Week two of self isolation for me. It feels like we are in a movie. Pressure is being put on the IOC around the Olympics and with many athletes having to train from home these are uncertain times. With London on the verge of lockdown my own hopes of getting out more on my bike look limited.

The actual process of self isolation for me is easy. It’s like being in hospital but without the pain. The only difficult thing is the thought of wasting more of my life indoors, but when you read how fast the death toll is rising in the UK it is something I don’t even question.

I know many will struggle with self isolation and I do worry about the older population who might be at home on their own. But it has been warming to see local communities pulling together to help each other.

I haven’t seen that in London as of yet. I think the reality hit me this week when my shopping order arrived with just shower gel, some almonds, and missing all the food. Thankfully I was ahead of the mad panic and have enough food to get by, but it is worrying times for many.

If we remember Professor Steve Peters’ model of the mind, you can see everyone’s chimps going into survival mode. Remember, in this mode we don’t think

rationally, hence why the nation has going into panic buying mode.

But we should always remember there is also opportunity in adversity. I remember in 2016 coming round in ICU and discovering I was paralysed from my neck down through my left side. My first thought was “what can I do” not what I can’t do.

Next I set two long-term goals, then detached from them to live in the moment. Each day was about achieving small goals, starting with just trying to move a toe or a finger.

The same is true now, this week was about trying to stand long enough to make an omelette. So if you’re on self isol-ation, try setting daily goals that will make you grow as a person. Do things now that will help you in six months. When I was in hospital I worked lots on practising the values of joy, gratitude, respect, resilience and persistence and these values have served me well since waking up paralysed.

Maybe now is the time to work on yourself more?

The one thing I hope is as a world this teaches us about compassion and to learn to be grateful for the greatest gift you have and that is life itself.

Someone who knows lots about self isolation and post trauma growth is my fellow Nike athlete John McAvoy.

At the age of 24, John was sentenced to life in jail for armed robbery at Belmarsh prison. He was in a cell on his own for 24 hours a day and his only coping mechanism was reading books or exercise. Exercise allowed him to feel like he was in control. He had a choice, he could have just lay there asking why me? Or he could make a change.

I know when I was stuck in my hospital bed 24 hours a day for months it’s so important to keep busy as you would go mad with boredom, so you start to focus on what you can do during these times. It’s not just about survival it’s about trying to thrive no matter how bad your situation is.

John learned to embrace solitude and during this time discovered he had a talent for endurance sport and an ability to suffer. Suffering is a good characteristic in endurance sport. From prison John broke three indoor world rowing records and eight British records on the Concept2 rowing machine.

His first time on it, he rowed for two hours and found his escape. He describes that moment of transcending into another world by looking at the numbers on the screen, and I have this feeling everyday I exercise – it takes me away from my reality of my life sentence of paralysis.

With no high tech sports science or fuelling on blocks of sugar he rowed for 45 hours setting a world record. This ability was seen this week when the London Marathon was cancelled. What did he do? He ran the marathon himself around Battersea Park.

In John’s words, “I can sit on a rowing machine for two days and row and not get bored. When you’re put in an environment where there’s no escape button and you can’t just get up and walk out of that room, you’re trapped and that is it.”

John found redemption in sport and was released in 2012. It would have been easy for him to slip into old habits, but he is now a professional Ironman athlete, has written a book and is backed by brands such as Nike, Volvo and Cervelo bikes.

But for me, and I know for John too, the real passion and reward is not in winning races but in educating kids on the power of sport. The work he does now is

humbling and inspiring.

He has spoken in parliament and schools all over London. Remember we all have the ability to change, we just need the discipline, focus and support and then anything really is possible.

So as you panic about our uncertainty now from Covid19, when you’re forced into self isolation to help protect people’s lives like mine and other vulnerable people, do so with compassion and see it as a time to develop values and challenge yourself, much like John did.

If John McAvoy can achieve all he has from a small isolated prison cell, imagine what we can do with this time.

If nothing more, you just learn to appreciate life more.