March 2, 2021

An astronaut trainer’s tips for getting through self-isolation – Video


It all goes down to basics.
It’s just survival.
That’s the most important thing.
Make sure you have enough food, water to survive, are you getting along with your crewmates and doing the work that you’re supposed to do.
[MUSIC]
Tips for living in isolation.
My name is Michaela Musilova.
I am Director for the Hi-Seas station in Hawaii.
It’s a research station where we simulate being in the moon and Mars to help prepare humans tonactually go and live and work there one day.
During missions at Hi-Seas people can be isolated in a small dome for up to several months on end.
Even up to a year.
With only six people in the crew, and nowadays with the COVID-19 situation in many ways people are experiencing similar things to what we experienced during those missions.
It’s recommended people don’t leave their home as much as possible only to do important things like go shopping or maybe go to the doctor if they’re not feeling you You need while, you’re also you know, quote unquote stuck there with a small amount of people maybe you’re even alone in your home, or maybe you with your family and roommates.
And then this way that’s also very similar to our missions where you’re really there at all times, and you have no real contact with anyone else only virtually so we would only have access to emails to communicate with our loved ones friends and colleagues.
You at least can call people if you’re feeling lonely.
Or there’s all this social media and other ways people can communicate these days.
Also similarly to our missions, you only have a certain amount of things available to you right now.
You should really only go to the store every now and then.
And by a certain amount of supplies of food and other things you will need for the next few weeks.
During our missions, we actually usually only have one set of supplies that needs to last us for weeks or months on end.
And we have to make sure that you know we use it fully and don’t use up too much water and things like that too quickly.
And finally, what I see it’s really important nowadays is that people follow guidelines given to us by our governments and other local authorities.
Just like what missions, the guidelines we have or what we can and can’t do protocols we have to follow are vital.
So it’s really important people follow that and keep in mind that it’s not just for their safety but for the safety of others not to get contaminated by the disease.
MUSIC] When we want to go outside Add the extra vehicular activity, we have to put on a space suit.
Once you bring the suit you go inside the airlock where the pressure, temperature and things like that adjust to those of the outside world.
When you go do your research outside, and once you come back everyone has to go back into the airlock.
Then once you address and everything the suits stay in the engineering Bay before you enter the habitats.
You’re not bringing in Anything from the outside that could be dangerous to the rest of the crew inside the habitat.
And nowadays, with the COVID-19 disease, we’re facing a similar situation where we have to protect ourselves when we go outside in many countries is actually mandatory to wear a face mask to Protect you from receiving other people’s germs.
But also if you’re sick, you don’t want to be passing on your germs to other people when you call from sneeze and so on.
In a similar way, you should treat your face mask like this space helmet that’s protecting you.
Keep that in mind.
Really try not to touch your face, pretend maybe that is a student and you couldn’t touch it.
Even if you wanted to.
And if you ever have trouble breathing because it’s too tight on your face or you’re just not used to it, it’s really important to slow down, take deep breaths, and just calm yourself down.
And the slow breathing will help you feel less anxious and you will actually get more air into your body.
So that will help you calm down as well.
[MUSIC]
Time management is vital.
It’s actually on purpose that NASA, The European Space Agency and other, the space organisations schedule a really full-time plan for every single clue member.
One of it is of course we have a lot of research and chores to do around habitat But the other reason in Florida is that it prevents us from getting bored.
People, you know, could accidentally get up to no good course they get bored and they start messing around with things or for some people it leads to depression because they’re not feeling useful.
They’re feeling like they’re wasting time.
So having an actual full program, Where everything is structured every day is vital for missions to be successful.
And I actually recommend that for everyone out having to work from home and live from home with family is to try and do that in a similar way where you’re going to schedule your program every single day.
You’re going to try and work on The same working hours as you would normally do, children try and do their schoolwork again during the similar kind of hours as they would on an everyday basis under normal conditions.
Try and keep weekends free.
It’s really important to set aside time to do fun things or things that are not work which give you a sense of relief.
So maybe even doing household chores is you know, important for a lot of people to make sure the house is clean or basically just not to be working.
[MUSIC]
The difficult part about isolation on missions is, The feeling that you’re lacking freedom in a certain way.
On missions, we are watched the whole times, we have a lot of rules to abide by a lot of work to do.
We can’t leave the habitat even sometimes when we’re [LAUGH] the other people are driving us crazy and just want to go for a walk But we can’t.
So we lose a lot of personal freedom to do what we wouldn’t like to do.
