Former Navy Submariner Shares Coping Strategies For Self-Isolation And Social Distancing

A a result of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people across the globe are current self isolating. Some of you may already have a plan to stay positive and minimise cabin fever, here is some advice (for those with a plan or without) from someone who has already had experience in social distancing.

Royal Navy submariners often spend long periods of time, hundreds of meters under the sea - making it impossible to go to the cinema, gym or even just catch up with their mates.

Sound a bit familiar?

Jon Bailey, a former Navy submariner, created a thread on Twitter sharing the 'coping strategies' he'd picked up while enduring 'many weeks and months cooped up in a steel tube under the waves'.

"I just thought I'd share a few coping strategies for many of you now facing a Covid-19 'patrol'," Jon wrote, in the post, which has since racked up more than 38,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

According to Jon's thread, there's a lot we can be doing to keep ourselves happy and healthy right now:


"Life at sea is dictated by shifts and routines," Jon says.

"You can tell what day it was by what was for dinner.

"Make a routine now, test it, then write it down and stick to it. Divide your day up in to work (if home working), rest, exercise, meals, hobbies, etc. Do the same for kids."


Remembering how the only private space at sea was 'your bunk', Jon says: "Make a dedicated private time / place in the routine. Even if you timeshare the front room get everyone a couple of hours alone.

"Do whatever you want: watch s*** films, pray, yoga, arrange matches: whatever gets you through."

"Scran onboard was usually pretty good and broke up the monotony of patrols," Jonrecalls, saying sometimes this would involve indulgent 'Steak Saturdays, Fishy Friday, Curry and Pizza nights,' while on other days 'soup and bread was enough'.

"Take time to prepare meals," he adds. "A good mix of 'feast and famine' will stop the pounds piling on."


It probably goes without saying, but even if you're all cooped up you're going to need to try and get some exercise - but, yes, you might have to get a little more creative.

"It's a natural antidepressant, breaks up the day and keeps you healthy," Jon says.

"Get outside when able."

Recommending 20-30 minutes a day 'or whatever as a minimum', he adds: "Fitness Blender on YouTube has workouts for all."


"That house is going to get grungy now you're spending a lot more time in it," Jon says.

"Put time in your daily routine to clean and stick to it."


"Even during radio silence we still got a weekly telegram from loved ones back home," Jon continues. "This was a weekly highlight.

"Keep in touch with your people. My current work have agreed a daily 'coffee' catch up online even if there's no work to discuss."


While it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the strange and surreal situation we've all found ourselves in, Jon believes perspective will be your friend at a time like this.

"Like all other patrols, this one will end," he concludes. "It's a s*** sandwich but better than dodging barrel bombs.

"Don't obsess [over] the news or Twitter s***. Bring your world closer, focus on little things that you enjoy and make plans for the future. At least you should have a window!"

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