Staying Well (and Sane) During Coronavirus Self-isolation
I received a call a couple of days ago from my pulmonary hypertension (PH) specialist center telling me that I am a high-risk patient and need to self-isolate. I’d already been social distancing for a while, but hearing it from my specialists suddenly made it feel very real.
What’s scary is that we don’t know exactly how long this will last. As a vulnerable person with an underlying condition, it is important that I take every precaution to protect myself.
Being holed up indoors until further notice is a daunting prospect, so I’ve been thinking about things to put in place to help look after myself mentally and physically during this time.
Everyone has been talking about the importance of maintaining a routine, and after a few good days of watching “Gilmore Girls” in my room, I can attest that I feel deflated and out of sorts. So today, I am creating a timetable with different activities and tasks, and allotting times to complete them. I hope this will help to preserve a bit of normality and make me feel more grounded.
I have written previously about the importance of light exercise for PH patients, for both physical and mental health. It is important not to let this slide, even during this difficult time. You can find many home workouts and yoga routines online. I like using resistance bands to do gentle leg workouts. I will make sure to work this into my daily timetable, as I find that when I keep up with a (not-too-strenuous) exercise regime, my PH symptoms are much less severe.
When in the house all day, access to food might be a bit more limited. It is tempting to eat whatever’s easy or what you have at hand. But I have decided to use this time to really practice self-care through cooking, and as much as possible, to take the time to prepare healthy meals. There’s no better time to brush up on cooking than when restaurants are closed and you’re not supposed to leave the house!
Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air. While some of us may be completely housebound, it is still important to open up those windows. I am lucky enough to have a garden, so I’ll be making sure I head outdoors at least once a day so I don’t feel too claustrophobic. It would be great if we could just get some sun. (This is unlikely, as I live in England.)
I am not the type of person who’s great at texting. I tend to reconnect with friends when I see them, so it would be easy for me to fall out of touch with people during this time and get quite lonely. For this reason, my friends and I have consciously committed to using FaceTime regularly and checking in on each other daily.
This is a scary time for everyone, particularly those in my community who are at risk. It is easy to become obsessive. I am trying to limit how often I check the news, because while it is important to stay up to date with government advice, too much information can be overwhelming and not particularly useful. As long as you are doing everything in your power to keep yourself well, it’s best to use this time as productively as possible.
Remember, we are all in this together.
What are your plans to stay well while isolating? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.