Photo by Ellieelien on Unsplash

Fed up with being locked in and locked down? Getting cabin fever? Here are a few tips which might just help you combat the perils of self-isolation successfully and create your own cosy self-contained world in your home. Who knows? You might even discover you have a few hidden talents which you will be able to develop further during self-isolation!

‘Meet’ your friends and family online for a cup of tea/coffee

Just because we can’t meet each other in person any more doesn’t mean that we can’t connect with one another online. Schedule a coffee date with a friend or family member or even a colleague online so that you can meet and connect with each other virtually. It will help maintain your contact with the outside world. Stick the kettle on and boot up your laptop, sitting down to talk to a loved one on screen with a cup of tea/coffee beside you can be incredibly comforting and rewarding!

Daily walk

A vital part of surviving self-isolation is to ensure that you are getting enough movement/exercise into your day. Try going for a daily walk outside in nature – within the 2km radius of your home of course. Try taking photos on your phone of nature to increase the enjoyment and share with friends and family later on What’s app or Instagram!

Stretching exercises

A lot of us are working from home for the first time these days and the kitchen table or the coffee table in the sitting room have become our new workstations. This can lead to problems with neck and back ache, if we are hunched over our laptops, without the correct workstation set up. To counteract this try doing 5 minutes of stretching every hour or so– stretching increases your flexibility and makes it less likely that you will get aches and pains in your joints. These stretching exercises  from Lifehack.org can all be done at home.

Strengthening exercises

A lot of us are feeling frustrated right now with not being able to go to the gym. Functional Medicine GP, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, has developed a 5 minutes kitchen workout which is perfect for self-isolation!   These strengthening exercises using your body weight (no gym equipment necessary) will help increase your muscle tone and keep you fit and active. You don’t even have to change into your gym clothes! Dr Chatterjee recommends you use ‘movement snacking’, do the kitchen workout while you are waiting for your dinner to cook or the kettle to boil. He suggests building the 5 minutes of strengthening exercises into your routine every day, so that by the end of the week you will have achieved 35 minutes of strengthening exercises in total! Not bad for minimal effort.

Online courses

Now might just be the time for you to engage in little bit of personal or professional development. The Irish Writers Centre is offering online courses via their website for a fee, now might be the time to flex your writing muscle!I have done a few of the face-to -face courses in the past and the standard and quality of the tuition at the Centre is excellent!

Many Pilates and Yoga classes are now available online too, so check out what’s available, if you would like to join a group session online.

Free yoga videos are available on the Yoga with Adrienne YouTube channel – including sessions for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced practitioners. Adrienne is an excellent Yoga teacher and her yoga classes are really enjoyable and relaxing!

For professional development and CPD, Alison.com offers  a lot of good quality free courses online, for which you only pay if you want to receive a  certificate for completing the course. So, if you’d like to achieve a certificate for an employment opportunity down the road, you can pay for that option – or you can just study the range of free courses available for enjoyment purposes. Coursera.org offer a wide selection of University accredited courses, the majority are fee paying but there are some free courses too – check out what’s on offer!

Declutter

Now that we don’t have the dreaded commute any more to eat into our precious personal time, why not create ‘space’ in your home environment so that you can breathe again. This article from the Irish Times includes tips from Marie Kondo, author of the ‘Magic Art of Tidying’ and ‘Spark Joy’ on how to hold onto the things that bring you joy in your home and get rid of all the rest. The idea is that you change the energy in your home and revitalise your living space. Why not give it a go?

Meditate

Meditation can help with stress reduction and is calming to the mind and body, helping you to achieve states of deep relaxation – great for helping to ease you off to sleep at night or for brightening your day first thing in the morning. Here are few suggestions to get you started!

Insight Timer is the No.1 free app for meditation

Paid apps that are excellent include:

Headspace – offers a range of mediation courses and some stand alone meditation exercises including 3- and 5-minute mediations for the start of the day and the end of the day -perfect for when you’re short on time!

Calm  – includes loving kindness meditations and a library of relaxation music, perfect for playing in the background for when you’re pottering around the house.

Excellent Health and Well- being podcasts

Podcasts are great to listen to while you are doing your housework in the background, or even when you are just chilling out relaxing with a cup of tea at the end of the day. Here are a few of my favourite podcasts.

Feel Better Live More

Everything you need to know about how to stay fit and healthy as well as how to safeguard your mental well- being with Dr Rangan Chatterjee

The Doctor’s Kitchen

Inspirational guests and inspirational recipes from Dr Rupy – sign up to his newsletter and get free recipes every week and health and well- being tips.

The Irish Balance

Excellent podcast with Galway based Public Health Doctor, Dr Ciara Kelly, her website includes a range of recipes and her lovely newsletter, which she sends out every Sunday, includes a range of health and well- being tips as well as recommendations for movies, books and podcasts.

The Essential Oils Revolution

Great podcast from Samantha Lee Wright on the benefits of using Essential Oils for health and well-being.

Online Library

If you have a library card why not avail of your local library’s online library – some also offer access to online magazines via RB digital, a great way to keep reading fresh content for free while you are self -isolation.

Gardening

If you have a balcony/patio and are still able to get the necessary tools/pots/plants, a spot of gardening can be very therapeutic. Plus, you have the added advantage of being able to grow your own food. This article from Growveg.co.uk tells you how.

Visit a ‘Virtual Museum’

You may not be able to visit a museum in person, but you can still get your fix of culture with the excellent virtual tours that are out there!

The National Gallery, Dublin has an excellent free virtual tour.

The British Museum also has an excellent free online virtual tour with audio guide.

Create an upbeat music playlist

Finally, what could be more relaxing than listening to a playlist of your favourite, feel-good tunes? Why not create an upbeat music playlist to listen to while at home as background music or just to chill out? You could even dance to it if you felt like a bit of exercise – and to make it even more fun, why not share screens with a friend while the two of you dance to your playlist together?!😊

Gemma Costello

Club Secretary, Vox Populi

Tips for surviving Self Isolation!
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