COVID19 & Self Isolation

by Hollie Smith 

If you’re feeling the need to step away from your screen (and trust me, it’s not a bad idea) here’s some things my friends and I have found to help us while in isolation or social distancing.


Wake up relatively early

Sorry to sound really annoying, but it will help! Lying in bed until early afternoon will drain your energy levels and crush productivity. Set a nice alarm to wake up to and allow yourself more time to get ready and start the day properly.

Make a to-do list the night before

Making a to do list the night before can make the next day feel so much easier as everything is laid out simply for you. Make your list reasonable and specific, and allow yourself downtime too, as well as making sure you leave at least an hour to take a break for lunch. I like to make sure I’ve done something for the mind (eg: my homework), something for the body (exercise, yoga, kitchen dance party), and something I really enjoy (finishing my favourite book, or a couple (or more) episodes of something on Netflix).


Find joy in the little things

I have found that, even while I’m doing my online learning, sitting in the garden, or next to an open window in the sunlight has really helped me focus and feel positive. I also have found that a short walk around the block, or a quick 20 minute jog has really helped make things seem clearer in my head and has calmed my anxiety hugely. Getting active, eating healthy and feeling productive is a great way to stop that mid-afternoon slump.

Maybe stop looking at twitter…

I’m guilty as charged. I hate to admit it but some days, twitter (or any social media for that matter) is my main news source. Information is spread around these platforms like wildfire and while some of it is trustworthy and true, a lot of it isn’t, and it’s put out there to scare you. Consuming so much of this information at once can be damaging to an already anxious brain and it’s important to know when to put social media to the side.


Only take advice from trusted government and health service websites

Gwyneth Paltrow and Kourtney Kardashian will have you believing that a shot of apple cider vinegar every morning and a $200 face mask will cure coronavirus, but this simply isn’t true… As much as they’d love to believe it.

Remember that the health professionals will all direct you to the same place for advice on coronavirus, including how to prevent spreading it, catching it and what to do if you think you have it. Use this official advice and take anything else with a pinch of salt.

Understand that there will be down days and things won’t feel normal

It’s important in times like these, when some of you may be feeling lonely or isolated, that your feelings are justified. It is completely normal to be anxious about the situation and to feel uneasy and disassociated by it. The main thing is that you recognise and justify these feelings for yourself, and then work on trying to make them feel better.

Distractions like walking outside or doing something creative are always great, but this could even be just discussing things with a parent, friend or online counsellor. For me, personally, I find my feelings a lot easier to deal with once I understand the reasons why I’m feeling them, so taking time to discuss the facts about the pandemic and the world’s response may make things seem clearer. Plus it’s a great excuse for a cup of tea and a hobnob in between your online classes.



…it’s crucial to remember that its very normal to feel anxious about this, and whether you’re feeling overwhelmed, unproductive, anxious or hopeless, your feelings are justified. And if you are feeling very overwhelmed and are struggling to function normally, there is help available.
For those who use the footsteps service, telephone and video consultations are happening very soon: watch this space.

If you are having/have had thoughts about harming yourself contact CAHMS crisis team on 03000 013 2000