Self-isolation – a unique experience for the world

Self-isolation can be tough for many. But it has also brought some extraordinary changes to our quality of life that no one could have imagined as recently as a month ago.



The Balinese can teach us all a thing or two about self-isolation. They’ve practised it for hundreds of years in the form of an annual day of silence and introspection called Nyepi, when everything comes to a complete standstill. The island’s airport is closed. No planes are allowed to arrive or depart. No one is allowed to travel anywhere, do any work, use any equipment, light any fires, turn on any lights, burn any candles or make any noise.

For an entire day, there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go. After extensive islandwide Hindu purification ceremonies the day before, everyone stays at home for 24 hours, spending time with their family. The more spiritually inclined take the opportunity to fast and meditate in the extraordinary stillness that descends upon the island. Even the dogs stop barking and the cockerels hardly crow, unless someone breaks the rules by moving around.

During the 20 years I lived in Bali from 1990 to 2010, Nyepi was always my favourite day of the year. It was something I eagerly looked forward to. Something that could not be experienced anywhere else on earth.

Until now.

Entire countries in lockdown

As I write this, at least a third of the world is on stay-at-home lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19. For the Balinese, it will feel like an extended Nyepi with less rules. They had a small taste of it last month when this year’s Nyepi event was extended by the Balinese government from the usual one day to two days because of the Covid situation.

For the rest of the world, self-isolation on a national scale is a completely new experience. And although it’s heart-wrenchingly sad that it will result in hardships for so many people, there are some upsides to it too. Here are some examples of this to brighten your day…

Air pollution levels have dropped
‘The reductions in air pollution in China caused by this economic disruption likely saved twenty times more lives in China than have currently been lost due to infection with the virus in that country,’ says Marshall Burke of Stanford’s Department of Earth System Science. In fact, if you explore the historical data at the Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map, it clearly shows that the air pollution in most of the world radically improved last month.

The world is a quieter place
Constant exposure to noise causes stress and a range of other health problems to humans and other life forms, such as the fish in our oceans and the birds in our trees. The drastic reduction in traffic by air, land and sea means that many places in the world are now much quieter. Some people living in cities are reporting hearing birdsong there for the first time ever!

Skies are bluer and stars more visible at night
The drop in air pollution means that many places in the world now have clearer blue sky than usual, which also means more stars are visible at night.

Dogs are happier with their owners at home on lockdown
Dogs really don’t like being left at home all day by themselves, as video surveillance footage has often shown. Experts, in fact, recommend not keeping a dog as a pet at all if it will often be left alone for more than four hours at a time. So dogs around the world are blissfully happy that their owners are at home at the moment.

People have stopped wasting their money on fast fashion
As the boss of Next put it,’ People do not buy a new outfit to stay at home’.

Acts of kindness have radically increased
News channels and social media around the world are reporting many heart-warming, tear-jerking, genuine acts of generosity and kindness.

Our lowest-paid workers are now the most highly valued
Nurses, delivery drivers, binmen, and a host of other low-paid professionals who are keeping things running at this difficult time while putting their own lives at risk are now more valued than highly-paid footballers and celebrities, most of whom are now completely redundant. Hopefully these wonderful people will all receive substantial pay rises to show how much we truly appreciate them.

A lot more people are reading books
Books sales have surged in the last month, especially ebooks, because they can be ordered and delivered online. People are reading books they would never have had time to read before and learning about things they never expected to have time to study.

Feel free to add comments below about any other benefits you’ve experienced as a result of the lockdown.

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd, 2020

Related article
A spiritual perspective on the Covid lockdown

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui, and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must-read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fifth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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13 Responses to Self-isolation – a unique experience for the world

  1. So nice to read other posts on the Lighter side of Lockdown. It’s obvious that I need to do things differently and adapt at this time. I will become more resourceful and creative.

    There’s no rushing around. There is room to do things I’ve put off doing – like yoga, gardening, reading a book. I’ve had more interesting conversations and deeper connections with my husband and sons. We have created some regular routines – daily exercise, family meals have become more special and we have a film night.

    I practice gratitude and enjoy the simple things in life like walking in nature or cleaning the house to Disco classics. There’s been some reassessment of my priorities. Daily meditation is more enjoyable as there is more stillness.

