Tips for Dealing with the Confinement

By Fabien Wullens
Fabien Wullens

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Fabien Wullens, a French national, has twenty years of experience in safety, security, emergency and crisis management. He worked several years in the French public service before going to several war-torn countries in Africa to be a security and political advisor for non-governmental organizations and the United Nations. Wullens is now the head of safety and security at the headquarters of a Canadian humanitarian organization.

For several years I have been living and working in war-torn countries, with strict confinement rules including curfews and very limited access to electricity, running water, food, health care and any kind and sort of comfort. Having bullets flying over our heads, on top of 104°F inside with no air conditioning, no running water and no wi-fi, I have experienced a lot of hardship duty stations. In the photos, you can see the “kitchen” and the “restrooms” we’ve had at one of the locations.

Despite all of this, I have been coping with the situation quite well. Here are a few tips I use in these areas that can be helpful for those of us struggling with the confinement during the Coronavirus crisis.

1. Have a routine

It is important to continue having a routine in order to keep your life going. You should not find yourself lost in days and time, because this will make you feel worse. It does not matter if you are working or not, you can have a routine: waking up at a regular time during weekdays, another time during the weekend; eat at regular times; keep exercising on the days you used to; keep going to bed at regular time, etc.

2. Enjoy the extra free time

It is a unique opportunity to do something you haven’t had time to do: read, paint, play or listen to music, garden, cook…. This will make you feel happier and fulfilled. In one of my duty stations, we did not have a garden, but we had a courtyard. We built a wooden square garden with my colleagues and planted a few fruits and vegetables. The result was amazing, and some colleagues still enjoy them as I am writing these lines.

the kitchen
The kitchen…

3. Treat yourself

On the weekend, or for any special occasion, find a way to treat yourself with something to eat, a bath, or anything you enjoy particularly and keep it for a special moment. This will be your happy time and you will look forward to this day. It will keep you running. In these moments we often underestimate how small things that make us happy can be. Often, I would have a real coffee or a beer during the weekend (it was very rare to have access to these) as well as a shower with a relaxing shower gel.

4. Look ahead

Sometimes it can be hard to see the positive in the moment, especially when the present is not bright. Look ahead for happier moments. We know that no matter how long the Coronavirus crisis will be, it will end, and no matter how different the world is after, happier times will come. Think what you would like to do, where you would like to go when it will be over, who you would like to spend time with…

5. Be thankful

We need to realize that while confinement is a drastic change in our lifestyle, we are extremely lucky to have a place to confine ourselves, food to eat and entertainment. Many in the world don’t have this luck, regardless of the current crisis.

6. Talk to your loved ones

Physical distancing does not mean “Social Distancing,” take time to show your loved ones you care about them and reconnect with people you haven’t had time to do so for a while.

The toilets…

Be positive!