During his 8 months of stall rest to heal his broken leg, Oliver seemed to master self-isolation. While he couldn’t assume his role as EAL teacher at the time, he still has some pretty important lessons on the stages he went through and some pro tips to share which can help us all during this time of isolation.
I’ll let him tell you…
STAGE 1 DENIAL
At first I didn’t want to be in my stall. I felt fine and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be out with my friends. I was frustrated and for the first day or so It showed. I raged against the machine, I didn’t follow instructions and did things I knew I shouldn’t and it probably did me more harm than good and may even have prolonged my stay. So even if you don’t believe all this is necessary do your very best to do what you’re being told. I wish I had. Stay put and stay safe.
STAGE 2 ACCEPTANCE
Once I accepted that I wasn’t going to be out and about to resume my daily life for a while, I had a hard time passing the time. I was bored. Even though my family and friends that live with me were trying to do everything they could to make it easier for me, the days seemed really long and I was really bummed. And then I found myself thinking a lot about how bored I was...and that in itself is really boring. I started doing silly things to shake things up like cribbing on my stall door more and swinging my hay net around. But that wasn’t helping. It’s then that I realized I hadn’t fully embraced my circumstances. Once I realized sulking wasn’t going to change my situation, I started to relax into it a bit. It was a very soothing calm and allowed me to figure out what I needed to do next to make the most of my situation and hopefully shorten the amount of time I would be in there. Work on your mindset so you can reduce your stress and try to make the most of it.
STAGE 3 MASTERY
As I relaxed into this new situation, I soon realized that the people around me and beyond we’re pretty committed to getting me through this. If I needed something they were there for me and that really helped. I learned to communicate what I really needed - like snacks, more water, more snacks, a scratch behind the ear, more snacks. It seemed if I tapped my broken leg people figured it out WAY faster. We had a new language and understanding and that was exciting! Leverage your resources, get creative in how you stay connected with the people you love.
Through these stages, two things really got me through and they will help you too.
Sense of Humour
I figured out if I made funny faces or found new ways of getting my peoples’ attention, they would laugh. No one had laughed much since this all started so it was a welcomed sight. And the more we played, the more we laughed and times got lighter and fun. Sure, this isn’t ideal. I would much rather have been outside playing with my friends...well except when it was cold, rainy or snowy anyway. But having fun and finding ways to laugh made the time pass so much faster and really brought me and my people together. Keep smiling and find humour in the everyday.
Which leads to my last phase and piece of advice.
As we all got closer, sharing love and laughter I realized just how much everyone around me was committed to my recovery, I got very grateful. To think of how many people came together to make my recovery possible is very overwhelming. And the people who shared their love so freely and helped me find joy in the situation made my heart swell. So, I made sure I showed them how grateful I was. I returned their love 10- fold and we are all stronger for it today. Love the ones you’re with and reach out to those at a distance. Share love, share laughter and get through it together.
So hang in there. As difficult as it all may seem today, there are brighter days ahead and many positive lessons to be learned along the way.