The Mighty Logo

2 Tools You Can Use (Right Now!) to Help Take Care of Yourself in Self-Isolation

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

With so many of us stuck at home and self-isolating due to the coronavirus, a new-to humans virus that causes respiratory infection and can lead to serious or fatal health complications, we have extra stressors and struggles added onto our chronic conditions. Suddenly working from home means a new routine. I am used to working from home, but still, this feels different. Then there’s the potential tension that comes with spending a lot more time with the person or people you live with.

I’ve got a couple simple tools that might help smooth things out for you (and your relationships) as you adapt to this new life.

First, a review of Splat. Talking Splat acknowledges that every day, those of us with chronic illnesses and/or mental health diagnoses feel like we’ve been run over by something. It’s just by a different vehicle on different days. We communicate how we’re feeling based on what vehicle, or “Splatus,” we’re at on a given day.

The vehicles, from lightest to heaviest, are:

  • Moped (motorbike)
  • Eurocar (like a Fiat or a Mini)
  • Sedan (this is the “average” day for us)
  • Pickup truck
  • Tractor trailer
  • Freight train
  • Asteroid

OK, an asteroid isn’t exactly a vehicle, but it came about when I asked, “What can I be hit by that’s heavier than a freight train.” And feeling like I’m little more than a squashed thing in a crater some days feels pretty authentic.

So, it’s kind of like the pain scale, except it doesn’t have those morose faces and it acknowledges the essential fact that yes, there’s always something with us. (Check out the full descriptions of the vehicles here.)

There are a ton of reasons and applications to Splat, which is why I wrote two books about it. But right now, I want to focus on my favorite thing to use Splat for, and that’s the…

Impact Map

The Impact Map is a guide for Splatties (that’s those of us with the chronic stuff) to:

  • (Finally!) establish a routine
  • Put a stop to guilt
  • Prevent making excuses

All it is, is a table that you can draw (or print out my template) that determines what you’re going to get accomplished each day. Along the left, you label rows to account for the different Splatus vehicles. I lump mine together so there’s a moped-Eurocar-sedan (M-E-S) row, a pickup-truck-tractor-trailer (P-T) row, and a freight-train-asteroid (F-A) row. Then label the columns with categories that are important to your everyday life, like meal prep, work tasks, progress on your sculpture, house cleaning and gym routine. Do yourself a favor and make one column about self-care, where the worse you feel, the more you do for yourself.

I always start with the P-T row and fill in exactly what I want to get done. Then I fill in the M-E-S row where I go above-and-beyond on my better days. Finally, I fill in the F-A row, where I include only what I need to keep my life from imploding (navigating one crater is more than enough).

What’s essential as you do it is to make it as specific as possible, and where you can, include exact quantities, whether it be number of things, or duration of time. Because the point is to decide on all this ahead of time so you’re not putting yourself on the spot every day to figure out what you’ll do. You need only know your Splatus and follow the map. But if the map isn’t specific, that puts you right back in the hot seat of deciding, “OK, what’s a little bit? OK, what does ‘some’ mean?”

Here’s one of my examples:

You might want a column for your hygiene routine, which includes brushing your hair and taking a shower, or anything else you have to remind yourself to do.

How often should you make an Impact Map? I make one a week. It’s part of my Monday morning week-prep. You can even make yours a daily calendar where you list specific chores to get done each day. Make it however you like! It’s your Impact Map!

If you have Splattie friends, consider setting up an accountability group where you make and share with each other your Impact Maps every other week or so. Again, whatever helps you be successful.

Now, here’s something brand new that I designed for my latest book. It’s for “Splatvocates,” who are Splattie advocates. I call it the…

Splatvocate Map

It’s for your partner, parent, roomie, bestie or whomever is in your daily life helping you along. It’s a powerful communication tool where you can get the help you crave and alleviate your partner’s confusion and feelings of helplessness. Like I say, specifics are essential!

The Splatvocate Map has the same rows as the Impact Map. This time, the columns are:

  • what it feels like to me
  • what I need
  • what might help
  • what not to do
  • what to do for yourself

I made a template for you of this, too, that you can download here if you like.

Ideally, you’ll fill this out together and agree on the items. It’s super empowering for you both!

I pretended to have a boyfriend and made this example:

And there you have it! May these maps show your road to peace, joy and prosperity as they have for me.

Concerned about coronavirus? Stay safe using the tips from these articles:

Get more Splat at

Image provided by author

Originally published: April 2, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home