If you’re going to ask anybody for advice on how to self-isolate, it surely has to be an astronaut.
Col. Chris Hadfield, a former Canadian NASA astronaut and author of An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth—who you might also know from one of the coolest Youtube videos ever, Space Oddity—offered up some timely advice to his Youtube viewers this weekend regarding self-isolation.
Having spent 166 days in space himself, travelling around the Earth 2,660 times, and commanding the International Space Station, it’s fair to assume that Chris is a man who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to spending time alone and not being able to go outside.
Chris Hadfield begins the short two-minute video by saying, ”I’ve spent a little time self-isolating onboard a spaceship” before quickly asking his viewers how they’re doing. His voice is soft and smooth, allaying fears and worries simply by sounding like reason incarnate.
Step one, he says, is to know the risks involved. ”Don’t just be afraid of things, go to a credible source and find out what is truly the risk that you’re facing right now”. This is important for you, your family, your friends and everyone else that you care about because without knowledge of the risks involved, you won’t know what to expect.
Step two is to know your goals. He asks, ”what are you trying to accomplish, what are your objectives?” and continues with making these goals known for today, tomorrow, this week, this month. It’s not good enough to just think of them.
Step three is to know your constraints. Is there a government out there telling you you cannot go outside?
And finally, step four is to ‘‘take action and start doing things… they don’t have to be the things that you always did before … [this] is a chance to do something different.” Chris Hadfield suggests starting a new project, taking up the guitar, studying a language or writing as possible avenues to explore while you’re in self-isolation.
Aside from his call to people to continue looking after themselves, and getting checked out by a physician if you’re showing symptoms of Covid-19, he reminds us towards the end of the video that there hasn’t been a better time in history to self-isolate. He says, ”so many people have access to the internet, that you have the entire written work of everything, all the body of knowledge, right there at your fingertips.”
And, as he says at the end, ”take care of yourself, take care of your family, take care of your friends, take care of your spaceship.”
If you’ve been feeling a little down these past few days, have a watch of Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide To Optimism 2020 or listen to his TED Talk What I Learned From Going Blind In Space, where he lets the audience in on a common astronaut saying: ”there is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.”
That’s some very good advice worth remembering, coronavirus or not.