5 Tips to Survive Social Isolation From a Former Cancer Patient

By now, most of you either have gone crazy or you’re starting to. Human beings are social creatures by default. Sure, some of us enjoy or alone time, but as a whole, we NEED interaction with other humans. Right now, the physical interaction just isn’t what we can do. It’s not safe. So what do you do to survive this time frame? For some areas, it could be into or even through summer before it’s safe to lift many of the social distancing guidelines. There is a segment of the population that is already somewhat familiar with this practice and it’s one that I know well, cancer patients. When your immune system is wiped out due to treatment, it’s critical to stay healthy and that often times means avoiding social gathers and people. Some take it to different levels than others, much like we’re seeing now. So here are 5 tips that I wanted to pass on that I used when I was going through my treatments:

1.) Technology is your friend! That thing that you’re likely reading this on right now has ENDLESS options to stay in touch with family and friends. Whether it’s Facetime, Houseparty, or just a good old fashioned phone call or text, we’re connected to the entire world. On top of that, the number of apps that are available from calming apps to games is astonishing. If you cannot find things to do on it to pass the time, you’re not looking. I spent countless hours watching YouTube and Facebook videos. We have the technology, so use it.

2.) Pick up a new hobby. You’ve got time on your hands now I bet. Remember that thing you always said you wanted to learn but didn’t have time for? Maybe you want to learn how to play guitar. Or solve a rubix cube. Well, now you can! When I was on “house arrest” and couldn’t really leave or lose my home health from insurance, I picked up learning guitar. It worked my brain and got me doing something. I could easily kill a couple of hours a day with that. I’ve still yet to solve a rubix cube but I haven’t hit that level of boredom yet!!

3.) Husbands…. I’m sorry but we don’t have any more excuses to push out that honey do list. (unless it’s not safe to go get the materials needed that is!) My wife has currently planned a bedroom makeover so we’ll be coming out of this with a whole new looking bedroom I guess. Take this time to do things like deep clean your dishwasher, stove, washing machine, etc. Organize your garage or storage shed. Get your mind active.

4.) Go outside. You’d be amazed at what some sunlight can do for you. Whether you go for a walk in your neighborhood, play fetch with your day, walk your cat (yes it’s a real thing!), or just sit outside and read a book, you need to do it.

5.) Keep reminding yourself that this will end. By following the guidelines set forth, there will be a time when they’re gone. When we can go to the bars/restaurants, get our hair cut, and just go to the grocery store like normal. It’s temporary. In fact, the only thing in life that is permanent is death. (and I would contend that that isn’t either but that’s a post for another day)

We’re all in this together. “Lean” (not physically of course) on each other. Use the tools and things that we all already have to get through it. Oh… and if you’re thinking there’s no way you can do this, I made it through a week in traction without losing too much of my sanity. Here’s a picture of what my view was. I had a range of movement of about an inch or two during that time period…

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