Things no one tells you about self-isolation during COVID-19

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COVID-19 is just the flu, right? When I read the verdict that I was positive, my only concern was for the safety of my family. I would be fine (why wouldn’t I?) as I had age on my side. Well, that and my fairly decent immunity. But just two days later, I felt like my world was ending. I was sobbing on the floor, convinced that my cells were oxygen-starved, all while wondering who would read my eulogy.

As I look back now, it’s easy to see that I was unhinged. Did the virus do it? Was it the medicines that sent me spiraling? Or maybe, it was the quiet fear of the unknown that pushed me over the precipice.

I’m here to tell you that COVID-19 IS different. It is not just another viral disease, because it breaks us away from our family. It’s not just the flu, because it has 20+ symptoms that affect people in different ways. And being alone for so long with your thoughts – plus the unpredictability of the disease – can make you anxious, troubled and paranoid.

Yes, a COVID-19 diagnosis can shake your very being. But the good news? A little awareness does wonders to control your emotions and help you stay afloat during this time. Here are some helpful reminders to better navigate your self-isolation journey:


Listen to your body, don’t try to fight the symptoms.

If you’re someone who’s always active with every minute planned to the T, COVID-19 can come as a hard slap in the face. On day 1, I knew something was very wrong when the fever and body pain crippled me to my bed. The first few days are the hardest – they drain you of all energy, and include uncomfortable symptoms like muscle pain, nausea, confusion and exhaustion.

Don’t try to distract yourself with activities; this is precisely when you need to pause and let go. Your body is fighting a rapacious virus. All you need to do is support it in its mission by drinking plenty of fluids, monitoring your symptoms and getting ample rest.


The simplest tasks seem impossible. Don’t do them all, just pick one.

The self-isolating days aren’t exactly restful. You have to constantly monitor your fever and oxygen levels, clean your bed, wash your utensils and take your medicines. If this list isn’t daunting enough, add in the little tasks like refilling the aqua guard (no one can do it for you) and assembling a new steam inhaler that comes without an instruction manual.

When the tiredness and frustration build, remind yourself that it’s okay to stop for a while. Don’t try to tick off all 5 things on your to-do list – just do the one that’s the easiest. And take regular breaks every 3-4 hours.


Conversations become overwhelming. Connect with those who matter.

Today, everyone knows someone who’s had COVID-19. We want to know their stories and their experiences to be prepared if it happens to us. But if YOU have just received news of being COVID-positive, share it with only the few who matter: your immediate family, the doctor, and a couple of friends. The more people you tell, the more concerned questions you’ll get, as well as unsolicited advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

Most people mean well, but their incessant check-ins can be upsetting, tiring and triggering. Do yourself a favor and save the COVID news for after your recovery. You should also be honest with close friends and family when you need space and me-time during this period.


The internet can make you spiral. Resist the urge to Google.

One of the biggest differences between today’s pandemic and the one from 1918 is the vast information at our disposal – we can look up our symptoms, treatments, local helplines, and prepare for emergencies, all at the click of a button. But this also opens us up to a world of negativity and misinformation, which is easy to succumb to during self-isolation.

Resist the urge to read excessively about your condition and its worst-case scenarios. This could fuel your body with panic, when it needs to focus on bigger things like your healing and recovery!


The world can wait. Use this time to rest and rejuvenate.

COVID-19 brings with it many tests and trials, and it takes a while to recover from its physical, mental and emotional scars. But this temporary setback may not necessarily be a bad thing. Maybe you needed some time off from your demanding job, from difficult colleagues, toxic relationships or simply from the daily grind of everyday life.

Use this time to reflect on what really matters; prioritize your life and set new goals for your health and long-term wellbeing. Is there a hobby you’ve been meaning to pick up? Is there an old friend you want to re-connect with? Your time is now. Use it well.