Social distancing and self-isolation may be new concepts for people on Earth, but it’s nothing new for residents of the International Space Station. Two Russian cosmonauts gave some advice on how to spend time indoors.
Fifty-five-year-old cosmonaut Andrei Borisenko is quite familiar with being confined to tight quarters for long periods of time, after making two flights into space and spending a total of 337 days in orbit. He told RT Russia that the best antidote to depression in such situations is to keep yourself busy.
Occupy yourself with something… Reread your favorite books. My parents live in St. Petersburg, but this does not prevent us from arranging video communication sessions, during which we just talk, drink tea, and show the view from the window.
Self-isolation “on Earth” is probably much more comfortable than in space since you can go outside from time to time, he said, adding that one major downside to staying indoors is the lack of physical exercise. Borisenko noted, however, that there are ways to keep fit even while stuck at home, citing data, for example, which shows that people doing routine chores in a two-room apartment end up walking 5-7km (3.1-4.3 miles) per day.
His colleague, 54-year-old Oleg Kotov, has made three trips to the ISS, resulting in more than 526 days in space. Kotov advised that keeping a healthy state of mind is the most important thing when faced with self-isolation.
It all depends on how we organize life and our own feelings. It all depends on how you perceive this space and how to occupy yourself. If you constantly think about what limits you and what you lack, it can really cause a strain
The cosmonaut also said that there’s nothing unhealthy about spending time with yourself. He noted that in space, there’s a method to avoiding conflict – to close yourself in a compartment and ask everyone not to disturb you. “Man needs to be alone. This is quite natural.” Privacy, Kotov observed, is an important part of maintaining a balanced life. He stressed, however, that it is vital to stay busy and focus on the positive.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!