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OPINION: Adjusting to self-isolation in your 20s

We can all do our bit to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus by staying at home and isolating ourself from others. But whilst that is easy to do and also critical in order to help the NHS, it can also be a tedious and boring lifestyle to adapt to.

At the age of 24, I still class myself as a young person - even if some of my work colleagues may disagree - and as a bloke in his young 20s, I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to adapt to this new way of life. 

My spare time used to be full of going to the pub with friends, watching football at the County Ground, playing sports, and the occasional night out clubbing. So too suddenly have that freedom taken away is certainly a strange concept to adjust to. 

I’m not in any position to moan, I’m grateful that I have a great family around me and we all support one another. But at a time when life is meant to be progressing, we find ourselves stuck in a period of delay where everything has suddenly stopped as the World battles against this deadly virus.

The restrictions on our movement and social activity is unusual but not something I’m overly upset about given the current climate. What has been hard for me though is trying to comprehend the suddenness of the country coming to a halt almost at the snap of a finger.

Less than a month ago I was still attending football matches and working as a matchday sports journalist at Swindon Town, now, that life seems years ago. Like many of us, sport offers an escapism from reality with its ability to excite, inspire and occasionally upset, one of the reasons we as a nation are sports fanatics. 

And whilst I miss my friends and being able to stand closer than 2m to somebody, live sport is what I miss most. 

Isolation so far for me has consisted of working from home and exercising daily, with that one hour of outdoor activity a day, for the meantime, managing to keep me sane. 

I’m fortunate enough to be in a job where I can work from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection, and as I sit in my study typing this, I am truly grateful to still be in employment. 

In a fast-moving industry such as marketing and journalism, you have to be able to quickly adapt to changes, and I don’t think we have ever faced a bigger change than this. Our summer projects were focused on music festivals, sport, promoting pubs and restaurants, and showcasing a summer of fun. 

Now we find ourselves producing content focused on staying at home and providing support to the local community. With a team of just six full-time employees, I would be lying if I said reshuffling and creating new workloads hasn’t been stressful, but I can honestly say I have never been prouder of the team that I work with. 

Working from home has been a new challenge, with my 30-minute commute to work now shortened to just a 30-second walk up the stairs. Our weekly meetings now take place over video chat, and our company WhatsApp chat has never been livelier. 

You may think the halting of life as we know it has given me more spare time, but I can’t remember ever being busier. 

The hardest thing about working from home though is going from work mode to chill out mode all in the same environment. I’m sure this is the same for many but I have found that music has offered me an opportunity of escapism. 

So if you find yourself similarly struggling then I would encourage you to invest in some good music and take some time to have some headspace. 

They say your 20s are meant to be the most fun times of your life, full of partying, moving up the career ladder, leaving your parents home, and possibly even finding love. In my opinion, this is as true a statement as any. Unfortunately, the fun associated with being young currently seems non-existent. 

But eventually, life will return to normal as we know it and for the meantime, we must all do as much as possible to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. This will be a moment in time that history will look back on, so stay at home, stay safe, and keep on keeping on. 

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