Introduction\n\nDue to circumstances out of our immediate control, over the past month or so many of us have found ourselves at home more than ever, and seldom go out unless it is strictly essential. An inability to go out and live like normal can lead to feelings of isolation and sadness, something that I make a point to manage and have seen emanate from family and friends. In order to deal with these very natural feelings, I have a few ideas that I am going to talk about. Some might seem obvious at first, but rest assured I'm not trying to teach Grandma to suck eggs 👵🥚! Rather, in life I've found that even when things can seem apparent, at times it really helps when someone confirms them to you.\n\nLooking After Ourselves\n\nFeeling isolated and sad is not something to take lightly, as these are feelings that can grow in significance if not dealt with quickly. It can start with affecting your everyday mood when you are out and about, potentially leading to difficulty even getting out of bed if left unchecked. This is why it is important to formulate a healthy routine (especially a morning one) and perform it daily like your life depends on it! You can tweak it to suit a changing lifestyle and to incorporate other activities, but under no circumstances should you stop and move towards doing nothing. Do the basics, look after yourself, wash, get ready, be active, stimulate yourself mentally and physically with exercise, make yourself nice food creatively with the ingredients you have and DON'T STOP! For more about routines and other mechanisms, I recommend that you take some time to read the following articles that I have written:\n\nWorking From Home: Certain Actions in Uncertain Times\n\nWorking From Home: Continuous Improvement and Lessons Learned\n\nTaking this a step further, be careful to watch your mental health and remain mindful of yourself and your surroundings. Do not let yourself retreat, instead get into a rhythm and ALWAYS try to engage. If you have something planned and then, as it approaches, you suddenly "don't feel like it", make the effort to push through this. If anything, if you start to feel like you "cannot be bothered", MAKE EVEN MORE OF AN EFFORT as you need to now more than ever given your mental state. It can be tempting to accept defeat, but it is an easy habit to fall into and won't be good for you in the long run. Don't let these feelings become the norm.\n\nWhilst remaining mindful of yourself, also ensure you look out for those around you. You will likely be in a good place to judge the everyday behavior of those around you, and in certain situations will be best qualified to spot people acting out of the ordinary. We can all struggle with such feelings, and thus it is essential that we observe and try to assist where needed. If someone you know isn't seeming like themselves, it could really help them to make yourself available, even if its just a short chat. We need to be there for each other and do our best to lift up others during difficult times.\n\nCalming sun over water\n\nKeeping in Contact\n\nWhen times are such that leaving the house is difficult and we aren't able to see those closest to us, it doesn't mean that we cannot communicate via other channels. We are living in a period where technology has revolutionised how we can keep in contact with each other, so avoiding isolation is a fantastic incentive to explore 😀! By getting into the habit of using one/more of methods regularly, you can be easily connected to those around you, even if you aren't physically with them.\n\nEmail: Great for being creative and for long form exchanges of ideas!\n\nChat Via Instant Messaging: There are many platforms out there for you to chat with your friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances, including SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal etc. You can start a few threads and let them continue throughout the day/week, and even exchange funny jokes, pictures, memes. I recommend setting up groups for family, friends and even your team at work so that you can always stay in touch.\n\nAudio Conversations: If you want to hear a friendly voice, pick up the phone or fire up a VOIP application like Skype, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams etc and talk away! This is a tried-and-tested way of keeping in contact, and a great way to catch up with people.\n\nVideo Conversations: Feeling brave? Share that BEAMING smile of yours 😁! This is my preferred option now, as to me it feels like the closest thing to being present with people without physically being there. Don't get me wrong, it can be jarring at first if you aren't used to it, but it can grow on you after a while! There are many applications out there, including Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Apple FaceTime and even apps like WhatsApp support it.\n\nMy advice for audio and video conversations is to plan them in advance to allow people to align themselves to align their schedules ahead of time, give them some weight and provide you with something to look forward to. When you schedule a conversation, actually note it down in your calendar and set a reminder to give you that pang of excitement when it pops up! Also, if you are having a video chat, make an effort and dress up a bit, not just for the other people on the call, but for yourself. Make it an special occasion, and turn up to this event in style!\n\nLady catching up with her friends over the phone\n\nFinally, if you have quite a lot of time, try to catch up with those you haven't spoken to in a while... believe me, they'll likely be VERY happy to hear from you 😃. I just takes one message/call to spark things up all over again!\n\nSpice Things Up a Bit 🌶!\n\nWith all of the previously mentioned advances in technology, things can really open up if you want to get creative!\n\nMaking a meal over video chat using a shared recipe, where you all prepare your ingredients, cook, serve up and eat together. Don't forget your cheeky snap to send around, where prizes can be awarded for the best presentation 😅!\n\nHost quizzes with pre-prepared questions and a short period to answer to limit Googling potential! Get different people to prepare the questions to keep every engaged... and on their toes!\n\nExercise together using a shared workout that could be live, pre-recorded or even prepared by your group. Don't forget to shout at... (I mean motivate) each other, and try to do some press-ups without your knees on the ground 😉.\n\nOrganise work lunches with your colleagues, or even lunch and learns where people give a presentation about a topic they are interested in whilst you all eat. Every day can be a school day (if you like that kind of thing aha!)\n\nInvite your family and/or friends to a PARTY 🎈🥳 hosted online via an app! Get the drinks, the snacks and the party games sorted, and maybe even issue a dress code if you're feeling brave!\n\nThese are but only a few ideas available to you, and I'm sure if you dig around you could find a lot more. Keep things interesting, and most importantly, try to always have something for you and your loved ones to look forward to. The days might be tough, with lots of challenges that are less than ideal, but if you have these moments coming up, then it makes it easier to look past your issues. Spending time with those who matter is one of the most important things, so make it count!\n\nMother and daughter spending that all important quality time with each other\n\nAll Together\n\nFeeling like you are stuck at home can feel very difficult to handle, and these feeling can lead to other implications if not managed throughout. It's important that we take the time to look after ourselves and watch out for others so that we can alter our behaviors and provide necessary assistance. Thankfully due to modern advances in technology, we have a wealth of methods that we can use to stay in contact, and these can be harnessed creatively to keep in touch in the most interesting of ways! All of this can go a long way to handle our feelings of isolation, as well as keep things fun along the way!\n\nTake care and all the best, Si.