As the world goes into a panic with the highly contagious COVID-19 virus, all schools have converted to E-learning. Communicating with my students on email, the Canvas portal, and Google Meet video chat, we are all experiencing different levels of anxiety and cabin fever. With our local area on an essential-only travel advisory, I find grocery shopping and routine visits to the pharmacy to be stressful. I had a panic attack in the grocery store when it was the busiest I had ever seen it with next to nothing on the shelves.
I have found contentment in working from home and spending time with my family: the husband and the cat, who I normally wouldn’t be around much at all. Part of my job as an “online teacher” right now is sending a sense of love and calm to my students who are missing sports seasons, major events, seeing their friends at school, and simply carrying on with a normal routine in life. I shared a summary below to all my classes for tips on isolation from an astronaut who spent a year on the International Space Station.
The full article can be found at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/opinion. I thought I might share Scott Kelly’s advice as it relates well to all of us coping with the recent changes in our lifestyle.
The Jagers have been maintaining life by keeping a schedule. We wake up early to have breakfast and get started with work online, taking necessary breaks to stretch, walk around the apartment, pet the cat, or just gaze outside at the birds on our porch. We stay up to date with the latest breaking news and communicate often with colleagues, friends, and family. I have time to take a true lunch break and cook our meals from scratch. We had our first livestream church service and I sang along to the hymns with great enthusiasm.
My reading time has gone up and Derek has always been an avid reader from traveling for work over the past year. We also completely reorganized the kitchen and hall closet, cleaning and improving the small spaces that we share. The shared workspace has been adjusted along with several spots for the cat to relax.
While the pool has been closed, we plan on continuing to run, practice yoga, and even introduce some core and strength activities for the inside. We will never reach complete boredom when we have each other and a boardgame collection to play through!
Stay Healthy and Positive!
I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share
Take it from someone who couldn’t: Go outside.
Mr. Kelly is a retired NASA astronaut who spent nearly a year on the International Space Station.
Being stuck at home can be challenging. When I lived on the International Space Station for nearly a year, it wasn’t easy. When I went to sleep, I was at work. When I woke up, I was still at work. Flying in space is probably the only job you absolutely cannot quit.
But I learned some things during my time up there that I’d like to share — because they are about to come in handy again, as we all confine ourselves at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Here are a few tips on living in isolation, from someone who has been there.
Follow a schedule- On the space station, my time was scheduled tightly, from the moment I woke up to when I went to sleep. You will find maintaining a plan will help you and your family adjust to a different work and home life environment.
But pace yourself- When you are living and working in the same place for days on end, work can have a way of taking over everything if you let it. Take time for fun activities, Take breaks.
Go outside (Keep Social Distance, but get fresh air) –One of the things I missed most while living in space was being able to go outside and experience nature. After being confined to a small space for months, I actually started to crave nature.
You need a hobby- When you are confined in a small space you need an outlet that isn’t work or maintaining your environment. Some people are surprised to learn I brought books with me to space.
Keep a journal- NASA has been studying the effects of isolation on humans for decades, and one surprising finding they have made is the value of keeping a journal. Throughout my yearlong mission, I took the time to write about my experiences almost every day.
Take time to connect- Even with all the responsibilities of serving as commander of a space station, I never missed the chance to have a videoconference with family and friends.
Listen to experts- I’ve found that most problems aren’t rocket science, but when they are rocket science, you should ask a rocket scientist. Living in space taught me a lot about the importance of trusting the advice of people who knew more than I did about their subjects, whether it was science, engineering, medicine, or the design of the incredibly complex space station that was keeping me alive.
We are all connected- Seen from space, the Earth has no borders. The spread of the coronavirus is showing us that what we share is much more powerful than what keeps us apart, for better or for worse.
I’ve seen humans work together to prevail over some of the toughest challenges imaginable, and I know we can prevail over this one if we all do our part and work together as a team.
Oh, and wash your hands — often.
Here are other tips: