Tom Corby’s advice on self isolation — especially for those with compromised immunity

by Tom Corby, Associate Dean Research, CSM

7 years ago I had a stem cell transplant. I was isolated for 9 months. The following is what I learnt about staying well and sane: All the below are connected and overlap:

Firstly (and this is difficult) you need to adjust to and accept your new reality. Don’t fight it, live in the moment on a day by day basis.

Keep clean, continue to regularly wash hands even at home. Have a stringent hygiene routine. Have a shower every morning, keep good oral health as there is a weird connection between mouth infections and your immune system.

Go to work at home. Have a daily routine that you follow. It doesn’t literally have to be ‘work’, but keep a daily schedule of things that you do at the same time every day. I realise this might be difficult for some if there is no quiet space at home, routine is important.

Change your jim-jams in the morning. This sounds silly but when you are staying at home it’s tempting to slob around in the same clothes you slept in. Don’t, it’s unhygienic and bad for your self esteem.

Keep fit. If you are fortunate enough to have a house with a corridor use that to walk up and down or use your stairs. You can also get small pedal exercise machines off amazon for around 20 quid that sit under a chair. Stretch etc. Build this into your daily routine.

In family situations be mindful that everyone is going a bit nuts. Learn to forgive quickly and don’t nurse grudges.

Keep connections to friends and family. Share your feelings and experiences, let people know how you are you.

Eat as healthy a diet as you possibly can. Take supplements: extra vitamin B and D.

Have a go bag ready if you need to go to hospital, a weeks worth of clean clothes, book or kindle, a travel kit of toothpaste, soap (yes really), deodorant, and a phone charger.

If you have a hobby it helps, if you haven’t this might be the time to develop one…

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