Think like an astronaut — Jelena Brcic’s advice for those cooped up at home

ISS024-E-014263 (11 Sept. 2010) — NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Expedition 24 flight engineer, looks through a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station. A blue and white part of Earth and the blackness of space are visible through the windows. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Dr. Jelena Brcic of the UFV School of Business knows a thing or two about being cooped up.

Her research specialty is how people adapt to extreme unusual environments (EUEs, in the jargon of her specialty). More specifically, she studies how astronauts make a home in space and work together in close confines, and also how researchers in remote weather stations in the Arctic cope with isolation.

She has the following tips for everyone who is currently fighting the spread of COVID-19 by staying home with their families.

Think like an astronaut while staying safe at home

  1. Do meaningful work. This doesn’t have to be earth shattering meaningful work just something that’s meaningful to you! Catch up on Netflix. Read that book. Learn a new hobby. Finally do a push up. Or write a ground-breaking paper. Whatever is meaningful to you. Do it!
  2. Take time for yourself. Have a private zone, or time where you do you. Build it into your schedule. For me it’s a long shower. It could be a private room for you. Or sitting in your yard or patio. Find a private time and space and breathe.
  3. Connect with others. It’s going to have to be virtually these days but that’s what astronauts do anyway. Set up virtual dinners, play dates, karaoke, whatever. Go plan something now. Did you do it? Good!
  4. Eat dinner with your crew (or family I guess). And while you’re eating dinner together plan a group activity. Movie? Game of cards? A puzzle? Eat together and play together.
  5. Don’t forget to be funny. Crack a joke. Lighten the mood. Release the tension. Humour is a great coping mechanism when we are laughing together with others. We can’t be serious all the time so be silly too.

So be like an astronaut and stay inside and only venture out when necessary or safe.

Read more about Dr. Brcic’s research in this article fromUFV’s Skookum magazine. Find out more about her here. And follow her on Twitter at @jelenabrcic

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