As Covid-19 became a worldwide pandemic, and governments were putting their countries into lockdown, I was in bed with a cold. I am not very good at sitting still and knew being in self isolation would eventually be hard. So I launched a Self Isolation Help Group on Facebook. My aim was to share tips to help Isolators maintain their mental health. The page started with the Self Isolation Plan (SIP) and encouraged members to develop a routine before the potential onset of panic or claustrophobia set in. But with over 1000 members in two weeks, the group is ever-evolving, you will now find everything from easy cook recipes, to digital concerts online. Members have found the gardening posts and posts illustrating flowers and animals particular good, but nothing beats, the 300 plus jokes (started by Humayun, a founding member) that we have on the group to keep everyone smiling at least once or twice a day. Being known as the “smiling Councillor” this is a big plus for me as I created a platform for people to smile with me during this hard time. I am grateful to Humayun for starting this trend, I would never have thought of it, but as they say, laughter is the best medicine!
I never expected to touch people in the way that this group as. Frank, lost his wife in November and is finding being at home and vulnerable difficult because he was used to the company of his beloved, they were married for 33 years. Like many of us, he is not used to being in lockdown. Frank is our number one sharer and has accrued up over 640 likes in less than two weeks, Frank has found the page an excellent way to keep busy whilst connecting with people and he really loves being able to help people.
Penny started sharing mindfulness information from her business Breathe Your Way to Calmness she said the group gave her impetus to write from both adults and children. Manjit is also sharing weekly reflections which I personally am finding incredibly calming.
Bev, Oldleg and Charlotte are our resident artists. Their posts inspired us to raise money for charity by selling the Self Isolation Art. Charlotte has already started her own page
Here is Charlotte’s Message
“Isolation is tough. That’s why I’m posting line arts for you to print and colour at home. Premium lines will require a donation, but all the money donated here will go to the NHS Charities Together’s urgent appeal. You can find more information about NHS Charities together, here: www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk”
There is so much on our group is hard to cover everything, but here are some things people have said about the group on our pages.
Last but not least, as the group are so activity and has grown quicker than I had anticipated; Rathi Pragasam, David Giles, Andrea Lui and Mara Bechkwin now also administer the group. We all make sure that posts meet our group rules and guidelines. It is tougher than you think, as people have different tolerances to humour, what they find offensive etc. I am really grateful to them for their help and brilliant advice.