Over the next few months we'll all be spending a lot more time indoors trying to limit the spread of COVID-19. We've been in touch with members of the mountain medicine community to ask them for suggestions on how to manage. Here's Karen Greene, Anaesthetist and DiMM Faculty Member, to share her thoughts...
"I'm no expert! If you find my suggestions helpful, that's great. If you don't, I won't be offended. We are all different and I hope you find other suggestions that help you.
Thirteen years ago, I was in a different isolation. I had 10 months of surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. Life changed. I needed to protect myself from infection and was physically very weak. The current isolation is not the same, but some of the things I learnt then, have helped me and I hope might help you.
I think of life differently. I am gentle with myself if I can't do things, but I try hard to get things done even if they are seemingly impossible.
This is how I approach isolation. I divide my time into 3 areas...
Do Something For Me - Last time I listened to music because my concentration was poor. This time I am reading loads. I recommend all of Matthew Syed's books, but lately Rebel Ideas has been a real inspiration.
Last time I painted pictures. I had never painted before and am not artistic in the slightest, but the vibrant colours made my mood so much better. It was very cathartic. Not sure I will do the same again, but I am going to pick up my sax, which I haven't played for years.
Do Something For Others - Last time, I couldn't do much physically so I knitted prolifically. My husband and children ended up with jumpers, hats, gloves, scarves. This time we are all limited in doing physical things, because of keeping distance, but I can make phone calls, pick up milk for my elderly neighbours etc. I have put laminated cards with my telephone number through all my neighbours’ doors, in case they need anything. I am also going to learn to crochet. This time the family are getting beanies, headbands and chalk bags (for the climbing wall) for Christmas. Inspired by my niece, here is her website with patterns, pictures and video tutorials (to come).
Do Something For The Environment - Whilst the weather has been good, getting out in the sunshine and the garden has been wonderful. I am slowly turning the garden into an eco-habitat. Every little helps wildlife and improves my mental health; potting up bee friendly plants, making a wood pile, building nest boxes for bats, birds and bees (even if you don't use them yourself, they make great presents for others).
Last, be honest with the people around you. If you are having difficulty, ask for help. This was the hardest lesson I learnt 13 years ago. However, it created some of the best and most rewarding times and the deepest of friendships. We all struggle at various times and the ability to open up and share these times is hard, but once you have done it, help arrives in abundance and you get better quicker. You are then able to help the next person and the spiral continues!
Wishing you all a safe journey through this stormy time!"
Part 8 of "Isolation" can be found here.
Please get in touch if you'd like to take part in other "Isolation" posts!