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Self-Isolation: Surviving And Staying Sane

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If your parents restricted your outings when you were younger, or perhaps you attended a prison-ish boarding school (like me), or you’re an introvert, or selectively social, then self-isolation and social distancing wouldn’t be an enormous deal to you. But for the people who overly depend on their friends, who love hanging out and are extroverted, self-isolation would seem boring.

But then again, even the most stay-at-home person could grow weary after weeks of self-isolation/lockdown/social distancing (when a pandemic ravages through the world).

Self-isolation can drive you nuts if you keep overthinking and over-worrying about things—everything beyond your control. You’ll probably have been seeing and hearing people say, “If after this pandemic you haven’t learned a skill, then you have wasted your time,” or something similar to that. Don’t let that give a headache, because you are using your time to watch films, read books or just sleep or rest. If you don’t know, just staying safe and staying sane throughout this period is an accomplishment.

If you intend on doing courses online, it’s cool. Do it. But do it for you, not because everyone is doing it. There are streams of free courses online, but there’s no stream of free data (for us in Nigeria). For me, I would definitely be happier using my data to watch something that would make me laugh (comedy-drama or whatnot) and forget my worries, or some other worldly adventure movies/TV series or books I could just disappear into and forget the bleakness of life than use it up watching courses videos and cramming stuffs.

ALSO READ: THE BOY WITH A CRYING SOUL | A SHORT STORY

It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to chill. Do it, unapologetically. I remember someone was accusing my sisters of being jobless because they did a video of themselves dancing and posted it online. My reaction was, “Is this guy okay? So they don’t deserve to do something funny or try to stay happy regardless of what is going on in the world? So everyone must be pressurized into doing something?”

Do whatever makes you happy. If it’s your phone, play games, or listen to songs, or reads books or watch movies. Or anything you can to maintain your sanity, because we don’t know how long it will take before this virus ends.

The other day I read an article about how a Mars simulation crew spent 520 days of confinement. It was one hell of an article, seeing as I can’t imagine spending nearly two years locked in with a bunch of people (who I may or may not know). Crazy, right?

So how do you not heighten the anxiety and impending madness brimming in your head? Here are some helpful tips to help you survive self-isolation and also stay sane:

  1. Take it one day at a time. Take things one step at a time and have it in mind that this will end, eventually. Yes, they say COVID19 is the deadliest threat to humanity, but mankind has also faced other deadly circumstances and we always survive. Don’t over-worry or overthink. You’re more likely to stay sane if you focus on right now—live in the present. (It is all right that you can’t travel right now. I imagine once this ends people would travel a lot and do everything on their bucket list.)
  2. Try not to be idle or too engaged. Idle, then you feel bored and maybe suffocated about self-isolation. Too engaged, you put so much stress on yourself and it affects your mental health. Try to find a balance in-between.
  3.  Stay in touch with family and friends. You’ll be a lot saner if you had someone to talk to rather than let your thoughts swirl around inside (clog your brain) and possibly make you sleepless. (It is only a matter of time before you explode). Now it is more than important to communicate with another. Isolation doesn’t mean you’re alone.
  4. Try something fun or new every day. You are bound to get bored if you keep doing the same things day by day. Watch a movie out of your usual genre. Read a book you wouldn’t normally read. Explore new music. Try learning an unfamiliar language. Try learning to write backwards. Try learning to draw, or learning to edit videos, or write your own original song or learn how to do a handstand or try painting your nails (my nails are very long now).
  5. Exercise every day. Burn energy. Burn those excess energy inside of you. Don’t spend your entire day on a couch, or in bed, or in your chair and desk (if you are working from home).
  6. Keep a journal, or notebook, or any book you can write on. Writing is a powerful therapeutic resource. Write. Relay your emotions and thoughts and ease your mind. Think of it as an emotional release.
  7.  Stay safe. The most important now is to stay safe and stay at home. And if you have to go out for any reason, wear a mask and glove. Make sure your body isn’t exposed and maintain distance from people.

ALSO READ: SAM’S SHEPHERD | A SHORT STORY

Now, for some hilarious things I have heard during this period.

  • Someone once told me they were getting married after this pandemic and asked if I had a spare spouse for them. Lol.
  • Another person say they would deflower themselves once this pandemic ends. They said they can’t die a virgin. Lol.
  • Another said the first thing they would do is get pregnant. That life is short and they can’t die without not giving birth. Lol.
  • Someone else said they were tired of doing online courses and they just want to be useless in peace. Lol.

Disclaimer: Everything I have written is my opinion, of which I am entitled to. So read and share your (constructive) thoughts. Okay now, bye.

About Praise

Praise Osawaru is a writer, (performance) poet, content developer and entrepreneur-in-training. His works have appeared/forthcoming in African Writer, Black Youth, Kreative Diadem, Ngiga Review, Nantygreens, SprinNG, Praxis Magazine and Writers Space Africa. He was longlisted for African Writers Award 2019 and Shortlisted for The Zi Prize 2019. He enjoys reading books, listening to good music, and binge-watching series on Netflix when he isn't over-worrying about University life. Say hello on Instagram/Twitter: @wordsmithpraise

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22 comments

  1. Worth the time.
    Nice work.

  2. Hehe. I’m definitely going to travel after this pandemic. Note that I’ve never traveled out of my state before.

  3. An interesting piece to say the least. Indeed, writing is therapeutic. The thrill I get after writing my heart on ink and paper is something else. You’re right, it’s an emotional release!

    Again, learning something beyond your normal has helped me too. I started enjoying Bach & Mozart of recent. I fear I may lose my English for French after this lockdown (lol).

    Nice work Praise!

  4. Great piece man, the last parts got me laughing.

  5. This is a nice read. I enjoyed reading it.
    We should engage in things that will keep us sane this period. As for me I prefer watching movies and chatting with friends. We can also engage in other productive things as well so that our time won’t be wasted.

  6. This is beautiful and insightful.Thank you very much praise

  7. This feels good. Worth reading

  8. Nice work, Praise. It is indeed necessary to stay sane while this lasts so we can come out of it stronger.

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