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How to physically and psychologically adapt to self-isolation: life hacks of astronauts

What do people who have to completely abandon their usual lives do Lifehacker.

Photo: Shutterstock

Most likely, you now feel stressed and lonely. Now imagine that you live in a small enclosed space 400 kilometers above the Earth for six months.

Astronauts cannot walk around the house, go to the supermarket once a week or order food delivery from their favorite restaurant. And yet, depending on the mission, they have to share this small space with five people. And at the same time carry out their duties, scheduled in minutes, and constantly be monitored.

To cope with the stress that is inevitable in such conditions, astronauts have special strategies.

Marshal Porterfield, who headed the NASA Space and Physical Activities Department for five years, told which ones would be useful to people living in self-isolation.

1. Make a daily routine

Crew members live on a strict schedule. The astronauts day is divided into intervals of 5 minutes, for example: maintenance, experiments, training, communication with the Earth. This helps to maintain a sense of normality and streamlines life.

“If you work from home, it's important to keep your usual routine,” says Porterfield.

Try to adhere to the usual schedule, allocating time for the same as usual, for example, talking with family, hobbies, playing sports.

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2. Add physical activity

The astronauts play sports for up to 2 hours daily. This is necessary, because in conditions of weightlessness, muscle mass and bone density are reduced. But physical activity has an added bonus: it reduces the risk of depression.

If you haven’t practiced sports regularly before, now is the time to start. Try yoga, weight training, cardio. Find what you like and do it several times a week.

3. Call and chat

The astronauts aboard the ISS are thousands of kilometers from their loved ones and, in order to keep in touch, call and write to them. Take an example from them and be sure to communicate with family and friends.

“If you know that someone lives alone, call or write to let us know what you think about him,” Porterfield advises. “Such communication is very powerful.”

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4. Remind yourself of your purpose

It helps hold on. The astronauts know: their work contributes to the common good, their work allows humanity to explore space.

Those who are sitting at home now have a completely different goal, but no less important. Maintaining social distance helps to slow the spread of coronavirus and avoid unnecessary burdens on hospitals.

Self-isolation reduces the risk that your loved ones get sick. And if one of them nevertheless becomes infected, then he is more likely to receive help.

“We have a mission. We're trying to straighten the virus distribution curve, ”Porterfield recalls. “We are all connected by this common cause.”

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