Quarantine Survival Guide
Hi, everyone! We are at week three I believe of this lockdown. Therefore, no matter where you are, you cannot help but feel uneasy and worrisome because of everything that is going on. You feel uncertain about what to do to pass the time. You feel worried for your friends and family especially the front liners. Checking the news does not always help because it can make you worry more about the situation. Therefore, it is only right that I send out a guide to help you (and myself) survive this troubled time with our mental health intact. Here are several ways to help you survive quarantine life:
1. Understand yourself
It is perfectly normal to feel anxious at this time. You are not alone in feeling uneasy. We did not predict such a global phenomenon as Covid-19 to affect our lives this much. Never has a situation in recent history resulted in a stay at home order given by the government. Therefore, it is okay to feel like things are out of your control right now. If you are a student, you may feel depressed that your graduation or prom was cancelled. If you are a sports fan, you may feel sad that sporting events are postponed. If you were suddenly told to work from home, the adjustment is not very easy and it is okay to feel this way. The important thing to know is your feelings are valid and understanding them or even just acknowledging them will help you deal with them in a better way.
2. Keep busy
You already know that you feel sad and uneasy. What do you do next? Well, one thing that works for me is to keep my mind occupied. Distractions from worrying about the Covid-19 situation a few times per day is good to keep you mentally healthy. This does not however mean to ignore the news and live in your little bubble but it means to keep your mind occupied with things that will make you feel productive. Read a few chapters of that book you have always wanted to read. Watch an episode or two of that show everyone is talking about. Write in your diary about what you are thankful for and what things you have a newfound appreciation for. Learn a few phrases in that language you have always wanted to learn. Just like that, you will feel a little better about being stuck at home.
3. Reach out and call
If you are like me, a bit shy to just pick up the phone and call your friends and family, it helped me to just message them at least once a day. Send a picture of what you have been up to. Send a screenshot of what shows you have been watching. Send a funny meme about the joys and troubles of staying home. It does not have to be a phone call if you are uncomfortable with that but then again, Zoom is thriving right now so it does not hurt to try that, maybe seeing their faces will help you as well but it is up to you. A quick chat or phone call is all it takes not to feel alone at this time.
4. Do one thing you normally do a day
I think the sense of normalcy is what we are craving right now (other than some food items not available at this time). Normally, I can walk to a Starbucks to get a Green Tea Latte when I am feeling up to it and now, I cannot and that makes me feel sad. One thing that I found helped in easing that is creating a homemade Green Tea Latte with things I have at home such as milk and Matcha powder. Sure, it does not taste the same, but it helps me feel refreshed and calm. It is not just food. It can be exercising such as doing yoga in your own bedrooms. Anything that you used to love doing every day and at first felt that you could not do. We all have to adjust to the situation and sure, the gyms are closed and some restaurants are closed but it is time to adjust. Use your own home as a gym. Support local restaurants. Settle for homecooked meals. Welcome to the new normal and hey, you will learn to love it.
5. Set boundaries
People suddenly thrown into the work from home arrangements are not used to the difference an office makes. They may suddenly have to use their dining tables as desks. Students have to do online classes in their childhood bedrooms. They may not know how to separate their lives as employees or students to their home life. One thing my friends and family have told me is, it helps to set boundaries or form some sort of routine to separate the two things. You are an employee or student but you are first and foremost, a child, a wife, a husband, a mom or a dad, no matter the situation. It helps people deal with the situation by setting a boundary between work life and home life by setting a room or a space where it is just work or school stuff and no one can disturb them during work or school hours. Setting certain hours during the day to do work and then manage the challenges of preparing meals, cleaning, etc. afterwards. Wearing appropriate work or school outfits help separate the two as well and afterwards, it’s back to pajama life.
6. Don’t succumb to the pressure
Because of the quarantine, people feel that they have extra time to do something extreme or be something amazing after coming out. You see people on social media creating challenges of losing a certain number of pounds, perfecting a new skill, writing and finishing a book or screenplay, etc. It is normal to feel pressured but it is also okay to not do any of these things. These times are difficult and you may not have the proper resources (yes, even time), mental state, physical state, and lifestyle to accomplish these goals. Setting SMART goals is important if you do want to use this time productively but you know what, it is okay not to accomplish such a big thing at this time. You are still a good worker and person just for trying to survive these weeks in lockdown and guess what, those people who can are probably out of touch with how much actual people have to do and how much time those things actually take. Have you tried to cook a meal from scratch recently? Not that easy, huh?
7. Take it one day at a time
A meme I recently came across about quarantine is that the days of the week do not exist anymore. The new days of the week are now: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and while it does have funny undertones, this meme is meant to tell us that it is best to take things one day at a time. You may worry about what will happen next week, next month, or even next year but it is best to keep those worries at bay and focus on today. What did you accomplish yesterday? How are you doing today? What do you want to accomplish tomorrow? Have you eaten something nutritious today? Did you check up on yourself today? Did you chat with some of your family and friends today?
These are just some of the ways I am trying to manage my day. I hope these steps help you manage your days in lockdown. I hope you and your family are well at this time.
I think Piglet said it best when he said “… It’s okay not to be okay.”
We are in this together and you are not alone.