This week in our Top Tips for Isolating With… column, Nicola, who is isolating in Shropshire, gives us her top tips for quarantining back home with your parents.

Lots of us have found ourselves in similar situations; the lure of a garden and country walks being decidedly more appealing that poking your head out of a top-floor flat in Brixton in order to enjoy the sun. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy transition.

Nicola Slawson, freelance journalist and founder of About Time’s favourite newsletter: The Single Supplement, gives us the low down on what it’s like to be back at home as a fully fledged adult during these bizarre and uncomfortable times.

1. Quality over quantity

Temporarily living with your parents is different from staying with them over the Christmas break. In the latter situation, you are visiting and so want to spend as much time with them as possible. During lockdown, you don’t have to do this. For the sanity of everyone, remember it’s OK to take yourself off to a different room instead of feeling like you have to spend every second having “quality time”. The time you do spend actually hanging out with your parents will be much better if you have all had some space from each other.

2. Make it clear when you don’t want to be disturbed

If I have a yoga class on Zoom, I make sure I tell my parents so they don’t interrupt and the same goes for when I have drinks or quiz night with friends (headphones also help with the latter if you don’t want your parents to hear your mates and their inappropriate banter). Having a dedicated workspace has also helped with this. During the first week I worked from my bedroom, which was cramped and now I have commandeered an area where I can shut the door. This has really helped me separate the working day from family time and my parents know to leave me to it when I’m there.

3. It’s OK to want some of your home comforts and favourite foods

I am cooking for everyone around three times a week and am doing a mixture of new recipes (because I love cooking new things) and comforting favourites. It helps me feel more at home to eat the kind of food I would normally eat in London and it’s win-win because my parents are trying new things and get to have time off from thinking of meals and cooking.

4. Take up a shared activity

My mum and I have been busy sewing scrubs, scrub hats and uniform wash bags for the NHS as a way to volunteer our time. This has kept us busy and it’s been good for bonding to have a shared project to work on. I am also trying to persuade my dad to get out a really difficult puzzle that we abandoned a few Christmases ago.

5. Make the most of your daily exercise

During the first week my parents suggested we could walk together but I quickly realised that this was not only my one chance to be out of the house but also my one chance to be completely alone. I now relish it each and every day.

Nicola has set up another Zoom meeting on Tuesday 21st April at 8pm GMT so single people all around the world to connect. Details can be found both on Facebook and here.

See more from Top Tips For Isolating column here.