How to make isolation less isolating

IR Department's Lauren Byrne, Junior Account Executive, discusses the struggles of isolation in a time of crisis and how to deal with it. Focusing on physical and mental health as well as maintaining a healthy work/life balance, she gives her tips on how to stay healthy while being isolated and away from regular routine. 

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our community and it’s one of those rare times where we can say, literally, we’re all in the same boat. Spreading globally in a matter of months, this virus has isolated millions and changed everyone’s day to day lives. We’re all stuck at home away from the norms that made us feel like we were comfortable and in control of our destiny. Many people feel hopeless and unmotivated, not knowing how to face a pandemic like this from the sidelines.

I don’t claim to have all the answers but after a lot of research on how to stay sane (ish) in isolation, I’ve made a compilation of the top tips I found most impactful covering the basics, mental health, physical health and work-life balance.


Those of us still lucky to have a job and who are not on the front line are working from home. My key tip here is to make sure you don’t work from bed (as tempting as that may be), as doing so will make you restless when you sleep and unproductive when you work. Every morning wake up, do your morning ritual, whether that be going for a run, savouring your morning coffee or spending time with the family and then make a list of everything you want to achieve that day. Tick off tasks when you’ve achieved them – at the end of the day, look back at everything you’ve achieved!

  • Communication. Is. Key. Talk to your co-workers every day. Have a Zoom coffee or lunch date to see how they are holding up
  • Work in an ergonomic space. Set up your work-space so you are comfortable, but note your posture and stretch regularly to keep muscle tension at bay
  • Stick to a schedule so you feel like you’ve got routine
    Check out this short lesson on how to be healthy while working from home



Physical health:

I, as much as anyone, know the struggles of getting motivated to workout, however it has become a necessity for me during isolation to get out of the house for at least an hour just to feel normal. This is linked to mental health and being active for your brain, but it’s also so important to stay physically healthy. Before being locked away from the world I was walking up to 15,000 steps a day just by doing my regular routine. Now, I’m lucky if I get over 3,000 with my daily ritual of bed to fridge to work to couch to bed.
Daily exercise is the highlight of my day and I look forward to my after work walks. Tips for staying active inside:

  • Make a time every day for your exercise activities and stick it. Routine is key
  • Follow some active influencers on socials to get inspiration: Instagram and Pinterest are where I find my best ideas
  • These platforms are also great to find healthy and creative recipes you may not have tried before. This is a great way to get the family involved in baking/cooking together
  • Set a timer to remind yourself to drink water! If you’re working from the dining room table you are probably right near a tap. Use it.

As a side note to this, globally people are finding it hard to be motivated. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t hit your goal every day. This is a shared struggle, do your best but also be kind to yourself.



Mental Health:

This is one of the biggest struggles I’ve seen come out of this pandemic so far. Anxiety and depression rates in Australia have risen since the start of COVID-19. People are unsure about everything in their lives and being restricted to being indoors doesn’t help that feeling of helplessness either. My tip for here is “control what you can control” i.e. control when you get up, control what you eat, control your schedule. Having this stability will help you feel more legitimately in control and productive.
Limit negative social media. This is hard because everywhere you look, the pandemic is there. Instead use social media to stay in touch with friends and family or to focus on positive things that are happening around the world. With COVID-19 comes human innovation and adaptability in the form of apps! There are plenty of apps you can use to stay in touch with friends, talk to them and see which ones they are on and organise a time to catch up. Top mental health tips:

  • Stay connected to everyone important. Have Zoom/skype/phone calls and check in on those around you.
  • Start a creative hobby to fill in the hours when you’re bored.
  • Take time for yourself, especially if you’re living with someone. Assign “me time” so you both have a designated time to do your own thing.
  • Take notes on the good things that are happening for you or in the world.
  • Go for walks and do things for yourself
  • Remember to be kind to yourself. Everything is not normal, so you’re not expected to be
  • Following that, be kind to others. We’re all going through a hard time but especially look out for those who are at risk like the elderly. Ask them how you can help, it would make their day.
  • Ask for help if you need it from loved ones and look out for them too.