Hi everyone, my name is Charlotte and I’m one of the members of the youth panel. I just wanted to give you some tips on how to stay sane whilst in isolation! This can be a hard time, especially for people with illnesses as it makes you feel like a sick person when you can’t leave your house. But it’s not permanent and there are steps you can take to make yourself feel better and turn this hard time into a positive.

Two years ago before I had my heart transplant I had restrictive cardiomyopathy and I was too poorly to go out so I sent an awful lot of time at home. It wasn’t easy then but it’s much harder when you feel well.

One of the main things that gets me through any challenge in life is to look for the positives. Make the most of this time at home, think of all the things you want to do but don’t usually have the time.

I will be taking this time to organise my house as we were planning on moving soon (I think we’ll be pushing that back a bit)! I’m going to pull all the clothes out of my wardrobe and throw out anything that doesn’t fit me anymore (thanks to steroids), I always feel fresher and clearer when I have a clear out.

I’ve been unable to go to the gym for a couple of months because I had a chest infection and then I didn’t want to be around the germs in the gym. I’ve ordered a couple of resistance bands and I’m going to do some workout videos at home from my favourite ‘fitness guru’ Grace Beverley. But I think I’ll take this time to get creative and make some of my own workout plans while I have the time, and then I can use them when I get back to the gym. It’s important to plan for the future still, imagine what your life will be like in 3 months, 6 months time.

The weather is gorgeous at the minute, even though I can’t go for walks because I’m immunosuppressed, I plan on sitting in the garden to eat my lunch. Sitting in the sun always lifts my spirits and I have 2 bunny rabbits that live inside that like to venture out into the sun as well! If you can go out for a walk each day you should, oxygen is good for the brain and fresh air makes everyone feel better, with the extra benefit of exercise!

Call your loved ones, facetime your friends, don’t cut yourself off from people during this time. You don’t have to see people to stay in touch. You could write a blog or make YouTube videos, learn a new skill or find a new hobby. Make the most of all this free time you have, to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

Don’t forget that you can always message one of the panel members if you want any advice or just someone to moan to! Take care and stay safe everyone.