Self-isolation tips for Lattitude volunteers

Posted on the 22nd March 2020

Dear valued Lattitude volunteers. Our staff have been working around the clock to ensure your safety and well-being. Due to COVID-19, it’s likely that those of you that have returned home are now under government advised mandatory self-isolation. Others that have remained at their Lattitude placements due to flight cancellations or other circumstances should be practising physical distancing.

It’s not nearly as fun as being out in the world and getting stuck into things on your Lattitude placement, we know. But it’s important that we all do our part to keep ourselves, our families, our friends, colleagues and the wider community safe, so please take it seriously!

Listen to official advice

First of all, it is incredibly important at this time that you are following the guidelines provided by local health officials as to how to self-isolate or practice physical distancing properly, and what the difference is between the two. Doing this correctly will decrease the risk of spreading infection further and protect you, the members of your family and the wider community. Please consult information and observe all guidelines outlined by health and government officials in your home country, ie:

UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people

New Zealand: https://covid19.govt.nz

Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/self-monitoring-self-isolation-isolation-for-covid-19.html

Australia: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-isolation-guidance

Germany: https://www.zusammengegencorona.de/

It is critical to follow the advice of your local government and health ministry – for the health and safety of yourself and those around you. Remind others around you of the importance of playing their part too:

 

Isolation Tips:

This different way of interacting with others and the world around you will be difficult. But remember that keeping your distance physically from others does not mean you can’t connect in meaningful ways. Use this time at home to reflect, to document, and understand your experience.

Social Media:

Social media is an awesome way to stay in touch and up to date with what is going on, but it is really important to find a healthy balance that works for you. Too much time spent online, especially with the current overload of COVID-19 related information floating around, can be overwhelming and can have a negative effect on your mental health.

You may find that practising a short period of social media distancing will help you stay away from those negative ideas and feelings. Or if you don’t want to cut yourself off of social media, consider limiting your exposure time and read updates and summaries from one reliable source rather than a constant bombardment from all sides.

There’s a ton of info being shared that might not be from official sources. If you are going online to find advice or clarification about COVID-19, be mindful of the source! If it isn’t from an official government or health authority, it’s best to ignore it.

At the same time, social media can offer a great form of entertainment – lots of artists are streaming live performances on Instagram, there are heaps of fun dances and isolation challenges to learn on TikTok, you can keep in touch by FaceTiming and Snap Chatting your friends. During this challenging time, there are a lot of positive things happening on social media that’s worth tuning in for. It’s really about finding a healthy balance and keeping your social media feeds kind, soul-feeding, and positive.

Our Lattitude Facebook groups are a great place to share your own self-isolation strategies too! If you’ve devised a brilliant project you’d like to share, we’d all love to hear about it.

Making plans for the future:

Make a bucket list of things you can look forward to and work towards. Even though there is a lot of unknowns, we can still set goals. Take time to reflect: What have you accomplished in the last year? What goals are you setting for yourself in the next year?

Know that Lattitude is doing everything in our power to keep our programmes running and viable for the future, and although much of our programming is postponed currently, we are optimistic that we will be able to return to our normal operations in time.

Write a blog:

You may have only been away from home for a short time, but you would have experienced some pretty amazing things! These experiences will have impacted your life in a very real way, and are absolutely worth documenting. Get creative and write about your time abroad. The world needs some more positivity at the moment, so share your experience, whether it’s through your social media accounts or by sharing your writing with Lattitude and we will post it to our website.

We are working on strategies to ensure that Lattitude comes back stronger than ever. However, we need your support, so if enjoyed your time away with us and appreciated our service, we would be enormously grateful if you would consider writing about your experience so that we can share with others.

Remind yourself of the good things –  the new friends you made, the new skills you picked up, the interactions you had that impacted you, the places you got to see that wowed you, the unexpected things that changed you.

If you are keen to do this, we have created a Q and A form that you can complete, and we will be in touch once you’ve completed it so you can share it with friends and family.

Revisit the photos you’ve taken during your time away:

Make a photo album from your time away. We love seeing photos of our volunteers at their placements, during travels, with hosts and fellow volunteers! Creating a photo album, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, a blog, or more traditional form like a scrap-book, can keep you busy, and help you to reflect on what an amazing time you had! If you are keen to participate in writing a blog post for us, you’ll be prompted to attached photos to accompany your writing at the link above.

If you are posting photos on Instagram, please consider tagging #LattitudeVolunteering to help share the good word during these lean times for us as an organisation. As always, we would appreciate this A LOT!

Practice good healthy habits and hygiene:

You’ve heard it 1000 times, but it is vital that you keep practising good hygiene. Wash your hands, wipe down surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes, use separate cutlery and plates. If you have the facilities to use your own bathroom, do so! Otherwise, make sure you are thoroughly cleaning all surfaces you come in contact with. Keep your toothbrush and toothpaste separate from others who you live with.

Equally as important, you need to look after yourself! Keeping a healthy routine – get a healthy amount of sleep, eat good food and at normal meal times, and get some exercise.

Mindfulness practises like meditation and yoga can really help to get you through hard times. Apps like Waking Up and Headspace offer a really accessible way to get started.

Maintaining regular hours is really important. Late-night Netflix binges do not result in normal, high-functioning humans, so stick to a regular wake up and bedtime. (You can always start the next season tomorrow!)

Learn something new:

You have a prime opportunity to brush up on some new skills – learn a new language, dust off that neglected musical instrument (without driving your neighbours insane!), or enrol on an online course. There are plenty of free, online courses out there available. All those projects you’ve never had time to do beforehand: now is your golden opportunity.

Spend some time watching documentaries/reading books about the country that you have been volunteering in. This will help you stay connected and learn more about the culture and history you’ve encountered first-hand while on your placement.

Write a letter:

When was the last time you actually wrote a letter with pen and paper? Write to a friend, a family member, someone you met during your placement! Your host family or placement mentor would love to hear from you, and it’s such a special feeling to receive a letter unexpectedly!

Alternatively, write a letter to your future self, think of it like a time-capsule! Write down your current goals and hopes for your future, detail some lessons you’ve learnt this year, and what you hope your future self has achieved!

Or keep a journal:

Think about what you are grateful for – do this by keeping a journal, writing down some things you are grateful for, draw (even if you aren’t very good!). Remind yourself of the good things – cuddles with your cat, your friends, the volunteers you met, the interactions you had that impacted you, the places you got to see that wowed you, the unexpected things that changed you.

Help the planet:

Do some gardening, and if you’ve got a few packets of seeds hidden away in a drawer somewhere, plant some food or flowers. Get in touch with nature and put those green fingers to use. Being responsible for something other than yourself is a good way to feel less alone!

Healthy Self Isolation In 10 Easy Steps!

Swipe left/right for more information

1 Session of exercise (this could range from a yoga session to a HIIT workout)
2 hours of no technology before bed (read a book instead- you’ll fall asleep much more quickly!)
3 healthy meals and 3 healthy snacks (try and avoid too many processed foods)
4 breaks for stretching (especially if you’re sitting down a lot)
5 serves of fruit and veggies (eat your fruit and juice your veggies)
6 minutes of meditation (there are plenty of apps available)
7 glasses of water (but go easy on the toilet paper! )
8 hours of sleep (Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time ever day)
9 thousand steps (Even if you’re walking on the spot whilst you’re watching a movie)
10 minutes of mindfulness (Write down three things you are grateful for at the end of each day)

 

Having a CAN DO attitude! Recognise what you can do, make the most of your situation and try to put a positive spin on things. And remember: Sometimes you don’t have control over the things happening around you, but you DO have control over your reaction – ALWAYS. 

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