Pingdemic angst: How to stay sane if you’re pinged but not poorly

Woman being pinged
14:00pm, Mon 19 Jul 2021
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If there’s one thing this pandemic didn’t need, it’s another word for self-isolating. ‘Pinged’ is now the in-vogue term for staying at home and not seeing anyone, as hundreds of thousands of people across the country return once again to their living rooms, after receiving notifications from the NHS app.

Here’s how to stay sane if you’re entirely symptomless, but back inside your four walls. Again…

Don’t feel you have watch or read the news

Doomscrolling through the news cycle has been something of a trend of late, and pinged people still have plenty to obsess over. So, whether you’re watching in horror as the nation’s nightclubs fill to capacity, or rather wishing you could join them, there’s no need to torment yourself. You need a very basic level of Covid awareness for when you re-emerge – nothing more.

Keep your routine

Any psychologist, however armchair, will tell you that maintaining a rough routine is a key ingredient to a calm, productive day. It’s a little different this time around, as you’ve probably adopted other habits since lockdown, but if you can mirror them in some form, life will feel far more controlled.

You could still try something new

It is universally acknowledged that all our initial lockdown plans -to become a black belt in karate, read War And Peace, and learn Mandarin to fluency – collapsed within a couple of weeks.

Fortunately, this time, a couple of weeks is all you have, and even we can maintain interest levels for 10 days. You probably won’t master any new instruments, but it’s at least a good exercise in time management.

Keep your home cool

Remember the depths of winter, when the Covid case load was sky high, the sun set significantly before your post-work walk, and everyone was completely miserable? Well, we should have been careful what we wished for, because now the pingdemic has confined us to barracks during a bona fide heatwave.

Electric fans, cotton sheets, ice cubes taped to your forehead – whatever works to combat the stickiness and the apparently-still-rising heat should be employed at all costs.

Use your experience

Unless you’re part of a pocket of very key workers, you are, by default, a veteran at this. Whatever worked during a six-month lockdown will also work during a 10-day ping period, be it video calls with friends or binging all 700-odd episodes of The Simpsons. It feels different because it seems more personal, but your day-to-day should look pretty much the same.

Try to exercise…

…in your garden if you have one, if not, then body-weight exercise and yoga in the sitting room are good alternatives. The infuriating thing about staying active and having a healthy lifestyle, is that it really, really works.

Try and enjoy it

Depending on your circumstances, this may be beyond impossible, and having to self-isolate while feeling perfectly healthy is undoubtedly infuriating. But there was a time when you would have killed for an unannounced week-and-a-half off work. Try and channel the spirit of 2019.

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