    The situation has brought my family together as a team. We are negotiating and becoming more considerate with shared spaces and noise. Everyone is learning to take personal responsibility for themselves including their own wellbeing.

    So many changes going on – it’s how we deal with it that counts! What else is possible?

  2. All these sudden unexpected changes have caught many people off guard. Out of their comfort zone – there has been huge fear, now giving way to resignation for what is. People are having to do things differently. They are already becoming more resourceful and creative, learning to problem solve and adapt.

    The virus is a leveller of people – affecting rich and poor alike. Expectations have gone right down, things have become more simple and many of us are grateful for small things.

    I’ve had more interesting conversations and deeper connections with people in the last month. We now regularly watch a film together as a family. My sons have taken up some household chores, one has decided to learn Spanish and we share dog walking or going out cycling. We are also negotiating and being more considerate with shared spaces and making less noise (which is great as I meditate)!

    I wonder what else is possible?

  3. The last time I went shopping for groceries was on March, 11. Since then I am cooking with what I have at home. It’s like a field experiment for me, to find out how long I can live without going shopping. We don’t have any shortage in food, but I simply don’t want to go shopping at the moment – not even toilet paper ;-). I made an inventory of my freezer and have a cooking list. For any leftovers I search for recipes on the net. I still have about ten dishes on my list. This part of the self-isolation is fun for me, as I am not forced to do it but I freely chose this way.

    As I am at home for 25 days now and some more to come, I tackled some projects that are waiting for some time now: sewed covers for my cushions, sewed curtains for my bedroom; reorganized my wardrobe; working slowly through my To-Do list. Every noon I sit on my balcony for an hour or two reading a book, so great!

    I know this crisis will have an end and I pray that people learn from it!

  4. Thank you. I was always curious to experience this holiday and appreciate your thoughts. Is this humanity evolving into a new reality where we retain the knowingness that we are capable of creating lives based on spirit? I remain cautiously hopeful

  5. It must be fine to be on the lockdown in a house near the forest with your husband or wife. But not in the city with your mother, grandmother and siblings while you are over 30! I am so jealous with all these married people living nice lives in nice homes! Having their natural adulthood, while I have to be a child, away from my man, and question whether this will last for eternity!

  6. I have had to be more creative and just cook certain things on the fly because of limitations at the grocery stores.
    We have also decluttered and spring cleaned a bit of our house and it looks so much better.

    I have been able to walk more and spend time chatting with friends of course using social distancing.

    I am curious as to which alternate universe we are all living in because I NEVER thought that we would ever accept medical aide from Russia let alone allow one of their military planes to land in the US. I love the cooperation that nations have been extending to each other. I just hope that when the crisis is over that we can still keep it up or go back to being our fun-loving selves. I hope not.

  7. I think it’s an incredible time (I had a planned week’s holiday through the period of self-isolation), – I was making soaps, creams, baking, walking 5 h a day in nearby hills, started yoga, space clearing by using beautiful spring flowers from our garden, having morning coffee with sheep, enjoying time with our dogs, reading Samuel Sagan – it was so nurturing and uplifting that I wanted the holiday to continue and continue.

  8. I’ve heard more than one woman say that cleaning her own home (as she’s working from home and her cleaner won’t attend during lockdown) has allowed her to ‘reclaim her space’.

    Also, colleagues who are lucky enough to have retained a job and are working from home are starting to ask one another, tentatively, if anyone else has noticed that the working day takes rather less time – with no commuting, no pointless meetings and no-one judging how and where they work, they’ve become more efficient.

    Much of the nation is now exercising, including learning new forms such as yoga, t’ai chi or vigorous ‘PE for Kids’ courtesy of Joe Wicks. This from a nation of obese adults and children who no longer have a school playing field.

    Garden wildlife is becoming bolder. My Father has a little flock of dunnocks, shy little birds who live in his hedge. Now, they fly about boldly in front of his window entertaining him for hours.

  9. I am cooking more and my husband and I are eating meals together. We are watching quality TV programs and I am relaxing by knitting, something I love and could never fit in. We are giving all closets and drawers a once-over and further clearing clutter. We do not miss the fast-pace of our lives. I am growing veg, flowers and herbs from seed in my sunroom and working in the garden. We are tackling chores that have been hanging over our heads. Karen, this would be a good time to offer a closet clearing course (wardrobe)!!

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