As hopeless as it all seems right now, retired NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly believes "we can get through this if we work together, if we support each other, if we stay connected."
Being stuck at home amid the ongoing crisis is proving to be quite challenging for many, and as experts in living in confined spaces for long periods of time, astronauts are now offering some of their best tips to help all of us get through this with our sanity intact. Having done stints on the International Space Station lasting months or even years, isolation is no stranger to them and they're also quite familiar with the struggles that come with combining your work and home environments into one. As hopeless as it all seems right now, retired NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly—who spent 340 days on the ISS—claims "we can get through this if we work together, if we support each other, if we stay connected."
Being stuck at home can be challenging. When I lived on the @Space_Station for nearly a year, it wasn’t easy.— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 21, 2020
A few tips from what I learned then that will help us now as we stay in & work together to get thru this #CoronavirusPandemic. https://t.co/qdOLTb3akL
Speaking to Good Morning America, Kelly said: "In my case... my expectations were this is where I live now. I have to deal with it and someday it will be over. I think people need to have that kind of mindset." The 56-year-old stressed that the key to making through this alive is having the right expectations. "Since we don’t know how long this is going to be, you have to think, hey, this is my new reality. I’m going to be here for who knows how long and I’m going to take it very, very seriously," he said.
Scott Kelly spent nearly a year on the International Space Station. https://t.co/F6l7ApptWM— ABC News (@ABC) March 24, 2020
Kelly also spoke about the importance of setting a schedule and sticking to it. "When I got to space the first time I was on a long flight, it was hard to get used to that being scheduled for five minutes at a time, sometimes for one hour, sometimes for eight hours if it was a spacewalk. But I found as I got used to it, I actually needed it. And when I got home, I missed it. You need to schedule things like work, rest, taking care of your environment... whether that’s the house you live in, the apartment that you live in," he said.
Everybody: "This isolation is so hard!"— Joe Scott (@answerswithjoe) March 23, 2020
Astronauts on the ISS: pic.twitter.com/lOothHRN2i
The retired astronaut suggested taking up journaling as a means to vent while being confined to our homes for the foreseeable future. "You put your feelings in a journal and if you’re feeling a certain way, writing it down, being honest with yourself about it is the best possible thing you can do. And when this is all over someday, we can look back at this time, one of the most challenging times in our country, and you can have a record of what it was like for you and what you did. Were you helpful? Did you rise to the occasion? Hopefully that will be the case for everyone, but if you didn’t, at least you have that outlet, something to do on a regular basis that’s part of this regular schedule of getting through this," he said.
How do we prepare our astronauts for long periods of isolation?— NASA (@NASA) March 23, 2020
The @Space_Station has hosted 170 long-duration missions — with the majority in the five- to seven-month range. These missions help us prepare for future missions to the Moon and Mars: https://t.co/rI48BuQ7Mp pic.twitter.com/GLVfanoatO
According to Kelly, it would also be extremely helpful to know and understand the people sharing the space with you. "I think the first thing that people need to recognize is that everybody is different. Everyone has different skills. Everyone has different things that they're bad at. Sometimes you can help elevate people but sometimes it's just not in their DNA to be able to act and to behave a certain way," he said. "You need to be able to understand who is your crew on this certain mission ... it's your family, it's the people you're in isolation with. They might be young. They might be old."
"Understand what their traits are, what they can add to the team and then where they need help. And then communicate. Understand that we're all in this together. If you're feeling stressed, talk about how to help. That's how we work through these things," Kelly added. He wasn't the only astronaut who shared tips to make it through this current crisis sane. NASA’s Anne McClain took to Twitter to talk about the five important skills astronauts need to hone to live their best lives in the confines of a spacecraft and explained how these can be applied to living and working during social distancing. Check it out here:
2/ 20 years of successful living and working on @Space_Station did not happen by accident. Through lessons learned, @NASA astronaut @AstroPeggy and psychologist Dr. Al Holland examined what human behaviors create a healthy culture for living and working remotely in small groups.— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 22, 2020
4/ Skill 1, Communication:— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 22, 2020
Def: To talk so you are clearly understood. To listen and
question to understand. Actively listen, pick up on non-verbal cues. Identify,
discuss, then work to resolve conflict.
6/ Skill 2, Leadership/Followership:— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 22, 2020
Def: How well a team adapts to new situations. Leader enhances the group’s ability to execute its purpose through positive influence. Follower (aka
subordinate leader) actively contributes to leader’s direction. Establish
environment of trust.
8/ Skill 3, Self-Care:— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 22, 2020
Def: How healthy you are on psychological and physical levels, including hygiene, managing time and personal stuff, getting sleep, and maintaining mood. The ability and willingness to be proactive to stay healthy.
10/ Skill 4, Team Care:— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 22, 2020
Def: How healthy the group is on psychological, physical, and logistical level.
Manage group stress, fatigue, sickness, supplies, resources, workload, etc. Nurture optimal team performance despite challenges.
12/ Skill 5, Group Living:— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 22, 2020
Def: How people cooperate and become a team to achieve a
goal. Identify and manage different opinions, cultures, perceptions, skills, and
personalities. Individuals and group demonstrate resiliency in the face of difficulty.
14/ That's it! We are all astronauts on planet Earth together. We'll be successful in confinement if we are intentional about our actions and deliberate about caring for our teams. Now, please reply and share some examples of #GoodEB that you've seen - and stay #EarthStrong— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 22, 2020