Self-isolating in 2022: The Guide
07 February 2022
You may have seen the newstitle ‘Europe entering plausible endgame to pandemic’ floating about on your timelines. With uncharacteristically good news, it’s easy to see why this article has been shared over and over again. Conversely, Omicron still continues and there are still self-isolation rules in place. In some ways it’s almost harder to self-isolate now when most pandemic restrictions have been lifted. Leaving you the only one who cannot attend a friend’s birthday event this weekend whilst everyone else seems to live a normal life. Spoken from this Blog Writer's own experience, here’s how I tackled self-isolation in 2022.
Coordinate with those around you
I remember staring at my first ever positive lateral flow test. Surely not? I’d been so lucky as to make it two years in without catching the virus. But the second test only produced the same result. I was due to have my family visit in two days and had a variety of activities booked for the occasion. Due to the inconvenient timing of it all, I even debated not announcing my result to anyone and continuing as normal. But I knew I had to do my part to notify and cancel everything promptly. Living in a flat-share, I messaged my housemate while they were at work and confessed. It’s important to have clear communication with those you live with and are most likely to become infected by you. Some may have family, friends, or a partner they can stay with. Other times you may need to organise who can enter which communal spaces and when. And if you’re staying in the same accommodation over the period someone is self-isolating due to a positive result - ventilate your space!!
Attending to old tasks
What on earth was I going to do now? I had booked a week off work in order to spend time with family, now I find myself alone in my flat for the next few days. I was fortunate enough that Omicron materialised itself as nothing more than a pretty bad cold. But on the flip side, it meant that resting 24/7 was not something I wanted or needed to do. Even the most organised person always has some minor task they’ve been putting off. Whether it’s decluttering, sorting out documents, or backing up electronic devices. I decided now was the perfect time to finally photograph and put up all my old clothes for sale. I’ve got some orders to ship once I’m out of the house now!
If you are feeling able enough to cook, then cook. It may become easy to rely on quick meals or snacks to get you through this static time. However, now is THE time to cook. Similar to the first point, coordinate with your flatmates/friends. Have a friend deliver groceries to last you for up to 10 days (although the current guidelines do state that if you test negative on the fifth and sixth day you are allowed to end your isolation early). This not only encourages useful skills such as meal planning, it gives you something to do. You have all the time in the world to craft multi-element dishes or practice the bake that you wanted to make for your family upon their arrival. For example, I am currently practising and planning a British-Bake-Off-Style gingerbread tea box with accompanying tea flavoured biscuits inside. Can you tell I’m on day six now?
It’s very easy to become sluggish during isolation. I went from being someone who walked on average twelve-thousand steps a day to a laughable two-hundred. If you’re not feeling too worn down, light exercise such as stretches or beginner-level yoga are recommended. Lack of mobility can lead to tensed up muscles. Furthermore, a common symptom of the Omicron strain is muscle ache. So a little bit of movement and stretching each day can help tremendously.
I am someone who refuses bed rest until I am seconds away from fainting. Although I have provided you with some ways in which I kept myself mentally healthy and busy over my self-isolation, it is also important to rest. A couple of days in, I decided it was a good time to deep clean my shared accommodation as a way of saying thank you to my flatmate who was staying with their partner. About an hour in I felt so incredibly tired and dizzy I had to force myself to lay down and breathe until I had stopped seeing stars. Even if Omicron thankfully isn’t as severe, it’s still an illness. It’s okay to relax and pay attention to our body’s needs. Since the lifting of lockdown back in 2021, most of us have found our lives unpaused. The hecticness of day-to-day life is back. So maybe even stop and take this experience as an opportunity to give back to your body, and let it rest.
Conclusion: Accepting the reality we live in
When I first looked down to see the fateful two lines on my lateral flow, I was dismayed. I felt that this had sprung up in the worst possible time and it simply wasn’t fair. After speaking with my father on the phone, he offered some very helpful advice; We have to accept that for at least this year this will be the reality we live in. We have to accept that sometimes we or other people will have to abruptly cancel. And that nearly everyone is going to have their own “It’s not fair” moment. We can either have a tantrum and kick and scream and cry, or we can look at the opportunities self-isolation gives us within our fast-paced lives in 2022. I have rescheduled my family’s visit to now take place in March, where the weather will be nicer and I will have a cool 3D biscuit sculpture to present them.