'Survivor' winner shares coronavirus isolation tips he learned after beating cancer twice

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Ethan Zohn, a former “Survivor” winner who also beat cancer twice, is sharing some advice he picked up throughout his journey of being in isolation for long periods of time.

Zohn won the third season of the reality competition series “Survivor: Africa” and has subsequently returned for spinoff seasons as well as “The Amazing Race.”

He beat cancer in 2009 only for it to return again in 2011. Now that he’s got a clean bill of health, he thinks he’s got some good insight for people who are dealing with being stuck inside for extended periods of time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He’s even come out with a handy guide that people can reference.


“Based on my time going through three ‘Survivors’ and my time going through cancer, I figured I’m an expert at surviving isolation, I guess you could say,” he explained on a recent episode of “People Now.”

The reality star began by explaining that he’s no stranger to living in fear of an invisible enemy that’s ever-present in one’s life.

“I often mention to people that when you are sick and going through a health crisis, in that moment, it’s not that difficult,” he began. “When a doctor tells you to do something or you’ll die, you pretty much do it. There’s not that much choice involved.

"But for me, once they sent me home from the hospital and were like, ‘OK, you’re in remission’ and expecting me to get my life back in order and just jump back into the life I was living before, that for me was the most difficult part."

Reality TV Personality Ethan Zohn shared a few tips for people self-isolating during the coronavirus.

Reality TV Personality Ethan Zohn shared a few tips for people self-isolating during the coronavirus. (Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

He added: “You know, living with the fear of the cancer coming back, the invisible scars, the uncertainty, that’s what was the most difficult part for me. So, getting out of that mindset and being able to live a life not full of this fear and anxiety was just a huge hurdle for me to overcome.”


He notes that his experience felt very individualized at the time, but now with the coronavirus forcing everyone to self-isolate, he suddenly has a wealth of knowledge that he’s compiling in an “Isolation Survival Guide.”

“We’re all going through the same thing at the same time. I think it’s really important to be able to lean on each other and connect with each other in this time of crisis,” he shared. “I always say, ‘Never let a crisis go to waste because it’s an opportunity to do some important things.’ And I feel like that’s what’s going on right now.”

He continued: “Anyone who is scared out there and feeling a little bit of anxiety about what’s going on, my advice is to take a step back, relax.”

A helpful piece of advice he shared was for people to tackle their anxieties in a written list. He explained that he was worried about what he would do if he contracted COVID-19. So, he sat down and wrote a list of all the proactive steps he would take should he ever test positive. Now, when anxiety about the pandemic creeps into his mind, he simply references the list and it calms him down.


He confessed to having “boxes of what-if scenarios” that helps him quell his anxiety.