I have a confession: I thoroughly enjoy self-quarantine. To be clear, I’ve been enjoying the heck out of self-quarantine. Except for the occasional grocery store (read: Home Depot) run and walks with my dog, I’ve been locked in the house and freaking loving it.
I’m very, very, very, very lucky and blessed to be employed during this time (knock on wood), so my biggest concerns are arguably boredom, loneliness, gaining 300 lbs and constant anxiety for the physical and financial health and well-being of everyone in my ecosystem.
Typical 2020 ish, ya know?
I feel like there are a lot of people in my same position — folks who are very lucky to have our basic needs met during this time but who are struggling to enjoy and/or take care of themselves in the chaotic, unreal universe that is our current existence, so I wanted to share some of the things I’ve employed to help make this one of the most pleasant and enjoyable times of my entire life.
Spend Time Outdoors
I take two 30-minute walks (one in the morning and one in the evening) and one 45-minute walk at lunch with my dog, Mila.
And y’all, I am mad unavailable during these walks, which means I don’t take work or personal calls, texts, emails or FaceTimes. I just listen to music, listen to audiobooks or, as crazy as it might sound, listen to my own thoughts.
Not only have these walks helped me enjoy self-quarantine, but they are consistently my favorite time(s) of the day.
I also decided to maximize my outdoor space. I’ve been staring at my empty balcony for five months, but last week, I finally bit the bullet and bought some outdoor furniture and started a little balcony garden.
Now, I get to catch even more fresh air and enjoy the beautiful spring weather while social distancing. I can also eat meals, read books and do work during the day out there, which makes me feel like I have an even bigger apartment (read: v small place to self-quarantine).
My balcony has been invaluable for me to enjoy self-quarantine at the crib. Not to mention, it’s been a fun project to focus on in my down time.
Shameless plug: if this kind of project shoots fear down your spine, hop over to the HJN Design Studio — we’d love to give you a hand 😉
Socialize with Boundaries
As soon as we found out we were locked in the house, folks made sure to get REAL creative REAL fast. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had an iPhone for over 10 years, and I’ve used the FaceTime function perhaps 5 times ever before this March.
I’ve had an abundance of virtual meetings, meetups, happy hours and bible studies. And to be honest, I was pooped! My second week of quarantine, I had two virtual social hours EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Das a lot, y’all. Ya girl was tired.
I understand the need to connect, but don’t feel any type of way if you need to guard your time and energy. Just because we are home doesn’t mean we are perpetually available!
Don’t be afraid to let that call go to VM, ignore that FT or generally let people know you are unavailable. Provide some alternate times that might work for you or let them know that you are focusing on preserving your energy during this highly stressful time and will circle back with them when you can.
You’re allowed to be busy even when you’re home with nowhere to go, my love. If you want to enjoy self-quarantine, put your phone on Do Not Disturb and take some quiet time for yourself.
Focus on My Body
For better or worse, Rona has definitely got me focusing on my body. I want to be careful here because I have NOT been focusing on it in a way that’s obsessive. I’m not fearful of gaining weight.
If I gain weight, I’m still dope. A wise instagram post once said: “A snack with a little extra juice is still a snack, hunty.”
Instead, I’m focusing on how my body feels.
I’ve been stretching, strength training and going on a few runs here and there. The physical movement has been GREAT for my mood, confidence and comfort, though, and each of these fitness focuses have given me a lot of drive to use my free time to enjoy self-quarantine in ways that make my body feel really good.
Keep an Eye on Alcohol, Snacks & Nutrition
For some reason, when people started mentioning being stuck at home, I felt like I needed to run to the store and buy all of this junk food and alcohol that I just don’t normally consume in my everyday diet. For the first two weeks of quarantine, I was eating CRAP and drinking way too much alcohol.
Hashtag coping, I suppose.
The first week of quarantine, I ate no fruits and vegetables at all. Like zero. And I had a drink every night. And I felt like trash (physically and emotionally) at the end of that first week.
Now, I have a fruit and veggie goal: I try to eat a fruit and/or vegetable at every meal. I also limit my alcohol to Thursday through Sunday, and I have a water intake goal, where I try to get a minimum ounces of water every day. I have failed awfully at most of the above goals, but having the goal front of mind has really helped me be more conscious of what I’m eating.
Did I mention I also have an entire sour cream cake sliced up and preserved in the freezer for Corona consumption? Life is about balance, people.
Chat with a Professional
These are wild, crazy and unprecedented times. It’s okay to feel a lot of things you’ve never felt before.
It’s okay to feel a lot of things you can’t even name or fully describe.
After ten days of self-quarantine, I was pretty sure I was getting laid off, I didn’t have enough food to survive, I would die alone and all my loved ones would succumb to COVID-19.
Feeling rather emotionally overwhelmed, I booked a virtual therapy session. I met my regular therapist on Zoom one night after remote work, and immediately burst into tears.
But after an hour of speaking with my amazing therapist, I felt WAY better and left our virtual session with a clear plan (and a few great affirmations) to walk into the unknown with a greater sense of calm.
If you’ve been eating more snacks than you consciously want to. If you’ve been drinking significantly more than you generally enjoy. If you’ve been having a hard time sleeping or having super weird and scary dreams. If you just feel kinda weird or strange or sad or confused, you can definitely talk to someone virtually. In fact, there is nothing that I would recommend more in my very personal, not even a little bit medical professional opinion.
With all these things in place (together with an abundance of puppy love and cuddles from my dog, Mila), I’ve been thoroughly enjoying quarantine. I hope these tips help you live your best socially distant life too.