Humans need interaction with others to survive, so how do we stay healthy in a time of self-isolation?
UNSW Sydney disaster response and recovery expert Dr Cobi Calyx has some good advice and it all boils down to three basic principles:
- Be optimistic
- Help others
- Try to avoid getting the virus or passing it on
It might seem hard to stay positive when we’re swamped with so much rapid and worrying change but Dr Calyx says there are ways to nudge thoughts in the right direction.
To begin with, people who are feeling weighed down with bad news could consider switching it off for a while and focusing on something they can feel grateful for, such as the amazing work of essential services workers who keep society functioning.
“Research shows that practices such as keeping a gratitude journal, making a list of three new things you’re grateful for today, or writing letters can help change thought patterns.
“You don’t need to express this gratitude further, it’s your thought process that matters.”
Secondly, helping people out maintains our crucial sense of connection with others, even when we’re mostly stuck at home.
This could involve doing some grocery shopping for a neighbour, or even just calling to make sure they’re okay.
Not everyone feels comfortable reaching out but there are still ways they can help.
All of us, for example, can contribute to the development of treatments for COVID-19 by taking part in game-based crowdsourcing research through platforms such as FoldIt.
Finally, try to stay healthy and avoid catching the virus, or if you do, keep others safe by following self-isolation and social distancing principles.
Australian university researchers provide a wealth of advice. Show your support for them by signing the petition below.