Caroline, a psychiatrist and associate professor, has just exited two weeks of Managed Isolation Quarantine (MIQ) with her husband, having been to Australia to see her daughter.
“We didn’t go into it thinking we have to tick off the five ways, but everything we did to cope naturally fell under those headings: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give. We found that giving could be as simple as saying thank you to the staff – all of whom were brilliant.”
Caroline says keeping a schedule – getting up at a regular time, going to bed at the same time each day, keeping weekends for weekends – and creating a structure in the confined space of the hotel room helped keep things in perspective.
“We were in a room with two beds, so we kept one bed for watching TV and playing games and one for sleeping. I vowed not to do any work on the bed, so set myself up on the only desk in the room at 9am, and put everything away at 5pm.
“It sounds simple but keeping to natural rhythms of sleeping, eating and exercise at the same time soothes the body.”
Caroline says the first nine days or so were okay, but the banality really kicked in for the last four or five days.
“It’s just so dull. You need to go in prepared, have work to do or something that you think ‘I could try that’ and work on it. We discovered board games which was great for connecting with each other and getting away from screens and technology. I think it would be a very different experience on your own or with small children.
“I think mindset is important though – if you go in angry you’re going to come out angry. In the end, we all choose to go through this – it’s not thrust unexpectedly upon us – so we can make sure we’re prepared.”