CHEK Upside: Vancouver Island lighthouse keeper offers tips on coping with self isolation

WatchKaren Zacharuk is a lighthouse keeper just outside Bamfield on Vancouver Island's west coast. With social interactions limited to monthly grocery deliveries, Zacharuk offers an educated perspective on living in isolation.

For many people, this social isolation period isn’t something we’re used to.

But for Karen Zacharuk, it is something she’s familiar with.

Zacharuk is a longtime lighthouse keeper on Vancouver Island.

She’s currently working at the Cape Beale Lighthouse, a seven-kilometre hike from Bamfield.

Those who work at the lighthouse aren’t allowed to leave unless they’re going on vacation, as someone is required to remain at the site all the time.

Groceries are delivered by helicopter once a month and when staff are roaming the area, they carry a “cougar stick” with them.

Zacharuk says it is being surrounded by nature that makes the job worthwhile. She also says when it comes to being isolated, there are some things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable.

“Definitely make some good meals for yourself,” she told CHEK. “If you have a garden, harvest food for your garden. It just makes you feel well.”

Learning a new craft and being creative is helpful too.

“Get your creative juices flowing,” she said.

Zacharuk says one thing to avoid doing is spending so much time on your smartphone.


Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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