When I commune in such terms with myself and with future generations, do you not think that I am doing more good than when I appear as counsel in court, or stamp my seal upon a will, or lend my assistance in the senate, by word or action, to a candidate? Believe me, those who seem to be busied with nothing are busied with the greater tasks; they are dealing at the same time with things mortal and things immortal. Seneca, Moral Letters 8.6
For several years I worked as a freelance resume writer as a side hustle. This was in addition to having a regular 9-5 job. In order to provide better service I did research on freelance work in general. Through this I discovered the term freelancer isolation.
Freelancer isolation is a sense of loneliness that can affect mental health and well being . Freelancers work independently but do not have the interaction and social aspect of a regular office job. As we are social creatures that rely on the interaction of others, this can have a negative effect.
One of the things that has dramatically transformed the workplace with Covid-19 is the increase in working remotely. To help with isolation and distancing to stop the spread of Coronavirus many companies have had employees work from home.
Interaction and collaboration can take place over phone and video conferences but there is an element that is missing. Personal interaction is is not there and a sense of isolation can creep in over time.
Added to this are self-isolation measures for health reasons. During a pandemic, people are forced to self-isolate to curb the spread of the disease and prevent new infections. It is a critical aspect in minimizing the spread of the disease.
Self-isolation protects yourself and others but again can take a toll on the mental health of the individual. Knowing how to respond is essential. Therefore, you need to develop the right attitude and response xes when self-isolating. There are different ways to go about this.
Be Smart About Contact With Others
Self-isolation limits contact with other people. When communities start to open up there seems to be a latent effect of an increase in Covid cases. People simply are not taking the proper precautions. It may be that people have been confined for so long the chance to get out takes over. People get the chance to go shopping or hit the beach may not think clearly.
It is necessary to take appropriate actions and use reasoned choices with potential contact of others. Do not go out unless necessary, and even then, make sure you take precautions to protect yourself and to protect other people.
To consort with the crowd is harmful; there is no person who does not make some vice attractive to us, or stamp it upon us, or taint us unconsciously therewith. Certainly, the greater the mob with which we mingle, the greater the danger. Seneca Moral Letters 7.2
It is necessary to continually monitor yourself for the signs and symptoms of the disease. But it is almost just as important to check in with your mental health. Increased isolation has had a direct affect on elevated cases of depression and anxiety.
The Stoic exercises of morning and evening reflection help with this. Morning reflection involves looking forward to your day ahead. Consider what you have to do this day and what challenges mat be faced. Looking at this helps to know how to plan and act to make the day better.
Evening reflection involves looking back on your day without judgement on what happened. It allows you to review your actions and feelings through the day. Reflect on challenges you faced and how the day could have better. It also helps with facing the next day with a new outlook.
Every day those sacred doctrines of yours, whichever of them you imagine and admit without scientific investigation, will be obliterated, whereas you should look at every object and do every act so that, at one and the same time, circumstance is accomplished and theory exercised, and the confidence which comes from a scientific knowledge of each experience is preserved, unnoticed, not concealed. For when will you take your indulgence in simplicity, when in dignity, when in the knowledge of what each object is in essence, what station it holds in the world, how long it naturally persists, of what it is compounded, to whom it can belong, who can give it and who take it away? Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 10.9
Think Of Vulnerable Populations
Whatever you do during self-isolation, always think of vulnerable individuals around you. There are many elderly people who are not able to get out for their own needs. There are also those with chronic and pre-existing conditions like diabetes or a disability that limit their activities.
There have been stories of neighbors and community members helping others. Maybe it can be mowing someone’s lawn or picking up groceries. It is about helping others that you are able to help.
Things like social distancing need to be considered to maintain your own health. But the feeling of helping others can help with your own mental well-being as well as a sense of accomplishing something for your community.
All that befalls the individual is to the advantage of the Whole. This should be enough. However, if you watch carefully, you will generally see this besides: what advantages a man also advantages the rest of men; but here advantage must be taken in its more usual acceptance of what lies in between good and evil. Meditations, Marcus Aurelius 6.45
Filter The News
Make it a habit to always stay informed. However limit the information and filter what you take in. The more you know about the outbreak, the better you will be equipped to adapt to it. Ensure that your sources are reliable as lousy information is worse than no information.
In doing this you need to be aware of taking in too much information. Since this pandemic has been historic there have been stories on everything related to it. This includes not only people suffering from the disease but those who have been affected by economic reasons.
So much negative information has been coming out of this pandemic that can affect people emotionally. Being bombarded with bad news can take its toll. Be informed but measure your intake of information.
Whenever some disturbing news is reported to you, you ought to have ready at hand the following principle: News, on any subject, never falls within the sphere of the moral purpose. Can anyone bring you word that you have been wrong in an assumption or in a desire?—By no means.—But he can bring you word that someone is dead. Very well, what is that to you? That someone is speaking ill of you. Very well, what is that to you? That your father is making certain preparations. Against whom? Surely not against your moral purpose, is it? Why, how can he? But against your paltry body, against your paltry possessions; you are safe, it is not against you. Epictetus, Discourses3.18.1-3
Use Time Wisely
When self-isolating, it is always tempting to be lazy sitting on the couch in front of the TV or mindlessly searching the internet. But people are given something when facing isolation that can be underestimated. It is time.
Think about it. If you are a parent you are not being pulled in different directions for kids activities, shopping and errands. If you are single you are not being dragged by friends to spend time at the bar whether you want to or not.
People have time on their hands and may not know what to do with it. Improve professional skills through online learning. Take up activities that bring self-improvement. Whatever you do be mindful of the present. Doing this helps you to recognize the value timehas to offer and how to best mange it.
You have seen those things, look now at these: do not trouble yourself, make yourself simple. Does a man do wrong? He does wrong to himself. Has some chance befallen you? It is well; from Universal Nature, from the beginning, all that befalls was determined for you and the thread was spun. The sum of the matter is this: life is short; the present must be turned to profit with reasonableness and right. Be sober without effort. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 4.26