Why thinking like an astronaut may just save you

Why thinking like an astronaut may just save you

Or how the experiences of an astronaut may help you get through your period of self-isolation during this time of the coronavirus.

Please note that as this is written and published, there is constant new evidence and information being released about the virus, so please see this as informative at the time of publish but not exhaustive nor fully conclusive. 

As some of you may have already guessed, I am going to talk about Covid-19 in this blog. As many will know, this is a current global virus that is having a lot of people concerned. I understand that for some this may be a difficult subject to talk about, and I welcome your comments and will be happy to explore other ways to support your concerns in future blogs.

The past week I have had time at home with my partner and her son, using some annual leave days to support at home with some home schooling and to also do some other things around the place, as my partner has been working from home. As many will know, we are in a global lockdown, with many of us in self-isolation as a way to flatten the curve of the virus.

What is ‘flattening the curve,’ and how does it work?

According to Specktor (2020), the idea behind flattening the curve is about getting a viral outbreak to a point where the health system is able to manage it more safely and effectively. Imagine two scenarios. Scenario 1, 100 people get infected, but they get infected very quickly over 10 weeks. The threshold of the health system can provide care and recovery, but it does not have enough beds or staff to treat this sudden influx of people, leading to higher mortality rates. Now imagine scenario 2, in which 100 people are infected, but where it is now over a 30 week period. Having a longer period of time to treat these people, whilst the same number, means the hospital will have more beds and facilities available to treat the patients, resulting in a lower mortality rate.

The idea behind flattening the curve with coronavirus is similar, but on a MUCH larger scale (we are looking at millions here). The idea behind having people to self-isolate is to curb the spread of the infection, to help ease the pressure on the health system and to lower the mortality rate associated with the viral outbreak.

Here is a really good video about flattening the curve, and gives a really good example about why flattening the curve when it comes to coronavirus is so important. If I have mentioned it already in previous blogs it is for good reason. The more people know about this the better.

Video by PBS

So how can thinking like an astronaut help me?

I found a brilliant video online (see video below) about the advice that an astronaut gives about self-isolating:

  1. Understand the actual risk. Don’t just be afraid of things. Go to the credible source and find out what is the actual risk which you are facing right now.
  2. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your objectives? What’s your mission for right now? Set some goals. What do you want to get done? Are there things around the house you have been putting off but would like to get done? Do you want to read that book? Do you want to do some more writing? Your goals don’t have to be big. So long as they are relevant and meaningful to you.
  3. Examine your restraints. Who is telling you what you need to do? What are your available resources and obligations? Once you understand your risks, what you want to accomplish and what your restraints are, the next step is to take action.
  4. Take action. Do your project, look after others, things which are meaningful to you. Like I mentioned in point 2, so long as what you are taking action on is relevant and meaningful to you, that is the most important thing.

If you are showing with symptoms of the coronavirus though, please seek medical advice and support from your local health authorities. The general recommendation if you are symptomatic is to place yourself in quarantine until such time as the virus has passed. But please, still follow the guidelines of your local health authority and seek reliable and valid information sources for your forms of information, such as the World Health Organization or your local health care authority.

I would like to finish off on a slightly lighter note, with a funny little video I found about washing your hands and Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician and scientist, now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Whilst the subject of hand hygiene is important, making it fun for children especially, may be a way to help them during this time.

Remember: it’s a journey. It will take time. Have patience in the process. You will get there. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely week wherever you are on the planet.

And remember: love yourself. 

References:

Specktor B. (2020). Coronavirus: What is ‘flattening the curve,’ and will it work?. Available: https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-flatten-the-curve.html. Last accessed 30th March 2020.

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A bit about the author:

I am a guy who is (nearly) 40, who is sharing a journey of weight management and wellbeing.I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. 

Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programmes.

I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. 

In 2018 I successfully undertook a Clinical reasoning in Physical Assessments course, and in 2020 I commenced further training in Prescribing to train toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development. I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing.

In my current role I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual. As part of my role within the health services in supporting individuals with mental health care needs, I am also currently looking to develop myself as a Wellness Coach, to support the individual with weekly wellness blogs, with the view to support individuals on a 1:1 basis as well as holding motivational lectures and seminars.

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