By Joe Bianchi, Staff Writer, May 2020
Over the past few months, all anyone has been able to think about is COVID-19. Word of the virus and social distancing dominates the media –– magazines give you advice about what to do while bored at home, newspapers give you statistics about the quantitative effects of social distancing, and television reporters give you an ever-growing list of famous people who’ve tested positive for coronavirus.
It makes sense that the pandemic is so widely covered because it has an effect on everyone, everywhere. Now, it's impossible to do anything without thinking about the virus because not only is there no physical escape, but there’s no longer any virtual escape. This article may seem counterintuitive because it too is a media source explaining some aspect of COVID-19, but hopefully it will help more than harm. We need some distraction now more than ever, so here are a few tips on how to escape the quarantine.
To start, try focusing on aspects of the quarantine you can control. COVID-19 has changed our lives dramatically. Some parts of life that were once manageable have now been taken away without much warning, and it can be hard to deal with. An easy way to combat this is by making a list to separate the controllable from the uncontrollable parts of life. The food you eat, when you go to bed, and the amount of time spent on your phone are all examples of controllable parts of your life that can have a large impact on your quarantine. This will help your quarantine go by quicker, because you’ll feel like you are directing your day and won’t be so concerned with everything else. Routine makes it much easier to motivate yourself to be productive.
(Try the sample schedule Mrs. O'Neill emailed us!)
Focus your time and energy into something productive during the day. Learn a new skill, pick up a new hobby, start a new project, or help your family with the chores; anything to prevent you from thinking about quarantine. Think about it like a class: You could sit and stare at the clock for an hour, or you could do something you enjoy and have the class fly by. Replace the constant intake of news about COVID with something you actually find fun, so you won’t be caught staring at the quarantine clock. Personally, I’ve found doing yard work to be the best way to pass time while we’re socially distancing. Having a distraction keeps every day a more interesting way to wait out the virus.
The next tip on how to escape quarantine is to go outside. That's it. Try to go outside as much as you can, especially since it’s been so nice out these past few weeks. During the school year, it's hard to find time to go on walks and enjoy the outdoors, but now there is no excuse for staying inside. Not only does going outside improve your mood, but it has also been proven to boost your energy levels, creativity, immune system, and focus. As long as you are practicing the social distancing protocol, going on a walk is an easy and safe way to beat the quarantine.
Lastly, call your friends! Although we can’t see everyone in person, it’s still important to socialize and keep up relationships. Even if there’s nothing to talk about, just check in and start a random conversation or watch something together. Talking to people is both a distraction and a controllable action in your life that will improve your mood and make you feel less isolated. Enjoy the extra time you have talking and try not to worry about when you’ll be able to see them next.
Although these tips may help make quarantine easier for you, they won’t make quarantine easy altogether. Just try to focus on the positives in your life (gratitude is a winner) and keep pushing through these tough times – they will pass.