How to handle isolation – 7 tips from people who’ve been in prison

While self-isolating in your home is not the same as being isolated in prison, the people who have been inside our institutions have become experts at how to deal with not being able to see family and friends, being told where they can and can’t go, and what they can and can’t do.

The clients at CJHS who have spent time in prison want to share their tips for managing isolation in hopes that it will help the community better cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. “Write letters, phone family and friends. Talk about uplifting stuff. Stay positive because negative thinking can start fights. Get into a book series, do artwork (coloring is actually fun and relaxing) play board games. Change your lifestyle and re-train your mind to follow the new rules.” — Jerome*
  2. “We don’t have to be outside to make a change in our attitudes or shift our thinking.” — William*
  3. “Keep your head where you’re at… keep your mind inside the walls. When you get thinking about outside, it makes your time harder.” — Bernie
  4. “Have a routine and keep busy. Spend time in the yard and enjoy the sun. Take up gardening. Stay off social media because it makes you want what you can’t have.” — Chris
  5. “Make lots of jail burritos.” — James
  6. “It is important to keep busy: read books, go for a walk, play cards, do online Bible Studies. You have to find some kind of motivation — don’t do the same old thing but get out of your rut and get involved in something new. And most of all, don’t let it get you down!” — John
  7. “Meditate, get lots of rest, practice deep breathing, pray, exercise, do stretching and yoga, walk or run, drink water, read books including Scripture and the Big Book of AA.” — Adrian

*Names changed to protect privacy

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