Thomas Howard: Take care of yourself in social isolation


Whenever I read articles about self-reflection see commercial featuring meditation or hear about a new yoga class opening near me – they’re everywhere – I have to suppress a laugh. It’s nothing against meditation or yoga. I like yoga, but the very idea of spending time examining my own mind summons up memories from “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.”

“On second thought, let’s not go to Camelot. ‘Tis a silly place.”

Spend time in my own head? Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Inside my head is a little voice, who, for this column, we’ll call Kevin. My grade school bully was named Kevin, so it’s fitting.

Spending time alone without a goal or something to do brings Kevin out to take me on a journey of my top 100 worst memories, see a slideshow of my most humiliating moments, dredge up the guilt of childhood pranks gone wrong and just generally impress upon me how worthless, pathetic and disgusting I truly am and how much other people loathe me. Kevin’s a bit of a jerk.

I don’t know when Kevin first popped up in my head, but he’s been there as long as I can remember. When I don’t practice my self-care routine, get out of the house for days on end and stay active, he comes to remind me there’s no redemption for people like me. The scary part is if I’m not careful I start to believe him.

But here’s the thing, Kevin is wrong. It took me a long time to learn that, but Kevin is absolutely, completely, without a doubt, 100 percent wrong.

No, not everyone agrees with me. Not everyone likes me. I have an active twitter account, so it’s safe to say some flat out hate me.

I’m not the smartest or the strongest or the fastest. I make mistakes, and I don’t always have the answer. I spend too much money on stupid stuff and eat too much fast food.

But I’m not worthless, pathetic or disgusting. I’m me, and that’s perfectly OK.

I tell you this because social isolation isn’t fun for most people, and of the millions out there trying to keep from getting sick or accidentally infecting others, I know there are some with their own Kevins just waiting to come out.

Whether you’re working from home, caring for others or just trying to get through this, remember to take care of yourself. Get a good night’s sleep. Exercise. Go outside at least once per day. Walk away from the computer screen every hour. Stay in touch with friends and family. Most of all remember, no matter what he says, however convincing he may be, Kevin is and always will be wrong.

Thomas Howard is the managing editor of The Newton County Appeal. He can be reached at