What you can learn from quarantine

By now, we’ve all (sort of) survived quarantine/ isolation. Did you know sitting on your couch could be this hard? I for sure didn’t! Even though it’s coming to an end, it’s still hard sometimes. We’re still not going out as much as we did.  

I keep sticking to the habits that I learned worked really well for me during this time. I have had my moments (and days) off, but overall I really think I am making the most of it. And I want you to experience the same thing. To be happy, also during & of course after this time. Not to ‘make to most of it’, but to grow and expand!  

And honestly, also to experience the negative sides. But with a layer of love & care. And that’s exactly what this survival guide is for. 

That being said, it can be damn hard to do. It sounds so easy, right? Stay at home. Stay inside. Do nothing. But let’s be honest; it can be very challenging. It’s doable, of course. We don’t have to go to war. But being in solitude is not our normal state of being. We’re social beings. We’re so used to being with others, we flourish while in contact. So yeah, even though it’s physically fine, self-isolating and quarantine can be quite the challenge.  

So how to make it better? And what can we take away from it? I will share some tips about how to keep the right mindset, whether to work or rest during this time, whether & how to build a routine, how to take care of your space & health and how not to become a zombie (which might be my favorite tip, scroll to the end for this one!).  

I hope y’all make the most of this time. It’s a chance to grow, to rest, to reflect. It’s time to BE.  

Or are you feeling fine and just a bit bored? I’ve also compiled a list of new hobbies to try while staying home. Check that one out if you need some inspo on what to do with your time! 

Mind your mindset 

Yes. These are troubling times. Yes, a lot of hurting and pain is going on in the world right now. And no, that doesn’t mean you should give in to it. As always, it’s not the circumstances that matter most, but how you react to it.  

  • What can you control? When something is out of your control, stop trying to control it. What does that mean in this scenario? Figure out what you can control, and what you cannot. For example, you can’t control the fact that you should stay at home. You can’t control the fact that there is a virus. But you cán control how you spend your time at home. You can control what you are doing to stay safe (e.g. washing your hands).  
  • Try to stay positive. Don’t give in to negative thinking. Don’t ever do that, actually, and also don’t see this as an excuse to do it now. It’s so easy to do. Because now it can seem that you have the right to. But you know what? You have the right to stay positive just as much. Sometimes it can feel like you should feel down with everything going on. But you don’t have to. There’s always a choice. Please don’t go tell people it’s the best time ever when they are going through losses and pain either, but stay positive nevertheless. 
  • Remember this situation is just temporary. Yes, we have no idea how the world is going to look like afterward. But we’ll find a way. Humans always do. The staying in, the isolation, it will end soon enough. Don’t let yourself get into doom scenarios. 
  • Let’s be real. If you’re reading this, you have access to the internet. You’re probably at home. You probably have food in your fridge. You’re probably bored. How lucky are you? So many people don’t have access to water, a roof, food. Stay aware of all that you have. Be grateful. It might not be the best situation and you might have had losses and crises. I’m not saying those aren’t bad. What I am saying: they don’t outdo the good things. Of course, this works both ways. Be grateful that you are safe. 

That having said; be real about your emotions and fears. It’s normal. It’s a world crisis. Stay positive, but not fake-happy. Be worried, cry, scream. It’s okay. Just keep going back to that base of optimism, of hope. Some people are just shouting about how this is the best time ever and we should all grab this chance to do more. But you don’t have to. You are allowed to be in pain, just please watch out that it doesn’t consume all of you. Listen to what emotions come up. Journal. Reflect. Take yourself seriously. 

Work and/ or rest? 

I have seen multiple people saying either of these things. ‘This is a time to work. Get up your side business. Learn a new hobby. If you don’t have your dream project done when quarantine is over, you never had too little time. You had too little motivation. OR: ‘this is a time to rest. Don’t believe the people who say you should work. Rest, that’s what the world needs. Meditate, journal, get into your heart. Don’t do too much, don’t tire yourself out. Rest’

Help, what should we do?! 

Okay so here’s the deal. Nobody has a blueprint about how you should act during a global pandemic. One; how many pandemics have we been through? Two; no situation is exactly the same. Three; everybody needs something different.  

