88 Ways to Not Freak the F*ck Out During Isolation

Because we’re in for a journey, y’all

Ashley Fairbanks
Published in
11 min readMar 12, 2020


Credit: Ashley Fairbanks

TThere are about a gazillion articles on the internet right now listing facts, statistics, and recommendations regarding the threat we are facing with COVID-19. I’m glad those exist, but what I couldn’t find was one that simply told me how to not freak the fuck out.

So I wrote one. Who am I? Not the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization (though I urge everyone to follow their websites for the latest updates). I am a 33-year-old woman currently living alone in San Antonio, Texas — 1,000 miles away from my partner, pets, and lifelong network of family and friends in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m asthmatic, have a suppressed immune system, and chronic migraines. Things have been rough.

I wanted to channel my nervous energy into something that can help others, so I compiled a big list of ways to prepare, stay calm, and do the best you can do during these weeks of self-distancing. I looked to online resources, surveyed friends on Twitter, and drew from my own experience working at home as a freelancer. I hope some of these tips help you in the weeks and months ahead. Note: Please abide by your local restrictions, first and foremost.

First, the basics

I know you know these, but it feels irresponsible not to include them.

1. Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water and scrub to the meme of your choice for at least 20 seconds. Washing hands is especially important before eating and whenever you go from space to space outside of your home, particularly after you interact with surfaces others have touched.

2. Keep a six-foot distance from other people. Help #FlattenTheCurve.

3. Don’t attend parties or gatherings.

4. Stay home if you’re sick. Even if it’s that I-might-be-getting-a-sore-throat kind of sick.

5. Only wear a mask if you are sick.

6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.



Ashley Fairbanks
Writer for

She/Her/Hers. Anishinaabe. Artist. Organizer. Wonk. @ziibiing on the socials.