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Sam Johnson

Title ︎︎︎ Self-Isolation - How To Tolerate Yourself
It has been made evident over the past month that the complications of a global health crisis are multifaceted, and the truth is I am far too ill-equipped to explore even a portion of these. What I am interested in examining is the impact that a state of global disarray can have on the condition of an individual’s cognitive wellbeing. While some are in a state of mental disrepair at the prospect of losing a loved one, others tussle with the predicament of self-isolative boredom. As individuals, our tolerance for adversity is shaped by our navigation and perceptions of the previous hardships we have endured, and thus it is a subjective matter. With this in mind, it is important that we spare compassion for those enduring mental, physical and financial unease at this time.

To whatever degree your daily life has been disturbed; it is essential to establish what remains in your control and capitalize on the fulfillment that you can draw from it. Here is a list of 3 things you can do to remain sane within the confines of your own home, bedroom, and mind.

1. Appreciate your time

Although restrained by your physical whereabouts it is fair to say you have likely never experienced such flexibility in regards to your mental whereabouts. Take advantage of your time, employ a stoic mentality and occupy your mind with things that remain in your control and that will bring you enjoyment in the present. Focusing on personal projects or goals will grant you a feeling of control and will help you avoid the unnecessary mental burden of that which is out of your hands. Pick up the book you have been meaning to read, locate the guitar or easel buried irretrievably deep in your closet. What is important is to emphasize what this time grants you, rather than what it strips of you.

2. Establish Routine

Sticking to a routine will ensure you are held accountable for your time and will consequently give you a reason to get out of bed, which is necessary when you have no responsibilities knocking at your door. Whatever you do, do not sleep in. I am speaking from experience when I emphasize that this is the preface to a slow decline into absolute psychological befuddlement. Avoid this trap at all costs and understand the importance of a healthy sleep schedule. Be sure to fill your day with achievable goals, the satisfaction that comes with these small accomplishments is what will keep you going.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Jean-Paul Sartre summed up this next point perfectly with this famous aphorism, “If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.” One of the few benefits of mandatory self-isolation is the fact that it offers so much time for self- reflection, this is both a blessing and a curse. It seems that being in an isolative state is exceptionally useful and some may even say a requisite for any level of self- enlightenment to be achieved. Granted that desiring social interaction is completely reasonable, it does seem strange that we recoil at the thought of being sentenced to our own insufferable thoughts; can we actually be that unbearable? In the process of learning to be alone you must also learn to be present, and with that said; challenge yourself once a day to disconnect from your screens and find calmness and peace of mind in the present moment.

If you must only take one thing from what I have written here make it this; understand that your feelings of apprehension have been cultivated internally and not as a result of external forces. To whatever extent your worries may seem unbearable, rest assured that in surpassing these difficult times you have simultaneously overcome the most complex adversary of them all; your own mind.

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