The quarantine has changed the way our very lives function. When Minnesota’s stay-at-home order started on March 27, it didn’t seem real. Dining out with close friends and family became distant phone conversations. Classrooms closed their doors, leaving students like me uninspired. Masked underneath everything, I realized the biggest changes were happening to the way I was feeling. I soon found myself with a stream of questions and emotion, asking “what am I supposed to do now?” Instead of focusing on all the things you can’t do, I came up with a list of things you can do to not feel like you’re in quarantine.
- Make a weekly schedule. Waking up without a plan for your day is only going to lead to a wasted day. If you don’t work right now or take summer classes, structure can be hard to find. Start by writing out the days of the week and start with activities you would like to perform every day; then, one additional thing to do differently each day.
For example, on Mondays I do house chores like my laundry and dishes. On Tuesdays, I go on a walk for 20 minutes. Wednesdays are my Netflix nights (and so on). But every morning, I wake myself up and drink a cup of coffee.
Finding something to look forward to every day and completing tasks, big or small, will keep you productive and active. Also, checking things off your list as you go will always help with staying motivated.
- Get up and get dressed. Getting ready in the morning varies for all of us. For some, it takes a couple minutes; for others, up to an hour. The point is, it is important to get ready in the morning and not spend all day in your pajamas. According to goodtherapy.com, finding helpful habits like getting ready in the morning can improve your mental health and change your mood.
Furthermore, getting ready in the morning and deciding what to wear gives us another way to find structure and productivity during quarantine. You may also want to add making your bed or saying affirmations to your morning routine. So, even if you spend an hour on your makeup in the morning only to go to the kitchen to make a bowl of cereal, it’s worth it!
- Take yourself on a date. You have got to spice it up! Choose a day of the week that seemed most exciting to you before the pandemic. (Friday night, maybe?) Cook yourself your favorite meal and serve yourself your favorite dessert. Corny enough, you could even light a couple candles. Then, for a night cap, watch your favorite movie. Seems like quite the date but the point is to do something nice for yourself and to feel good.
For my date, I decided to sit on my roof one afternoon with my roommate and listen to music and drink wine. No matter the ideal date idea, being creative can help you find a way to make it happen.
Set up a zoom party. For introverts, this is a scary thought but all this means is finding a way to interact with friends and life’s moments more like you normally would.
My birthday was in April and I could not go out to the bar or nail salon like I wanted. Instead, I put on a hot pink party dress, eyeliner, ordered a piece of pie, threw some candles on top and celebrated my birthday via zoom with my friends for an hour.
Again, not how I expected to spend my birthday but it was fun to see all my friends dress up and sing happy birthday to me. We made it work and honestly, it was fun
Redesign or organize your space. While spending more time at home, you have probably paid more attention to your living space. The colors, the comfortability of your furniture and maybe even the lack of utensils you have because they’re all dirty dishes now. I’m not saying you have to paint your living room, but maybe switching around the furniture in your bedroom or adding a plant or two could make a difference.
After the spring semester, I realized my desk drawers were full of papers (amongst other miscellaneous things). My desk was a mess! Recently, I decided to spend an hour cleaning my desk. Big or small, it was relieving to see my desk clean again and it helped me to get organized for my summer classes.
- Actually leave your house. You may not be able to visit any of your favorite businesses but you can still make new favorite destinations. A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to go on a hike, so I googled state parks. A friend and I drove up to Taylors Falls, a state park right on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The park was about an hour drive, and it has a couple trails and a beautiful waterfall. It was fun to get out of the cities and go on a road trip but also refreshing to be outside in nature again.
Be nice to yourself. This is not a time to be self-critical and perfect. For some people, this pandemic will encourage them to step it up and improve or change things in their life. For others, it might mean slowing down and making time for themselves.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum, the pandemic was unexpected and we are all learning to adjust and confront our emotions.
Even though I made this list, some days I still find quarantine difficult to navigate. However, if we all can just remember to wake up with intention, do something a little bit every day, and keep in touch with loved ones the best way we can while being nice to ourselves, I know things will begin to feel a lot less like quarantine and more like life again.