3 tips for staying sane

3 top tips for bossing self isolation

There is no doubt that we are living through a once in a lifetime event. For all the platitudes and quotes being posted right now that are doing jack shit for mental health (or is it just me?) I wanted to post another useful piece for your mental health pencil case.

Whether you are just employing social distancing or hunkering down in self isolation these tips can help you to keep sane by reducing your anxiety. There’s no rocket science here, but you need to take action to keep on track, it’s all about producing and not consuming at this time. So let’s get straight into it.

1. Structure yourself

If you have gone from working to being without a job or working from home then this is bloody essential. If you don’t keep a structure to your day then you will fall into bad habits and poor mental health. Even if you have nothing to do, it will help to structure your day with “appointments” to ensure you keep calm and rational. Try this as a basic layout:

- Set a regular wake time. Let’s say 7am. If you are used to getting up earlier then enjoy the extra sleep and remember, no commute time! If you despise getting up before 9am, then just give this a go for a week and see how you fair, you might surprise yourself.

- Do some simple exercise. No need to go nuts, but try some simple bodyweight exercises or yoga for 15-20 minutes. Use YouTube to find something for your level of fitness. - Eat regularly. Consume breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same times through the day. This will help you to avoid 'boredom snacking', keep your mood and energy consistent and help you to get to sleep at a good time.

- Create appointments for tasks. Whether you are a procrastinator like me or a bouncing ball of energy you’ll benefit from laying out your day in appointments. You don’t have to schedule every minute of the day, perhaps just hour chunks with general labels like “house chores”, “learning”, “fun shit”, “work stuff”, “self-help time”. Don’t worry if you don’t stick to them 100%, that’s not the goal. It is just to help you stay sane and use this time at home wisely.

- Get to sleep! Don’t fall into the trap of staying up later just because you can. At some stage this whole thing will be over and we will need to return to normal, keeping a sensible schedule will reduce the pain point later. You will also benefit massively from a good sleep routine to help your mental health.

2. Stay connected

If you are a closet introvert like me then you will be revelling in this opportunity to spend time on yourself, perhaps not seeing more than one person a day. If you are an extrovert then you may find this time a struggle to keep yourself “entertained” and see you energy dropping as a result of not seeing others.

For all personality types it is important to stay in touch with other people and that means more than just a message. Why? Well humans aren’t meant to be hermits, even if I think I’d enjoy it! We come from a background of tribes, community and collaboration. Society has moved away from that in the pursuit of something else, but this situation presents a great opportunity to reach out and help each other. So use that technology in your hand to video call a friend you haven’t spoken to in an age and help yourself by helping others.

3. Keep laughing

I wanted to advise you to cut out social media, but I did that in my last post. So check the post before this one. Instead I will finish on comedy, which has helped me in some dark fucking times. Often the dark, introspective comedy has been the most helpful to see that others were experiencing the same thing as me and that there was a joke in there about it. In my book The Noisy Mind (available on my website ;)) I talk about watching or listening to comedy as a daily tool to balance out the bad stuff we are consuming. So rather than read another post about how this virus is going to affect the world, why not try this little video below and keep smiling.


Reach out if you need a chat,

Tom :)