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Leveraging Elements of Control, Connection and Distraction during Ongoing Isolation

Updated: May 26, 2020

The majority of us are facing long periods of lockdowns and shelter in place orders. This abrupt shift to a new normal takes a toll on all of us with its initial challenges, yet it continues to shift and evolve as we begin to experience coping fatigue with no clear end in sight. Astronauts and scientists in isolated research stations, alone or with their small teams, provided examples of what worked for them during their extended period of time away from their routines, family and loved ones.

What Works:

Within this time of uncertainty and isolation from others, we can focus on elements within our control, finding ways to remain connected to others and engaging in activities that can serve as distraction. Scientists identified the following elements which they utilized during their periods of isolation.

Elements to Exhibit Control:

  • Set a schedule for your day

  • Focus on ‘the mission’

  • Care for something besides yourself

  • Focus on one or two days at a time

  • Find the good

  • Recognize what is actually within your control

Maintaining Connections:

  • Utilize technology available for communicating with loved ones

  • Practice tolerance, empathizing with others’ struggles during this time

  • Acknowledge that we are all in this together

Distraction Activities:

  • Find a hobby

  • Exercise, engage in movement, spend time outside (as appropriate)

  • Read

What to Avoid?

While this list can provide assistance with coping fatigue, it is imperative that this list does not become a source of stress or anxiety. There is a fine line between providing suggestions for coping and eliciting shame responses for those who cannot participate due to a myriad of reasons.

Who would this be most useful to?

Public health experts and Influencers and leaders


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