The 5 things none of us expected about being in self-isolation.



It’s day 431 of self-isolation. Or something like that.

And as Australia sees the beacon of light in the slight easing of restrictions, we begin to step – cautiously – forward, toward our post-pandemic lives. (Of course, we’re far from there yet.)

Since the coronavirus crisis has befell the world, and unprecedented measures have upended our lives, there are a slew of lessons and observations we’ll forever keep in our back-pockets.

Watch: What you’re like in self-isolation, according to your star sign. Post continues below. 

Video by Mamamia

Of course, many of us have found a new appreciation for the simple pleasures.

But we’ve also learned some unexpected tidbits, like the fact that watching TV for 6,845 hours really isn’t that fun, Zoom calls simply suck, and not even a pandemic can inspire us to paint. Maybe that last one is just me, though.

But as we’ve pivoted away from our fast-paced everyday lives, there were a few other things none of us expected about living in self-isolation.


Despite wearing no makeup, we have bad skin.

I presumed quarantine would produce my best skin. Most of us are wearing no makeup, giving our skin space to breath. Plus, with more time on our hands, we’ve employed new, longer skincare routines.

And yet… breakouts seem to have become an almost-ubiquitous part of our isolation experiences.

Here at Mamamia, we’re calling it ‘Isolation skin’.


View this post on Instagram


I was just about to switch off from screen time for today and give my eyes / head a break to hopefully help with feeling less lethargic – but before I do I wanted to share this. I just shared on my story about how much my skin has been breaking out throughout this time at home and I just got hundreds and hundreds of messages within 10 minutes about how this is happening to a lot of us. I’ve had breakouts around my mouth (and they are the deep painful pimples around here), chin and my hair line and lots of under the skin pimples on my face. Most responses said it was from stress / anxiety. I just wanted to share in case anyone was feeling down about their skin – it’s happening to a lot of us and it is completely ok ❤️. I am lucky to be safe inside and I know they will leave me eventually when things go back to normal. P.s I just want to preface that I am so lucky with my skin and I know my breakouts aren’t big – but this is a change from my normal skin. ❤️

A post shared by Laura Henshaw (@laura.henshaw) on


According to dermatologist Dr Nina Wines, who spoke to Mamamia last month, there are a three reasons your skin probably does not look its best right now: increased stress, a change in diet, and less exercise.

We’re calling it: ‘pandemic periods’ are a thing.

When Mamamia asked women if their periods had changed during isolation, we were inundated with responses.

“I’ve had intense cramps and pain for the first time in my life,” one woman shared.

“I’ve had period pain for 15 years. This week, my period came early with no pain, nothing,” another explained.

“I had the worst pain in years,” another woman said.

Melbourne-based obstetrician Dr Joseph Sgroi told Mamamia why this is and basically, it has everything to do with stress.

“In times of stress, your body signals that this is not the most appropriate time to become pregnant. Stress can be psychological, which a lot of people are experiencing now, or physical stress like starvation,” Dr Joseph Sgroi explained.

This means the brain doesn’t produce as much of the stimulating hormones the ovary needs, which can cause your other hormone levels to become a little erratic. This will cause an irregular period, Dr Sgroi shared.

Isolation makes us tired. All the time.

We're literally doing nothing. And we're exhausted from it. Image: Getty.

We're literally doing nothing. And we're exhausted from it.

It's called 'isolation fatigue' – that feeling of mental and physical exhaustion, despite a distinct lack of... activity.

So why is this?

Well, to create more energy, you have to expend it. Basically, sitting around all day doesn’t spend much energy, but it doesn't help you gain any either.

Melbourne-based GP Dr Preeya Alexander explained to Mamamia last month, "Many people don’t realise being stressed can cause a significant degree of fatigue. These are worrying times, life has changed as we know it and there is a lot of uncertainty, and many of us are feeling stressed and perhaps a touch anxious."


"This can make us feel exhausted – lots of adrenaline constantly floating around literally wears the body and brain out – so despite not doing very much, our bodies and minds are tired."

We also have little to distract us now – meaning we are alarmingly aware of just how tired we are.

Homeschooling isn't easy.

Image: Getty.

This probably isn't that much of a surprise, but for many parents, it's become one of the biggest takeaways from this pandemic. Homeschooling really isn't that easy and it can be summed up in one word: shambolic.


Parents have been asked to assist their child in learning from home, whilst maintaining their workload, whilst also navigating life in lockdown.

But as Gabbie Stroud wrote for Mamamia, "You’re not a teacher. You’re a parent."

"No one is expecting that you’re going to be across the entire curriculum. No one is expecting that your little one/big one is going to return to school without having missed a whole heap of stuff."

On No Filter, Gabbie Stroud chats to Mia Freedman about what she wants school parents to know. Post continues below.

Some people are slightly worried about it all returning to normal.

This is perhaps the most surprising.

It goes without saying that the coronavirus pandemic has been a time of unimaginable hardship. The onset of shutdown seemed as sudden as it did drastic. One day our friends were convinced this was media-hype, and the next we had a mere four reasons to leave our homes.

Now, as restrictions begin to ease across the country and the light at the end of the tunnel shines that little bit brighter each day, there is a new kind of panic beginning to set in.

For some people, lockdown has had a favourable influence on their lives, and the thought of it returning to normal has become cause for anxiety.


You see, humans are creatures of habit. And for some, they've become accustomed and acquainted with their lockdown life.

When Mamamia asked women how they felt about returning back to 'normal', many shared their angst.

“I’ve spent seven weeks getting used to this weird little bubble and making it my own, and I’ve got to the point where I’m weirdly enjoying it,” Molly told Mamamia last week.

"I’ve only just sorted out what life looks like during lockdown and have got into a good place with managing my mental health in this new situation. The thought of another major change is daunting," another shared.

Alas, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during his press conference on Friday: "We need to restart our economy, we need to restart our society, we can’t keep Australia under the doona, we need to be able to move ahead."

Want to feel better in 5 minutes a day? We’ve got you covered with the Mamamia 7 Day Wellbeing Challenge! With easy to understand prompts each day, you’ll learn strategies and techniques to help improve how you feel in 5 minutes. Ready to join us? Sign up here.

Feature Image: Getty.

What did you find was unexpected about living in self-isolation? Let us know in the comments sections below. 

Sign up for the "Mamamia Daily" newsletter. Get across the stories women are talking about today.