I always like straight answers to questions like this. And I’m always disappointed. That’s a good thing though; because one size fits all answers don’t exist. And yes, that means that if you came here looking for a straight answer, you’re also going to be a little bit disappointed. I’m here to help you figure it out nevertheless. 

So, you need to figure this one out for yourself. Ask yourself these questions: 

  1. What are my obligations? 
    • Do you have to work from home? Then (obviously) do that. If you don’t work or work less than normal and are wondering what to do with extra time; see the next questions. 
    • Do you have kids? What do they need from you? Are you homeschooling? Is your partner able to help? Get a good view of how much extra time you really have.  
  2. How do I feel?  
    • Do I feel overwhelmed, stressed, worn out? Then take some time to rest. Figure out where your feelings are rooted. Live through them. 
    • Do I feel like this is a major chance? Do I feel excited? Pour that energy in work, projects, or hobbies! Tap into your body while asking yourself this question. For me, my stomach will usually tell me what’s up! It will feel cramped or full of butterflies. Listen to what your body is telling you! 

Remember; you can switch at any time. You don’t have to commit to your decision. If one day you feel like starting a major project but in a few days, you wake up and feel like shit, like the world has crashed on you. Take a day off. Also, the other way around. If you feel like you should rest but you get restless and need to get your energy out, start doing something! 

Just go with what feels right in that moment. This is, whatever path you chose, no time for extra ‘musts’. Only for extra ‘wants’. Don’t force yourself. Follow yourself. 

What to wear during quarantine? 

So, what about clothes? Do you live in your pajamas? Or dress up like you have a meeting with the president? Here are two tips: 

  1. Decide what you want to do on a certain day. Want to chill? Wear chill clothes. Want to work out? Wear workout clothes. Want to be productive? Wear what makes you feel productive. 
  2. If you are working from home for the first time, wear what you would normally wear to work, and also schedule your mornings as if you’re going to work. You might even want to walk outside for 5 minutes (if that is allowed and safe where you live) as if walking to the office. 

To routine or not to routine? That’s the question. 

If you’re used to a strict routine, and you like it, it might be pleasant to keep that going. Especially if you’ve decided to get things done at this time. Also, if you know or notice that even when taking this time to rest, you feel down when not having a routine, get back into a routine. Even if your to-do lists consist of reading, journaling, taking a walk, social media time, and listening to music.  

On the other hand, as this might be one of the few times that you don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time, you might crave some free living. Not sticking to any time obligations. You might wonder if it will work for you. 

It works best if you know you have the discipline you need to still do the things you want to do. Some people (including myself) don’t find it too easy to do things (even fun activities) when not attached to some sort of planning. If that’s you too, maybe skip the 100% free time commitment and go for a half-routine. 

There are the four half-routines: 

  1. Have a morning routine. Spend 1 or 2 hours every morning getting ready, and doing the things most important to you. After this, if you find it you don’t do too much in your free time, you can still be satisfied. 
  1. Have an evening routine. Basically, the same as number 1, but in the evening. Combined they can work very well too. 
  1. Schedule your day in time blocks, but don’t schedule inside the time blocks. So, you might schedule 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. for creativity. But at that moment, you decide if you are going to paint, write, play music or whatever you like to do. Do this for a big part of your day. Also include cleaning blocks, work blocks, movement blocks, self-care blocks, and other things you’d like to put time in. 
  1. Schedule time blocks for being free. Maybe you and routines are a match made in heaven. And you want to enjoy having free time but you just don’t want to go without your routine. Then this might work for you: plan your day as you normally would. But also schedule about 2 hours a day for free time commitment. In those hours you just do what comes to mind. If you notice you’re just lying on the couch feeling unsatisfied, you might give the block a theme (like creativity) or you might decide you want to keep with planning. But also remember- if you’re not used to deciding what to do in the moment, it might take some time until you’re comfortable with it! 

What about your space? 

