‘Just laugh it off’: How to navigate quarantine like an astronaut

In space, no-one can keep themselves occupied. In order to survive isolation, an astronaut who spent 671 days above everyone else has shared his tips.



We are social animals, so it isn’t surprising that when a third of the globe’s population is confined to their homes, there is a shared feeling of dread, worried how long we will be forced to stay in isolation. 

If anybody knows how to handle such a situation, however, it is an astronaut. Fortunately, the 61-year-old veteran Russian cosmonaut, Fyodor Yurchikhin, who has made five flights to space and spent a total of 671 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS), has shared his five tips for surviving quarantine.


Value family time

Yurchikhin stresses the importance of family in trying times such as these and recommends that we use this time to “establish a completely different style of communication within the family.” He also suggests paying more attention to the children in our lives.

Fyodor sees this as the time to check off items on the to-do list too. “Take care of this today, because when the quarantine is over, you won’t get around to it again!”


Stay in contact

You’ve naught much else to do; this is the perfect time to get in contact with your loved ones. “Remember you have relatives and friends you haven’t called for centuries because you were too busy.​ Why not get in the habit of calling them every day?” Yurchikhin said.

“This is the perfect time to catch up with your friends,” (digitally, of course).


Get some fresh air

On the ISS, cosmonauts work “in an alien environment, surrounded by metal and plastic,” Yurchikhin told AFP.

“There are no trees and no plants – except for the ones used for experiments, but we treat it as if it were our home.​

“But you guys, you’re really home!

“Remember that in space, it’s really impossible to get out” or take some air. At home, you can always open the windows or step out onto the balcony, the cosmonaut says.



“Don’t forget your health!” Yurchikhin says.

Don’t let spending all day in an enclosed space impact your fitness. You do not need a gym membership to work out “at least twice a day for 30 minutes.” With many yoga or aerobics courses available online, “you can do it at home,” he says.

In fact, in some parts of the world still, you can legally leave the house to exercise. Before you choose to, though, be sure to check if you live in such a part of the world, what your responsibilities are and remember to practice social distancing.


Laugh it off

“If you only see the bad side of quarantine, it will feel like prison,” Yurchikhin said.

“So, approach this situation with humour…humour should prolong life and shorten quarantine.”




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