How to survive isolation from someone who knows – an astronaut

How to survive isolation from someone who knows – an astronaut

Published on 7th May, 2020 at 03:28 pm

COVID-19 is here, and sanitising and staying home are the new norms. If we do it right, it’s going to go a long way towards ‘flattening the curve’: proactively preventing the spread of this virus. But being in quarantine isn’t easy, especially if you’re not used to spending so much time at home.

So, we decided to find some advice from the experts – in this case, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. In 2017, Whitson broke the record for cumulative days spent in space by any NASA astronaut with a total of 665 days. In a satellite interview, she had some practical tips for staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You have to communicate effectively”

Being at home for long periods of time with the same people is not easy. Whitson compared it to her own experience onboard the International Space Station, where she and her crew worked together all day and “couldn’t go home at night”. And while she shared that astronauts received special training on how to play well with others in a confined space, she believes it comes down to communication.

At home, it might help to set some house rules, talk through your feelings and let your family or housemates know when you need some space.

Keep busy

Whitson admitted that her duties as an astronaut kept her pretty busy. But she also had some advice for how to fill your days inside.

Her first tip was about enjoying the view. Of course, hers might have been more unique – but it’s a good reminder to stop and appreciate nature. Soak up some sun, watch some birds, play with your pet.

She also suggests asking yourself what things you’d normally wish you had more time to do. Maybe you’d like to read more, write poetry, make art or learn a language. Make that list. You finally have the time.

Embrace the bigger purpose

You’re not exploring space and doing research for NASA, but staying inside is important. “COVID-19 gives us a higher purpose. We are saving lives by quarantining,” said Whitson.
So, when you’re looking wistfully towards the door, remember why we’re inside. Embracing the bigger purpose can give you a reason to continue.

Why not use this time to review your finances telephonically with an expert financial planner? Click here to set up a meeting, which can be via phone call.

Struggling during this difficult time? We’ve made our Trauma, Assault & HIV Assist benefit available to all Sanlam Reality members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Speak to an expert counsellor on the phone, 24/7, at no extra cost to you.

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