The Avocado Isolation Survival Support Group

Last updated: 11th April – added National Education Union link

Many of you may already be in government mandated isolation. Or you may have chosen to self-isolate. If you haven’t already, then it’s probably coming soon – this is a global pandemic and it seems no country will be spared.

None of us have lived through anything like this before. In some ways we are fortunate to have an incredible wealth of resources through the internet, and many of us can continue to work from home, which was barely possible for most people even a decade ago. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, and we’re all figuring this out as we go along. Each of us will have our own unique challenges, and I hope to gather your collective wisdom.

My only expertise here is that I’ve been living it for three weeks, and hoovering up any information I can. This page is intended to be the product of the community contributions. I’m going to add a comment for each of the sections. If you have a suggestion for that section, add it as a reply, and I’ll get it updated. Please keep on-topic to maintain the signal-to-noise ratio*. Furthermore, if I’m missing a whole section, make a suggestion – I’ll add another thread for that, and people can reply to that.

First off, I highly recommend reading RantingSwede’s excellent COVID-19 Q&A.


If you are lucky enough to still be able to get around, make sure you are prepared for lockdown. Do an inventory of your cupboards, and try to have 14 days of supplies, taking into consideration which meals you might typically have out of the house. I understand that of course not everybody has the luxury of being able to do this. Consider everything you might need:

  • Food
  • Toiletries (e.g. feminine hygiene products and moisturiser – thanks )
  • Cleaning products
  • Medicine
  • Paper/stationery (we’ve been printing a whole lot of worksheets for the kids)

Try to avoid buying WIC labelled products when stocking up, if you can afford alternatives

Get to know your neighbours, if you don’t already. Is anyone willing to be a local leader for community efforts? Can you make a local WhatsApp/Facebook/whatever group to keep in touch? Are there any vulnerable people who will need extra support?

Job hunting

  • Nickel and Diming : Earning Money on the Internet in the times of quarantines and lockdowns

More suggestions welcome.

Helping out

Yes, you can still help from your house.

Leaflet your street to create social networking groups – template here. Maybe one group for social banter to keep up spirits, and another for help requests.

Home repair

Dealing with an uncooperative landlord.

Suggestions welcome.

Mental Health

A lot of us here struggle with our mental health, and the isolation is likely to exacerbate this. If you can, try helping out locally (see above) – I found this has kept my mind focused and it feels great to make a tangible difference.

  • Lots of good resources gathered by Lyssie.
  • Sobercados – Remote AA Meetings for Quarantine
  • Suicide Prevention Reddit AMA
  • UK-specific resources:
    • Samaritans: 116 123 (24 hours a day 365 days a year) – To talk about anything that is upsetting you.
    • Shout – the UK’s first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you are struggling to cope and you need immediate help – text SHOUT to 85258.
    • Mind. Their Infoline provides an information and signposting service for people in mental health crisis – 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 (open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, except for Bank Holidays)
    • Rethink mental health advice line. Provides expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them. Telephone 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm), email:
    • PAPYRUS HOPELINE UK: 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and Bank Holidays 2pm-10pm) – If you’re under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings
    • The Mix: 0808 808 4994 (2pm-11pm Sunday – Friday) – Mental Health support for under-25s specifically.
    • Age UK: 0800 678 1602 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) – Providing information, friendship and advice to the elderly.

Parents and Teachers

For those with children, whether you are working or not, suddenly becoming a teacher is going to be a huge challenge. Doubly so if they have special educational needs. The good news is that children are amazingly adaptable – they don’t know how weird all this is!

Physical Health

It is important to stay active while you are stuck indoors.

Shopping – Online and in person

How to sanitise your grocery shopping

Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide – thanks

No Knead Bread recipe – thanks again

Social Isolation

Working From Home

Just because you’ve got a laptop and a connection to the VPN, doesn’t mean you’re prepared to work from home.

  • Getting dressed to a “casual Friday” level instead of working in pajamas.
  • Setting up a dedicated work area instead of sitting in front of the TV with my laptop.
  • Splurging on a 24″ 1920 x 1200 monitor to replace the old 17″ one; the extra screen space allowed me to sort of mirror the two-screen setup at the office.


That’s all I have for now – I’m looking forward to your contributions!

* EDIT: Feel free to just chat about your experiences in comments outside my headings.