If you’re struggling with the self-quarantine and isolation guidelines imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a retired NASA astronaut has a few pointers that might help you out.
Many of the things Scott Kelly learned while spending 340 consecutive days aboard the International Space Station can be directly applied to those of us practicing social-distancing from the comfort of our home.
The 56-year-old’s biggest piece of advice is to live in the present.
“It was so far away in the future that my expectations were, this is where I live now,” Kelly said recalling his trip in March 2015 that was set to conclude in March 2016.
“And then I have to deal with it, and some day it will be over. And I think that’s what people need to have, that kind of mindset,” he added.
Kelly is also a stickler for adhering to a schedule and previously highlighted the importance of a consistent bedtime to the New York Times.
“I found as I got used to [the schedule], I actually needed it. And when I got home, I’d miss it,” he told Good Morning America.
While many of us are being told to stay at home, which has also become our temporary office for remote work, Kelly stressed the importance of taking a break and going outside to get some fresh air.
“You need to schedule things like work, rest, taking care of your environment… Take time to go outside if you can. Sunlight and nature is so very, very important to our health.”
He added that while isolation is essential, the “uncertainty” surrounding the duration of the coronavirus outbreak can be stressful.
He suggested journal writing as a way of coping with feelings and emotions.
“If you’re feeling a certain way, writing it down, being honest with yourself about it, is the best possible thing you can do,” he said. “And then when this is all over someday, we can look back at this time, one of the most challenging times in our country, and you can have a record of what it was like for you and what you did.”
As for those sharing an isolation space with roommates or family, he said, “you need to understand, first of all, who is your crew on this mission?”
“Understand that we’re all in this together. If you’re feeling stressed, talk about it. And that’s how we work through these things,” he added.
Not everyone copes with issues the same way, but remember, we’re all in this together.