Coronavirus Survival Kit: Thriving in isolation

As a Financial Planners a lot of our work is helping people retire. This involves looking at their financial circumstances and laying out a plan for funding their ideal retirement.

One important and unique process we at Lime Financial Planning take our clients through is a ‘Whole of Retirement’ assessment. This is a valuable process to ensure our clients can transition from working to not working seamlessly.

This of course involves looking at Financial Security in retirement, but also our clients routine, health and fitness, meaningful social connections, personal development and acknowledgement.

Through this process we aim to consciously identify the areas of their pre-retirement life that create fulfilment – and ensure those areas continue or are replaced in retirement - all to avoid a retirement trap that can often occur.

I see a lot of parallels to this process with retirees – for people in isolation right now.

Our normal lives have been turned on our heads, and if we are not careful we may accidentally find ourselves in distress due to ‘gaps’ in our personal fulfilment and self-esteem.

Because of that I thought it was important to take you through these areas, and a process you can follow to not just survive this lock-in, but thrive.

The 6 Areas

I am not a psychologist, and I do not claim to be. The below was a model I have adapted from a presentation on ‘psychological well-being for healthy normal’s.

I thought it was quite powerful and with our retirement clients have seen some great success.


How will you manage your routine and days to ensure as much normality as possible.

It is very easy in isolation to get up a bit later, throw on some comfy clothes and float around the house avoiding work. It is also just as easy to over-work, especially if there is no disconnection between your work location and home location.

Set yourself a routine as if you were going to work. This could include a strict start and finish time, taking a lunch break and even getting dressed for work.

This routine should extend to weekends too, work your normal week then take deliberate weekends to create some variety in your week.

Health and Fitness

What will you to ensure your health and wellbeing, both physical and psychological during this time?

This is particularly important to ensue your immune system is fighting fit should you contract Coronavirus.

Go for a walk or run. Trial the many online video-based yoga or exercise programs around at the moment. Keep moving throughout the day where possible.

You have likely gained time with no commute to and from work now as well, try to use that time to cook healthier food, with lots of variety and vegetables.

Meaningful social connection:

What can you do to ensure your social needs are met?

Everyone is different in this regard, however we all have some level of social requirements. For some maintaining a range of social connections will be paramount for our success through this period. For others, maintaining fewer stronger connections is where they feel the most benefit. Recognising where you benefit, and where those you interact benefit is very important.

Video conferencing, games and trivia seem to be all the rage right now. Try online games or just have Friday night drinks over zoom.

You also need to manage your relationships within your home, as spending 24/7 with the same people may get trying at times. One idea to help manage home-stress was a ‘fake housemate’ that lives in the home, and cops all the blame for anything not done well – dishes left out, untidiness etc.

Keep an eye out for your housemates, or partner during this time. Everyone will react differently to isolation, so be extra patient.

Checking in with your friends and family who you do not live with is extremely important as well, particularly those of us who are extroverted and rely on regular social engagements.

Personal Development:

How will you continue to grow and develop in things important to you in this time?

There are a number of courses and online programs you can look to follow. Try to find activities that can endure, and are not just over in a weekend.

For those of you with families, where possible give each other strict ‘me time’ – opportunity for you to just have a break from the chaos of the house where possible.


What are you doing to appreciate what you have, in the face of adversity?

Take time to disconnect from social media and television and clear your head, taking heed of how fortunate you are.

A lot of research shows that simply acknowledging the positives can significantly improve our moods, instead of focusing on everything that is going wrong.

You know how bad things happen in 3’s?

So do good things. Pay attention to the good things.

Financial Security:

How are you placed to manage financially during this time?

Lastly assess your financial situation during this time. Firstly, creating an accurate budget will help you make the hard decisions if you reach financial strife.

Check out our 1-3-6 blog post for an approach to contingency planning here.

If you are in financial trouble and have lost income

  1. Review your personal expenses and get rid of discretionary items where possible. Be aware however there may be implications for when this is all over, so make sure you fully understand the downsides of cancelling (such as private health insurance which has waiting periods and tax implications).

  2. Speak to you bank or landlord about an arrangement to reduce your housing expense.

  3. Ring any car finance or personal loan companies to arrange a payment deferral.

  4. Consider accessing other government support or superannuation

  5. Read more about Accessing Jobseekers here

  6. Read more about Accessing Superannuation here

  7. Read more about your Personal Insurance options here

By consciously addressing each of these areas you can hopefully not just make it through this tough time but come out of it with a better understanding of yourself and what really drives you.

I hope this can help you or someone who know during this time. If you need help working through this process you can get in touch.

Here’s how you can contact us:

Book a video or phone appointment here.

Call us on 03 9801 882 or email

If you are suffering from anxiety, stress or depression please reach out to a qualified psychologist who will be best placed to guide you through this process, and if you are really in a bad place ring lifeline on 13 11 14

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