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The three phases of self-isolation

Written by Life & Style, Lifestyle

According to Marcin Krol, professor of Philosophy and History of Idea at the University of Warsaw,  self-isolation can be split into three distinct phases. As we watch the world unravel, it’s clear to see that Krol’s claims are playing out in many of the worst affected countries, but what does this mean for the UK?

Phase One: “It’ll be over soon enough, it’s no big deal”

Entering phase one we feel gobsmacked; too shocked to predict the consequences on our wellbeing, financial situation and productivity. We listen to Boris Johnson, we go to the supermarket to buy enough food for two years, and buy sufficient amounts of loo roll to cover the needs of the entire country of Bahrain each!

Later, we send each other memes and tag posts with #quarantine. We also get bombarded with discounts for Uber Eats and home workout videos, as well as tips on how to stay sane and productive during self-isolation. We have so many plans on what to do with all our spare time and dream that this nightmare will end soon.

This phase usually lasts for the first two weeks. After this period, people start to experience discomfort with not being able to move from their home or meeting a relative face to face. In other words, we start to feel bored and lonely.

Phase Two: “I feel bored… and lonely”

Phase two can be described simply as a major decline in our wellbeing and, as already mentioned, discomfort due to the ongoing uncertainty

Phase two is what (according to the experts and my humble observations) we are entering now. It can be described simply as a major decline in our wellbeing and, as already mentioned, discomfort due to the ongoing uncertainty. What are the symptoms?

Most of us start to get too lazy; feeling a lack of structure and purpose in life, and are not bothered by the fact that they haven’t taken a shower in three days. This is the time when we get back to the online groups we joined at the beginning. We start to set goals and promise ourselves to be more productive because we hear that we might be stuck like this much longer than we had anticipated.

It is impossible to predict how long this phase is going to last but the longer we are in lockdown the quicker it will turn into phase three.

RELATED: Looking after our mental health during self-isolation: an uphill, yet important, battle

Phase Three: “I’ve had enough of this!”

Phase three is something I’d prefer not to touch on, but what we need to bear in mind is that whilst as human beings we are used to living in groups, we are NOT accustomed mentally to living under the current circumstances of having no freedom to leave. Therefore, the reactions of people are unknown and hard to predict.

In Italy, the country which has been in lockdown for the longest in Europe, people are already planning online to rob supermarkets

In Italy, the country which has been in lockdown for the longest in Europe, people are already planning online to rob supermarkets. They are frustrated and many of them might lose their jobs if this has not happened already. Others will get depressed or go back to their unhealthy coping mechanisms because self-isolation is a major trigger in both mental health illness and recovery. It is impossible to predict what society will go through because we haven’t gone through something quite like it in any of our lifetimes.

Hopefully, the unrest in Italy won’t become our reality too.

For now, what we have to do is to take care of ourselves and others. There is no other way to get through this time than accepting it and moving on with your life as much as possible. Stay connected and practice mental, emotional, physical and spiritual self-care. And remember we are all in the same boat!

If you’re looking for a fun pick-me-up in the midst of all the madness, make sure to check out the link below:

Last modified: 3rd April 2020

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