Your space has a lot of influence over whether you are at ease at home or not. Whether you are productive or not. Whether you are happy or not. If you love, cherish and care for your home, you will notice it in how you live. If you give your home attention, you are also telling yourself that this space is something special. Some tips to make sure your space feels sacred: 

  • Think about air quality. Bad air is bad health. Pop open a window every now & then or get some plants. Plants are both great to make your space feel homey, but also snake plants and spider plants are well-known for clearing the toxic out of the air!  
  • Clean your space regularly. Tidy up as a habit every morning or evening- what suits you best- you have a clean and fresh start each day. Also, make sure you do a thorough cleaning before it is highly needed. Nothing demotivates like a gross space! 
  • Make it not only look but also smell enlivening by introducing some candles or essential aroma! Like this all-natural candle. Not only do they have tons of scents to choose from, it’s also all eco-friendly, made with only natural scented oils and made in America! 
  • Put some inspirational art on your walls! Art doesn’t have to be expensive either. Two of my favorites are Art Bohème with her dreamy, bohemian, pink& orange designs which make you dream of summer. And then there’s The Roaming Print Co with not only amazing digital art but also the most beautiful photographs. It’s super affordable art too because you download the art and print it out yourself! One of the creators behind it is my talented friend Chelsie, not only a great creator but also a super kind human being! The photos below are just two of her wonderful pieces:

Don’t forget your health! 

During this time of staying inside and isolated it is massively important to keep watching your health. Not only will it go less automatic, as were staying in and thus moving less. It is also so important, that with a global pandemic, we make sure our health and our immune systems are as good as possible. Of course, that level will be different for everyone, but it’s important to look after yourself. Always, but especially now. Do keep in mind I’m not a health professional, but here the points I urge you to look at: 

FOOD: Make sure you eat good food. Every now and then it’s okay to get that comfort food. But don’t lose yourself in it. Make sure you get your vitamins. If it’s an option for you; opt for organic and fresh rather than conserved food. 

MOVEMENT: Make sure you still move. I am loving Yoga with Adriene on Youtube, especially her 30 days of yoga challenges to stay moving every day. Yoga is slower and more mindful, what I need these days. Maybe you do too. Or maybe you need a more powerful outlet. Go running if that’s allowed where you live. Find what you need right now. Keep in mind that you are probably walking way less than normal and you should introduce some other movement into your normal life. 

AIR: Easy to combine with running or walking; get outside (if safe). It’s so easy to lock ourselves up in our houses now, but we need fresh air just as much as before. A lack of fresh air can cause headaches and tiredness. Find a piece of nature or a park near you that’s not crowded and go for a walk or read in the sun. Maybe where you live spring is hopping in; make sure you don’t miss this wonderful season! 

MENTAL: Don’t just stay with physical health. Take care of your mental health too. Also mentioned at the beginning of this post; find what you need. Journal, meditate, talk. Whatever you need right now to combat stress and too much of negative emotions. 

Don’t become a zombie 

Here’s a thing to look out for; create, don’t just consume. It’s something to always be wary of, actually, but it can be harder in these times. 

What does it mean? 

It means that not everything you do should be consuming. Consuming is passive. Creating is active. Creating doesn’t mean only painting or writing or another creative outlet, in this sense. It means ‘doing’ instead of ‘observing’. So cooking, working out, gardening are all covered within it.  

Let’s be real; this does feel like the perfect time to binge-watch 6 shows in a row. But will it make you feel good? Satisfied? Fulfilled? For me, that’s a hard no. And I’m assuming for you it’s too. 

Which doesn’t mean you can’t watch any show. It means there should be a balance. And it should lean towards doing more, not consuming more.  

Find new ways to express yourself! You’re a unique human being. DO something! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Man, it doesn’t even have to be nice. Create a pie that tastes horrible because you made up your own recipe. Paint the worst piece you’ve ever seen. Sing as glass breaking as you can. But do it anyway. Put something out in the world. Get your thoughts on paper. Express yourself. 

created by dji camera

And with it spend some time off-screen, which is always good to do. Find some offline hobbies. Ones you are alone with, instead of having drinks with your friends. Which is also a good hobby. But how nice would it be if it wasn’t your only one? 

Find what feels good to you. 

So that were all my tips to survive this weird & new time! I hope you thrive & grow. That you actually enjoy this time. Please share your favorite activities to do this time below, so we can all continue to inspire each other there! Also, don’t forget to share with someone who might need this.

  

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