Sanity Ropes

Lots of people have been writing about the newness of homeworking, and how to cope…

So I’m not going to go into that in detail, but instead focus on one area which I find critical.

Sanity ropes.

What do I mean by that?

I mean a good sturdy length of metaphorical rope you know will be there to hold onto, which can save your sanity in these strange times.

So here are my top 10 sanity ropes for coping through the coronavirus - 


1. Help others.

Apart from being simply the right thing to do, this provides an enormous lift to your morale and well-being.

I’ve been holding webinars on how companies and organisations should communicate with customers, staff, and partners through the coronavirus crisis.

This was one, in my office, and newfound window on the world. 

They’ve been very well received, I’ve enjoyed hosting them, and I think they made a difference. 

That’s really helped me cope in this period of relative isolation.  

Whether it’s providing shopping for an older neighbour, helping the NHS, or sharing your skills, this is my favourite and most effective sanity rope. 


2. Exercise

My second favourite sanity rope.

Whether it’s a run, some stretches outside, a brisk walk, or a cycle ride, exercise is a powerful lift for your well-being.

It also provides a little precious social interaction (obviously from a distance of 2 metres) where you can say hello or wave at fellow exercisers.

This is my improvised gymnasium in a park in Cambridge.

All I needed was a mat and a towel for my sweat, a square of space, and that was it, we're good to go. 


3. Humans

We're social creatures, and currently being forced into an alien environment where we cannot freely go out and socialise.

It’s easy to get bogged down in working, and rarely speaking to anyone.

So always build time in your day for a chat with someone, and not necessarily about business.

I’ve seen some lovely virtual lunches, drinks parties, and even a disco to keep the spirits up.

It may sound daft, but it works.


4. New skills

Another great lift for the spirits is learning a new skill.

I was lucky in that I was working on a screenplay for my latest novel, The Editor, before coronavirus struck.

But now I’ve had more time for it, and I’m really enjoying trying to understand the art of the screenwriter, which is far more difficult than it looks.

I’ve also bought myself a professional camera to learn photography, which is another wonderful pursuit.

It’s interesting to take photos as a diary of these times.

This is central Cambridge at lunchtime on a working week day. And hardly a soul around.

I’ve even started doing yoga, which is far more difficult and painful than I ever expected.

But it certainly helps with relaxation and makes me feel good for trying something new.


5. Treats

These days of relative isolation can be long, and I find it really helps to have a treat to look forward to.

I’ve started watching classic films at the end of the working day - for the enjoyment, but also the brilliance of the storytelling.

So far I’ve done On the Waterfront, Planet of the Apes, Citizen Kane, and the Shawshank Redemption, and hugely enjoyed them all.

Even better, every single one was free.

You could buy yourself a film from one of the streaming services, get yourself a new book to read, have a glass of your favourite tipple, or cook yourself a special meal.

Here’s my favourite ale from my dear Devon, a guaranteed friend through difficult times.

Whatever they might be, treats really help to lift the spirits.


Finally, one more important point –

Never stop looking ahead.

I know these days of coronavirus can sometimes seem never ending, but we will get through them, and we will do so together.

I have great faith in the human spirit, I’ve seen so many examples of resilience and light in these days of darkness, and I know better times will come.