Coronavirus: 'I still wear a suit even in my own home'

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Ben Lawson-GreenImage source, Ben Lawson-Green
Image caption,
Ben Lawson-Green still makes the effort to impress

Maintaining a normal regime during coronavirus self-isolation can be important for your mental health, according to some experts. BBC Radio Tees reporter Adam Clarkson has spoken to one man doing his best to keep to a routine.

Ben Lawson-Green wakes up at 06:30 every day. He has a shower, makes a coffee and gets dressed into his suit.

He then walks "about five steps" into his home office, located in the kitchen of the "caravan-sized cottage" where he is self-isolating amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image source, Ben Lawson-Green
Image caption,
Ben's home office is a lot like many people's set up

Pretending "it's just a normal day" is a big part of trying to continue his training as a wealth manager.

The 25-year-old, from near Whitby in North Yorkshire, returned from Poland this week, following advice from the British Embassy.

He had previously spent two weeks cooped up in his Warsaw flat where he admitted he "was losing the plot".

His office closed down after a number of his colleagues began showing coronavirus symptoms.

Image source, Ben Lawson-Green
Image caption,
Ben flew back from Poland after government advice

"My job is to get clients in for a face-to-face meeting, so it involved a lot of human contact. You lose the buzz of the office, it was hard.

"I was drinking about 10 cups of coffee a day and just pacing around my flat in my suit."

He landed in London on Thursday.

"I looked at the departure board and there were only two flights leaving, both to London. There were four of us. There were more staff than passengers on the plane."

Image source, Ben Lawson-Green
Image caption,
His view is calm and green, if uninspiring

Despite not being able to interact with family and friends face-to-face, Ben said he was loving his new way of working.

"It's a bit different but we'll get there. My 'office' is a lot smaller than what I'm used to, but I can turn around and pretty much reach the kettle, which is good.

"My parents have been dropping stuff off for me outside the door but really it's business as usual.

"I had a conference call with my boss this morning - he appreciated the suit."

The next two weeks would be difficult, Ben said, but using video calling would get him through it.

He said sticking to tasks was one of the hardest things.

"When I finish work I do some exercises. I just try and keep my mind clear," he said.

"My best advice is stick to your normal routine. Staying focused is a big challenge but try not to let your mind wander."

Image source, Ben Lawson-Green
Image caption,
Ben's home office in Warsaw was slightly more business-like

It's important to try and stick to a schedule during self-isolation, according to psychologist Emma Kenny.

"This is completely new, nobody really knows what's going on. Do not be surprised if you feel a little bit anxious about it," she said.

"We are sharing the most unique moment in time and we're all in this together."

She said: "Create a daily timetable and stick to it. Make sure that you distract yourself.

"Do crafts, do puzzles, do work and cooking and mark down each and every activity - you will reduce the temptation to get angry.

"When it comes down to being on your own, you are going to have to really think about how to get creative.

"Tell people you are struggling. Remember to call friends - connect with people.

"We will go back to normal one day and you'll ask - did I use this time with a purpose?"

You can hear more on the The Self-Isolation Podcast available on BBC Sounds.