With billions of people around the world suddenly adopting social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, some experts who are used to restricting themselves have some tips. From astronauts to submarines: Here are some practical ways to increase your wellbeing and fight cabin fever during the weeks at home.
"Do you have a schedule"
Scott Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut, spent almost a year on board the International Space Station. He told AFP that the mindset was crucial.
"People have to have the right expectations, we don't know when that will be over," he said.
"We could be there in the long run, so your mindset has to be like this: I live like in space for a year, I have to have a schedule, I have to get up regularly to go to sleep regularly."
He also said that exercise is vital for both physical and mental wellbeing in tight spaces.
"You need to schedule time for exercise. If you can't get out if you don't have a garden, raise the window shade, open the window, and stick your head outside, making it part of the daily routine."
Find your mission
For Vincent Larnaudie-Eiffel, a former commander of a nuclear submarine, good cooperation means finding your own "mission" and investing in it.
Just like on board the submarine "we are all stuck in our apartments and share a mission, namely to protect other medical staff and successfully master this ordeal."
He said it was important to establish a daily routine and stick to it.
"You can't give in … you have to do something with this interrupted time."
For Larnaudie-Eiffel and his crew members, this meant building models in their free time or growing plants under artificial light.
"It is also important that everyone has their own space," he told AFP. "It could be a cramped bedroom in a submarine. It's the same in a cramped apartment."
"Try new things"
Sailor Isabelle Autissier was the first woman to circle the globe on her own. This meant a lot of time in itself.
But she said she never felt lonely because "I decided to be alone".
For people who are stuck at home, she recommends using the time to "try new things, read, listen to other music, write a diary, take photos, and start drawing".
Above all, it is important that people do not look too far ahead.
When she was at sea, facing an indefinite period of time, "the first thing is not to count the days," said Autissier.
"You can't keep thinking that I'll be there in three months, in a month, in ten minutes."
"Moral dips are normal"
Cyprien Verseux, an astrobiologist at the University of Bremen, spent over a year in a small capsule with five other volunteers who simulated the conditions for a future mission to Mars.
"It is normal for your morale and productivity to drop," he said. "It's not a sign of weakness. Don't add guilt to your problems."
When Verseux was imprisoned for the experiment, he was not allowed to go outside and to communicate with the outside world in real time.
"Even if we don't all respond to childbirth immediately, we can use best practices that make these periods more manageable," he said.
He recommends choosing one or two activities and practicing hard.
"Do your sport, light weights, yoga, zumba … even if space is lacking, there are solutions to help you stay in shape," he said.
Keep in touch
In 2009, astronaut Frank de Winne was the first European to command the International Space Station.
He said it was important to maintain human contact, if only electronically.
"Communication tools are there, you have to make an effort and use them," he said.
The Belgian, who is now in quarantine on Earth, ensures that he calls his older mother by video every day at the same time.
"This allows her to see me. It also creates a bit of structure for her because she knows I'll call her," he said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)