Submarine Serviceman Gives Tips For Enduring Long Periods Of Isolation

Twitter user Jon Bailey used his experience in submarines to help people having trouble in isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. Submarine life is famous for its close quarters and crew members often spend months on steel tube deep underwater. If anyone knows how to manage isolation and claustrophobia during this time, it’s anyone who has lived on a submarine.

Bailey tweeted tips to others on how to live in isolation and cramped quarters. With government officials encouraging people to stay inside during the COVID-19 outbreak, there are a few similarities with submarine living.

During my time in the Submarine Service, I – along with many others – endured many weeks and months cooped up in a steel tube under the waves. I just thought I’d share a few coping strategies for many of you now facing a Covid-19 “patrol”.

ROUTINE: Life at sea is dictated by shifts and routines. You can tell what day it was by what was for dinner.Make a routine now, test it then write it down & stick to it. Divide your day up in to work (if home working) rest, exercise, meals, hobbies, etc. Do the same for kids.

PRIVACY: the only place private at sea was your bunk. Make a dedicated private time / place in the routine. Even if you timeshare the front room get everyone a couple of hours alone. Do whatever you want: watch shit films, pray, yoga, arrange matches: whatever gets you through.

EAT: scran onboard was usually pretty good and broke up the monotony of patrols. Take time to prepare meals. A good mix of “feast & famine” will stop the pounds piling on – one boat dis Steak Saturdays, Fishy Friday, Curry & Pizza nights. On other days soup & bread was enough.

EXERCISE: you’ll have the advantage of not having to use a spinning bike in a switchboard. 20-30mins a day of whatever as a minimum. Fitness Blender on YouTube has workouts for all. It’s a natural antidepressant, breaks up the day and keeps you healthy. Get outside when able.

CLEAN: that house is going to get grungy now you’re spending a lot more time in it. Put time in your daily routine to clean and stick to it.

CONNECT: even during radio silence we still got a weekly telegram from loved ones back home. This was a weekly highlight. Keep in touch with your people. My current work have agreed a daily “coffee” catch up online even if there’s no work to discuss.

PERSPECTIVE: like all other patrols, this one will end. It’s a shit sandwich but better than dodging barrel bombs. Don’t obsess the news or Twitter shit. Bring your world closer, focus on little things that you enjoy & make plans for the future. At least you should have a window!

As of this writing, Bailey’s Twitter thread received 38k likes and 15.9k retweets. Fellow Twitter users were grateful for the advice.

Everyone be sure to thank Bailey for his wise advice.