all of the ‘in’ jokes because of it. It impacted my happiness having  to read the debrief on all the social events I hadn’t been able to be at because I was too poor/tired/not invited.

This week I decided to join a group created by a lovely lady called Karma. It promised to offer escape from stress, with no virus chat allowed….but a whole lotta cute pet visuals, helpful tips, and any uplifting things any of us want to share. Hot in the chat right now is one of the member’s enthralling remote dating updates, which are proving to be more addictive than Love Island. I feel like there’s a good chance their love story might end up being made into a book and movie, so it’s an honour to witness the true story first via this digital medium.

There’s something wonderfully levelling about the fact that everyone is having to communicate via technology too. I’m definitely feeling less fomo, which is kinda nice.  I’m also meeting some lovely new people in the process.

Community Spirit

One of the most uplifting things I’ve experienced during these weird times is the awareness of how wonderful the community spirit is in my area. I’m a member of Nextdoor which is an online message forum that allows you to communicate with your neighbourhood, and at the moment it is frequently being updated with people expressing their want to help, offering to get peoples shopping, walk pets, pick up prescriptions and so on. It’s warmed my heart on the daily to see people being so generous and looking out for those local to them that might be vulnerable or in need of an extra hand. There’s so many ways to help right now, so if you have some time on your hands, or the ability to offer a service that could aid someone in some way it will be a wonderfully rewarding and uniting thing to do.

Many charities are looking for volunteers right now too, so if you could offer your services to be a friend on the phone that can stop the elderly or alone to feel less isolated in this time for example, that could be a fantastic option. Check charities on Twitter who are tweeting out various ways you can help right now. 

1 Comment

  1. rmwithaview
    April 5, 2020 / 9:31 am

    Some thought provoking ideas! Are those your fingerprints all over your laptop 🤣

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