So we the solution there is trying to compensate for it somehow.
So, you know, during the mission we.
We couldn’t go to the gym but we made our own gym inside the habitat or exercise sessions.
For people today.
They could look up online courses or online exercise on YouTube of what they can do to exercise or at least go for a walk, run.
If you’re missing social contact, make sure to schedule regular calls with your friends.
If you’re used to meeting up every Friday night, at least have a Skype call every Friday night or some kind of call where you can communicate with each other.
And try and bring What you used to do to your current lifestyle in the best way possible and that’s how we would deal with isolation, we would compensate for things but improvise with the things we had available to us.
[MUSIC]
There’s always been some kind of interpersonal conflict, the the isolation, the fact that you’re you know, stuck there with.
Only the same people all the time.
You know, we’re not used to spending 24 seven with other people.
It’s just not natural we do as human beings need some time alone.
Some of us who are introverts or On the contrary, extroverts have different needs in terms of socializing.
So I recommend always find some place in time for yourself.
That was crucial during the missions in the dome is very small.
It’s only 1200 foot squared for six people to live in.
And so you can’t really go anywhere else but you have your own room.
There’s a science lab.
There’s an engineering base so these are places people kind of go to to have some alone downtime.
And I highly recommend that just you know, if you’re ever feeling like, This is too much and you know, I’m getting annoyed with people too easily.
Just tell your family your roommates, so you know, I need some time alone, just you know, give me an hour I’m just going to be in my room or wherever in the garden or whatever works for you.
Just have some peace and quiet time alone, and do this regularly.
And during those times it’s really, really important to be as patient as possible, the whole time even now yourselves keep in mind that we’re all in this together.
Everyone around the world is experiencing these kind of difficult times in a similar way, Just like on the mission, everyone is under the same kind of stress but everyone is also dealing with it in a different way.
[MUSIC]
One of the things that was really difficult during the missions is that because you’re so limited to what you have available to you, things can get a bit mundane.
The habitat itself is kinda mostly white in color and we go outside of In the NBA in a spacesuit, we’re just smelling her sweat inside the spacesuit.
We don’t get fresh air in our face, things like that.
But you can, you can have access to, going outside.
Just really important.
Try and get some fresh air, get sun in your face.
You can change things around in your household.
Maybe you can move furniture around and a new painting You can change what you’re cooking, so try a new recipe, things like that.
It’s really important to spice things up in your life.
To change things around so you don’t feel like you’re stuck in the same prison at home in a way.
But you’re adding some new elements to your environment.
Even with your hobbies, maybe try something new.
Learn You language playing you instrument things like that and adding variety to your life will really help you get through this and not feel like you know you’re really stuck somewhere doing the same thing over and over again because that’s the worst thing you can do for yourself.
Some crew members once they once the mission is over and they go back to the real world They struggle actually with the presence of other people.
That’s usually the biggest issue.
We’re so used to just being with, the six of us in the small habitat.
And suddenly you go into a store mall or even just walking down the street and the millions of people around you People struggle with that like, no too many people too much stuff happening.
And then the smaller things are yeah, getting used to the fresh food and taking showers regularly during submissions.
We don’t even get that if there’s a low amount of water available to But like with everything, you need to do everything in moderation so you can’t just like jump straight back into it or eat a huge bowl of fruit or something because your body is not used to eating that kind of food.
We got used to the freeze dried food and like eating a huge amount of something fresh can actually hurting your bodies.
You have to gradually And start adapting to Earth life again.
So basically, the key is when we go back to our Earth life is to slowly adjust, slowly bringing the elements so that we don’t get traumatized by the sudden new changes to our lifestyle.
[MUSIC]
When time is Got really tough during the mission, is whether because crew members were not getting along or we were there for so many weeks on end that we just really tired of everything and just really wanted to go home.
We kept on reminding ourselves what our purpose was.
Why are we here doing this?
For us it was we’re trying to help humans actually go to Mars and to be able to live on the moon.
So everything that we’re doing will serve this greater purpose of helping humanity.
And you’re doing the same thing today by staying home by self isolating, you’re helping prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease and you’re saving people’s lives.
You’re also helping humanity to survive and, for people to be able to go back to their normally, so Keep that in mind when times get tough.
Why are you doing this?
You’re helping people you’re saving lives.
That is your purpose.
And you know keep on reminding yourself of that even when you feeling crazy at home.



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