Our support worker Sally Bermingham has been self-isolating since last week due to government advice on the coronavirus outbreak. Because of an existing health condition, this is not the first time she has had to remain at home for several weeks, and below she’s very kindly written some advice for anyone self-isolating at this time.
Hi, my name is Sally and I work on the bank for Charnhill, the Kingsway and Expressions. I choose to work Bank due to my health condition Lupus. Every 12-18 months my Lupus flares up and I find myself housebound for 8-12 weeks at a time. A third of that time is often spent bed bound. Trust me its tough!
The medication I am on causes me to have NO immune system so following government guidelines I am advised to self-isolate and have done since Monday 16th March. Having just returned to work after 10 weeks at home unwell, surviving on £100 per week, this is the last thing I wanted to do.
I have got my head around it now and want to try and help others as it is not easy to be indoors for so long. It is possible to cope with and I am living proof of that.
Here are things I have found from previous experience that have helped me to manage isolation at home:
1. Be grateful for what you DO have.
2. Be kind to yourself and others.
3. Positive thinking is something I believe helps. Help others to feel more positive. There is always someone worse off I believe and I wake with a grateful heart.
4. Talk to people using phones and Skype etc.
5. I keep a diary of things to achieve each day. I love to tick things off, it gives one a sense of achievement and makes me feel good.
6. Keep to a routine e.g. showering, as it’s very easy to slip into not bothering as I won’t be seeing anyone. So for me pamper sessions help. Make yourself feel good.
7. I have found a real benefit of meditating over the 10 years of my illness. You can download free apps and it is a practice that really does help.
8. Music has been a real help and joy over the years. I am part of a soul scene and with these friends we are all keeping our spirits up by sharing music.
9. I find being part of a support group helpful. I have rekindled friendships with my fellow lupus sufferers, as we are all self-isolating. One has had a baby and the joy those pictures bring is great.
10. The use of FaceTime is great too as I feel I am really connecting with people. See if you can FaceTime others to keep them from feeling socially isolated. This improves your mental health by making you feel you are helping others.
11. Home delivery of food. My neighbor is 78 and fitter than me and refuses to self-isolate despite my encouragement. As from next week I am adding her food order to my food delivery slots.
12. Keep a track of your medication stock – having worked in a GP practice you wont be able to get medications that aren’t due but do order when you are able to.
13. Exercise – I am embracing this to get myself fitter so I have put myself on a healthy eating plan and commencing an exercise regime. For me this is yoga on YouTube, dancing -yes I love to dance! And walking – I have downloaded an app called ‘Map my walk’ and have pledged with myself to get fitter. My walking route is an hour long and I wave at my kids from their homes as I walk along.
14. Now is the time to try something new. I work for the Trust’s Expressions art programme and plan to get my art materials out and enjoy this. I have a box of card making equipment so again once I start to feel I need to keep busier I can get my hobbies out. Reading is a great idea too, as is cooking. I plan to get in my garden on days weather permits.
It is such difficult times for everyone. We can do this.
Keep well everyone and stay safe. For those who are able to work (and trust me, I wish I could), you’re doing a great job!