Dr Zoe Williams shares her tips on surviving self-isolation after second bout of Covid

MILLIONS of people across the UK have been in isolation because of Covid. And I’m one of them. Let me tell you, it’s not easy – seven to ten days can feel like a lifetime.

I’ve had Covid twice and the first time I was so unwell I didn’t want to see anyone. All I could focus on was getting better. But if you have mild or no symptoms, a week can feel like a month.

We are far from the end of the pandemic and over New Year many will be isolating because of the new Omicron variant, but there’s lots you can do to ease the symptoms of solitude.

Firstly, be kind to yourself. We’re built to be a social species. Anthropologically, we relied on co-operation to survive and thrive. Everyone is entitled to a bit of moping, so don’t feel bad about it.

Want to stay in your PJs all day? Fine, but after around 48 hours, it’s best for your physical and mental health to start planning. Schedule a bath and if you’ve got some nice bubble bath or bath bombs add them in and listen to some relaxing music while you soak.

Message friends and see who is up for a streaming watch party. You’ll feel less alone if you’re sharing the same experience. Similarly, there are lots of online games, such as Scrabble, you can play with friends.

Try to reframe what you’re going through and find a positive, no matter how small it is. I was gutted when my Covid test result changed our Christmas plans with family, but I realised this might be the only Christmas my baby boy, Lisbon, spends just with us, so we have embraced our new low-key arrangement.

Whether you’re in a top-floor flat or have a house, spend some time sitting next to a window.

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Nature and time outside is proven to help mental health, and you can still enjoy the benefits of natural light through a window.

If you can see some green or a tree, watch it for 20 minutes for a bit of mindfulness.

If you’re not feeling too under the weather, give yourself jobs to do. Sort through your wardrobe and do a bag for charity – doing things to help others is also proven to help your mental wellbeing.

Solo room disco

We live in a fast-paced world where there’s never enough time to catch up properly, so whether it’s a phone call or FaceTime, get in touch with those you’ve been meaning to.

Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids and have lots of fruit and vegetables too. I’m not suggesting for a minute you don’t order that dirty burger on Deliveroo or eat some leftover Christmas chocolates, but balance the treats with foods that will nourish you.

If TV streaming has become your saviour, mix up what you’re watching. Yes, Succession is easy to binge-watch, but there are amazing documentaries about exploration, nature and travel that can be a tonic too.

Make sure you’re sleeping well. Exhaustion is one of the major Covid symptoms so if you feel tired, rest. Sleep in, sleep during the day, sleep late. Your body will tell you when it needs rest, so listen.

Try to make yourself laugh. Put on your favourite cheesy tune and have a solo room disco. Movement boosts mood – as does music, so find those floor-filler tunes of your youth and get boogying.

If you’re feeling well enough, you can try a room workout too. There are plenty of ideas on YouTube and all you need is a bit of space where you can do some stretches or body weight exercises.

Spend some time at peace doing nothing. If you’re not used to slowing down, this will be hard. Use YouTube for a guided meditation or download an app that can help you. Isolation is hard but it’s also a chance to pause and reset a bit.

For many people it’ll be the longest time they’ve ever spent alone but that doesn’t mean you can’t come out of it happy, healthier and with some good new habits.

For many people it’ll be the longest time they’ve ever spent alone but that doesn’t mean you can’t come out of it happy, healthier and with some good new habits.

Spend some time thinking about those who spend every Christmas alone – you might want to reach out to offer support to community groups for loneliness when you’re better.

And if you know someone who is isolating, check in on them. Pop round with some homemade biscuits or a meal you’ve made for them, stand outside their window and have a natter.

The smallest gestures can mean so much when you’ve got four walls as company.

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