An Astronaut’s Guide to Self-Isolation

Friday, May 1, is National Space Day in the US, a day dedicated to extraordinary achievements in the exploration of space. To mark the day, we’re sharing isolation advice from three-time space explorer and astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space — a big leap from growing up on a corn farm in Ontario. Enrolling in the air cadets, he worked his way up through the Royal Canadian Air Force, becoming an experimental test pilot and flying over 70 types of aircraft. In 1995, he rode his first rocket. He flew again in 2001, installing Canadarm2, a 17-meter robotic arm attached to the International Space Station. He served as NASA’s Chief of Robotics in Houston, and Director of Operations for NASA’s operation in Russia, before eventually going on to pilot a Russian Soyuz and become the first Canadian commander of the Space Station.

Chris is now an author, speaker, musician, educator, and star of his video series An Astronaut’s Guide — sharing all his current work on his WordPress site, His latest video reflects on the current COVID-19 pandemic, giving An Astronaut’s Guide to Self-Isolation. As Chris explains, he has “spent a little time in self-isolation onboard a spaceship” and managed to thrive far from his normal life, in a dangerous situation, by thinking about four key things.

One: Know the risks

Understand the actual risk. Don’t just be afraid of things. Go to a credible source and find out what is truly the risk that you’re facing right now — you, your family, your friends, the people that you care about.

Berlin Night (from space),

Two: Choose goals

What are you trying to accomplish? What are your objectives? What’s your mission for right now? Make that clear — for this afternoon, for this week, for the next month. What do you want to get done?

Ethiopian Lake (from space),

Three: Constraints

Then look at your constraints. Who’s telling you what you need to do? What financial resources do you have? What are your obligations?

Golden Gate Bridge (from space),

Four: Take action 

Once you understand the risk, and your mission, your sense of purpose, and your obligations, then, take action. Start doing things. They don’t have to be the things that you used to do before. Take care of family, start a new project, learn to play guitar, study another language, read a book, write, create. It’s a chance to do something different, that you have maybe not done before. Then repeat! 

. . . There has never been a better time to self-isolate. So many people have access to the internet, you have the entire written work of everything — all the body of knowledge right there at your fingertips.

The Bahamas (from space),

So take care of yourself, take care of your family, take care of your friends, take care of your spaceship, and I wish everybody, “happy landing.”

Watch the full video at

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