How I’m surviving isolation during a pandemic

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 2 June 2020

I truly believe that out of uncomfortable and difficult situations or challenges, come some of the most innovative solutions. Maybe after reading this post you will agree with me, even if just a little.

At the beginning of this pandemic I felt like I was doing really well at managing the stress of it all. I was busy trying to organize my clinic, my staff, my patients and how to best support everyone in the new reality we were all dealing with. I even re-vamped our annual spring detox to have more of an immune focus.

I had already been in the habit of eating properly, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, taking my supplements, journaling, yoga, and meditating. In fact these things have been a staple in my life for the last two to three years.

And yet about eight weeks in I was experiencing an overwhelming sense of anxiety and feeling of defeat. I started to have difficulty with my sleep. I started to have more nausea around food. I had been losing weight. I was becoming more emotional, especially around my cycle.

All warning signs that my cortisol levels were jacking up higher and higher.

What didn't make sense to me was that I was doing all the self-care things I know how to do. All the things that worked for me when I went through a significant stressful period before.

I was even taking my forced time off to do some things I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do. I painted the upstairs bedrooms. I completed a puzzle. I went hiking in a few new places that I had been meaning to get to.

And yet, I was still having difficulty. Why?

It all had to do with how I was thinking. Not what I was doing or not doing.

What if this pandemic, although it is our greatest pain, it could also be our greatest gift?

For me, the greatest pain has been not being able to do my job. The thing that I feel fits my purpose in this world. My anchor. The thing that I was still able to focus on during stressful periods in the past. All of a sudden, gone.

It wasn't until I identified this via a heart-to-heart conversation with someone that the lightbulb went off. I was still stuck in the limiting belief that what I DO in the world was more valuable than who I AM.

That awareness was now able to shine a light on the real stress. Not the superficial ones that I was trying to convince myself of.

It is only through a change in our thoughts will we create a change in our behaviour.

By identifying this limiting belief I was then able to start deconstructing it and without "trying harder" my anxiety started to reduce. In my case this belief was a big one so I even decided to enlist some professional help.

So no matter where you are at, whether it's trying to eat better, trying to go to bed on time, trying to exercise regularly, trying to meditate, maybe instead of "trying harder" you just need to start thinking differently.

Now I would love to hear from you! How is this difficult time also a gift for you? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

8 Replies to “How I’m surviving isolation during a pandemic”

Initially I had worried a lot about our business, how to keep my staff going, and how to adjust and pivot the business. Certainly a lot of stress and worry that I put on myself. I also have 2 and 3 year old boys. The two year old started the lockdown only being able to say a few words. We can now fully understand everything he says and he is forming full sentences, today he raddled off his first full rendition of the ABCs. As a result his glowing personality is really coming to light and we are getting to know the person he is and will become. The three year old has learned how to ride a bike (no training wheels), how to skate (roller blades), and is hitting the baseball without a tee. Business isn’t as good but talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity! I must admit that my anxiety over the situation is still there, but focusing on these other things help to ease the worry, and I think I am learning to be a better father.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

So true Joey! That is an opportunity you will never get back. Thank-you for sharing.


Although times still feel very strange to me, I am completely loving my down time. The forced slow down. I have painted, read, napped, my gardens look amazing my yard has never looked this good lol and I’ve had phone calls, actually sat and talked on the phone. I feel like I have sat back and reflected on life in such a good way. I worried about my eating habits and no gym. But I have found myself a good routine at home. I actually eat less, go figure. Hopefully some of these new habits will stay once I go back to working again. Until then I’ll be relaxing out back listening to birds chirp.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Sounds wonderful Nicole! Thanks for sharing.


Thank you Michelle for sharing your personal stuff. It’s always a help to others.

Sandra L. Hazlett

Thank you for sharing Michelle. I have gone through such a range of emotions during this time -gratitude for where I live, worry for my children and grandchildren, but also gratitude and pride for my family for how they have dealt with this pandemic and sadness for the families who have lost someone due to this terrible pandemic. Grief for all that is going on in this world right now.
I find comfort in my surroundings – my garden, the birds, my family and friends and I turn to them and turn off the world for a short time when it seems unbearable.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Thank-you also for sharing Sandra.

Theresa Taylor

Our thoughts are the basis of our actions. A lesson I try to share with my granddaughters
Thanks for this post.

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