We’ve all been making our way through this whole self-isolation thing, with varying results. Hopefully all work and no play hasn’t made you a dull boy like Jack Torrance yet, but if you’re getting a bit stir-crazy, former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is here to help you prepare for the long self-isolating haul, just in case we need to pace ourselves.
Kelly, a veteran of four space flights, should know a thing or two about self-isolating too, as he spent nearly a year up there commanding the International Space Station. During his extended time in the constricted confines of the ISS, he seems to have grown a couple inches, had his poop germs rearranged, and spent enough time alone to write a Sony Pictures-purchased memoir. So as far as self-isolating advice goes, it doesn’t get much sounder.
Kelly took to The New York Times over the weekend to dole out such sage advice for the celestially challenged, bored-out-of-our-mind masses. And while all his tips are super helpful, perhaps the one we’ll put into practice first will be to watch Game of Thrones ... again.
After expounding on the importance of following a schedule, Kelly instructs us to make sure to pace ourselves, and basically lays out Jack Torrance’s Shining mantra, that if we’re in it for the long haul, all work and no play will drive you batty. So you should: “Take time for fun activities.” Kelly then recounts how during his time in space, he “met up with crewmates for movie nights, complete with snacks, and binge-watched all of Game of Thrones — twice.”
Granted, Kelly’s near year in space lasted from March of 2015 to March of 2016, so he was enjoying peak GoT action, and spared himself the final few seasons — important TV, sure, but perhaps not important enough to re-watch. But we get his point: You should still set goals for yourselves and get things done, but don’t be afraid to kick back and watch your shows on repeat.
Kelly also recommends going outside and exercising, which, if you’re staying at least 6 feet away from folks, can be quite good for both your mental and physical health. And as someone who couldn’t set foot outside without a great deal of preparation, he’ll be the first to tell you what a blessing it is just to be able to go for a walk.
Besides taking time to connect with loved ones (isolation may be bad for the immune system), listening to experts (“like the World Health Organization and the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center”), and keeping a journal (hey, you might get a movie deal!), Kelly suggests it might also be a good time to get yourself a hobby. He recounts his time reading in space, and honing his axe skills with an online digital guitar trainer, while noting that astronauts all take time for such hobbying habits, and inviting us to recall Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s out-of-this-world "Space Oddity" cover ...
Watching Hadfield sing wondrously above, as every single person on Earth goes about their planetary business below, it’s easy to see that Kelly’s final point makes a ton of sense, that we are all connected. “All people are inescapably interconnected, and the more we can come together to solve our problems, the better off we will all be,” writes Kelly.
Even in our isolation, we are bound. Stay safe out there, friends, we’ll get through this together, with a little help from Tyrion Lannister too.
This story presents some humorous responses to coronavirus, but COVID-19 is very real! Please exercise caution out there: Wash those hands, stay at home, and practice social distancing. For extensive information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe, check out the CDC’s coronavirus website.