If you haven’t been thrust into isolation yet, lucky you! The chances are, though, that all families will get their turn at spending seven days at home, restricted from so much as a solo walk in the park.
The current laws for NSW state that “If you live with someone who has COVID-19 then you must follow the NSW Health Self Isolation Guidelines and self-isolate for 7 days. You must also follow the NSW Health Self-Isolation Guidelines for 7 days if you have been notified to do this by NSW Health.”
The Self Isolation Guidelines referred to specify that you can’t :
- go to work or school
- visit any public places (for example, shops, parks, beaches)
- use public transport
- have any visitors in your home, unless they are providing healthcare, emergency maintenance or emergency services.
And you are only allowed to leave self-isolation to:
- get a COVID-19 test
- seek urgent medical care
- avoid an emergency situation (including to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm from domestic violence).
These restrictions are stricter than the lockdowns a lot of us got used to last year, and a little bit harder to swallow. Things that got us through lockdown like family bushwalks, bike rides and exercise with a friend are all prohibited during isolation.
Fresh off the back of an iso stint, here are some of the things that got my family through, that may make your time in isolation bearable.
Have a first-day pity party
If you can get away with not working for that first day in isolation, do so. It’s likely that being thrust into isolation messed up a plan, or two, or three that you had lined up. For some it was Christmas, for others it was holidays, the first day of school, weddings etc. Whatever isolation spoils for you, you’re entitled to feel a little (or a lot) bummed about it, at least for a day. So I say spend the day in your PJs, eat the junk food (we ordered McDonalds delivered for breakfast) and let the screen time roll on as everyone in the family comes to terms with what they’ll be missing out on over the next week.
Find the silver linings
Finding the silver linings in any situation is a real strength. And there are plenty to be found in isolation. More time with your family, zero commuting, not having to get dressed (buh-bye bra), not having to rush to be anywhere, having more time to organise your cupboards… Find the things that make the week feel like a win for you and focus on enjoying those. And remember that, unlike lockdown, isolation doesn’t last for months!
Celebrate the everyday
During lockdown, our family spent a week celebrating the wacky holidays that you don’t often hear about. You’ll be blown away by some of the things that have a full day of celebration dedicated to them every year, and they are a fun source of inspiration for different activities you can do at home. For example, if you were to go into isolation the last week of February, you could use the following holidays to inspire your activities:
|International World Thinking Day
|Try some critical thinking games or empathy activities
|Play tennis in the backyard if you have room, balloon tennis inside, or an online tennis game
|Tortilla Chip Day
|Make your own tortilla chips, and enjoy eating them!
|Give the novelties a rest today.
Tell a Fairy Tale Day
Open That Bottle Night – last Saturday of month
|Bake some cranberry and pistachio biscottis or brittle
Read a fairytale at bedtime or turn one into a play.
Open a bottle of whatever you like and celebrate that it’s Saturday night!
|Polar Bear Day
|Try some polar bear crafts, learn about polar bears, or watch Norm of the North
|Floral Design Day
|Create art from flowers in your garden
Ease kids into chili with this mild Chili Con Carne recipe you can make together
Isolation feels different to lockdown because there’s no sense that everyone else is in the same boat. The good news though is that this means friends, family and neighbours are more available to grab something while they are at the shops if you need it. People love to help so don’t be afraid to reach out if you need something.
If you have concerns about your physical health, contact a trusted GP or the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.
If the support you need is more mental than practical or physical, lean on your loved ones, consult resources on sane.org.au or call SANE Helpine on 1800 18 72 63.
For kids who are missing their friends, see if you can arrange a video call for them to chat or game together.
Embrace at-home exercise
It’s important for your mental and physical health to try and exercise during your isolation. Even if you live in a unit, there a plenty of ways you can fit some fitness in. Different kinds of workouts you can do at home include: HIIT, walking, aerobics, yoga, pilates, dance cardio, and bodyweight. You don’t need to look any further than Youtube to find videos you can cast to your TV. There are workouts for mums to do with their babies and workouts for kids themed around everything from Paw Patrol to Minecraft. Even a 10-minute workout each day will be worth it for the mood boost.
Beyond workouts, there are plenty of physical indoor activities you can do with the kids to keep them active and engaged. Check out our list of energy burners within our Play With a Purpose Guide, and if you’re still looking for more ideas read 87 Energy Busting Indoor Games and Activities.
Take time out
It’s easy to feel like you’re living on top of each other when you’re in isolation. Especially when you are inside with an entire family, it’s likely there will be times when you get on each other’s nerves. If you have the space, let the kids create a “quiet corner” or a cubby, where they can go when they want some time alone. Alternatively, call a time out every day where each member of the family must spend time on their own. If not everyone has their own room to go to, then this might look like your kids reading or playing quietly with toys or devices on their own beds. After a short time and a bit of breathing space, you can come back together feeling a little more refreshed.
It’s important to note that if another member of your household tests positive while you are in isolation, you do not have to restart your isolation period, so unless you have tested positive on the sixth day or are showing symptoms, you can leave isolation after seven days. It will be over before you know it!
Has your family spent a stint in isolation yet? Share with us what you did to get through it on our Mums of the Shire Community Facebook Group.