Completely Isolated

When I had to travel to Durham to pay in a cheque earlier this week, the final pay cheque from the job I left last month, the place was almost deserted due to the social isolation strategy now in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

It was great to see that a huge majority of people were obeying instructions and staying at home. I imagine everyone else I saw whilst in the city had, like me, a valid reason for being there. The regulations have tightened since then and the Police are, amid some criticism, firmy enforcing the rules. I don’t criticise them for this.

Most people I know are isolating with someone, but not me. I’m faring well and I’d be honest if I wasn’t. Thanks to the wonders of online video communications technology like Zoom, Skype, Facetime or Facebook video chat, complete with those irritating filters kids love so much, we have varied options to stay in face-to-face contact.

On a day-to-day basis staying occupied and feeling productive is the challenge. For me it is avoiding overeating as my weight has increased. Forcing myself to exercise and respect the restrictions of my health condition is vital, but difficult. In many ways life is simplified for most of us at the moment. We just need to stay at home, getting our food shop organised and maintain our personal hygiene even when if we just lump around the house nobody would notice.

It is for our always derided politicians to count the economic cost for the nation and we know there is a huge global cost too. Then there is any additional effect of Brexit, remember that? We could be facing global recession, although I think there might be a mini boom because of the need for people to get out there and make things happen. I know I’m making plans, but unfortunately many businesses and jobs have already gone.

The hidden challenge for people is dealing with the impact of isolation. People spend hour upon hour watching the news with the growing worry this causes. It affects me and I am usually happily aloof to the risk of contracting disease. I noticed how shaky I felt driving to collect my Tesco order yesterday. As I drove away from my home I longed to return, feeling in danger the whole time. By the time I got home I felt poorly. The next morning I was fine which suggests to me my perceived illness was largely down to anxiety and worry.

Starting tomorrow I plan to begin logging my sugar results again, focusing on healthy choices with exercise too. Creating and sticking to structure is vital. I will continue with the online course I am doing in preparation of starting a new venture doing property and architecture photography when this is all over and I will be up early getting washed and dressed to avoid the lazy downbeat feeling laying around in your bed clothes can bring.

We must do what we can to occupy our minds and stay positive. We must proactively engage with people and communicate as much as we can. We must do all we can to mitigate high levels of anxiety and stress which may need medical intervention via our NHS in the months ahead. I think you’ll agree they have enough to do at present.

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