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The Coronavirus has been the hottest topic as we’ve been bombarded with news and stories about it and the quarantine. You may even be reading this post because you’re on quarantine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to be an illness caused by a virus that is transmitted from person to person. It mainly attacks the respiratory system. But it’s a virus that hasn’t been fully researched yet, so some of its aspects are yet to be discovered.
What were some attempts to be successful in dealing with the virus?
Although some states in the United States have already reopened, governments all over the world have implemented precautionary measures (including lockdowns, the practice of social distancing, and /or stay at home orders) in an attempt to prevent more cases of the coronavirus disease. As these measures have proven effective in avoiding the further spread of the virus, in all honesty, I experienced immense shock and anxiety because of the abrupt stop of physical contact and face-to-face encounters.
The outbreak of the virus brought so much uncertainty that some were laid off from their jobs, some were not at all close to being prepared, etc. In general, the coronavirus and quarantine placed us in a position in which it will take or have already taken a toll on mental health, most especially on people with pre-existing mental health issues.
Impacts of the Coronavirus Quarantine
As soon as my university sent out an email that we were transitioning to remote learning (aka online classes), I felt seriously displaced. I dorm and work on campus, so the remote learning impacted my usual routine and source of income. Living on my own had been my “normal” that I found it challenging to transition back to living at home with all my folks. I was having crying spells, racing thoughts, and extreme lethargy because I was 100% unsure of what’s going to happen on top of having to think of the assignments I have to complete. I was pretty certain that the sudden outbreak of coronavirus and the quarantine triggered a period of depression on me.
However, after sitting with my emotions and talking to my safe network for support, I realized a lot of things. I have put together six learnings I realized during the coronavirus quarantine that helped me nurture my physical, emotional, intellectual, and social well-being.
1) Your feelings are valid.
Because of so much uncertainty, it’s possible that you may feel a lot of emotions all at once. It was overly stressful for me because it was a huge transition that I can’t stop thinking of what will happen next. I was putting myself down because I kept shoving my feelings down and forcing myself to “move on.” It was neither helpful nor empowering. I eventually thought I was becoming too hard on myself. So it’s important to remind yourself that one thing’s for sure: YOUR FEELINGS MATTER. YOU MATTER. No one asked for a pandemic, so whether you’re angry, lonely, disappointed, etc., sit with your emotions and feel them. Understand that it’s necessary to listen to what your feelings are saying. You can even write about your feelings to help you process them. You know you are doing the best you can, so be kind and gentle to yourself.
2) A routine is an effective tool.
I struggled greatly when I had to keep up with my online classes and Zoom meetings. I kept waking up at 11am, and I didn’t get up until an hour later. What happened was I was on the chase for class updates, lectures, and assignments for the week. Eventually, I decided to stick to a routine. You could at least make sure to set a specific time frame to do things. For example, every day from 11am-12pm, you could prepare for lunch. By having at least one constant thing to do, you’ll be able to have something to grip on, “control,” and manage. Days become easier and may seem more normal when you have a routine.
3) Activities for leisure are a must.
Responsibilities are unavoidable, like for me, I had to accomplish my online assignments. I had so much weight on my shoulders, and I felt pressured to do everything at once. I am a perfectionist, so it was incredibly challenging. But as soon as I allowed myself to do home workouts, rewatch a few episodes of The Office, scroll through social media, and play The Sims 4, I became more productive when I went back to work on my assignments. It felt like I pressed the reset button because I was able to blow off some steam without abandoning my responsibilities or having an outburst of emotions on someone I care about.
4) Intellectual stimulation can be fun.
While rewatching shows and playing video games are fun, it’s also exciting to do stuff that makes you think. My online classes may have been stressful, but because of the topics and assignments we had to do, it helped me focus more on academic things, like critical thinking. But intellectual stimulation is not only limited to academic learning! There are things that can help activate your creativity as you imagine the scenes described in the book your reading, or it can be fruitfully adding on to your knowledge about a certain topic explained in a documentary. You may even be able to learn a new skill by watching Youtube tutorials.
5) Your environment heavily influences your energy flow.
I realized that may have been one of the causes of my extreme lethargy was the clutter in my room. I haven’t unpacked my stuff from when I moved out of the dorm, so I have stuff lying around in a disorganized fashion. Eventually, I drew my curtains, played some music, and started tidying up. You never notice how a change in your environment affects you until you’ve cleaned up the clutter in your room. Just as simple as putting away clothes from “the chair” to your drawers and closets, it was such a big difference. It was like breathing in a brand new kind of air that motivates you to get up as soon as you wake up.
6) Virtually socialize.
Nowadays, reaching out to people can be as easy as tapping on a screen. I used to be the person who considered herself a “lone wolf,” but it was through the quarantine that I had to reprogram this thinking. By socializing with other people, especially with the people you trust and care for, you get a sense of relief that you have someone to lean on. You also get affirmed by the fact that you are not alone in your journey, whatever it may be. You might not also realize this, but the people you contact will also discover how much they are cared for and cherished by you.
We can’t deny the fact that we need other people to survive, and unfortunately due to the practice of social distancing, we are at a high risk for touch deprivation. At this trying time, I tried to soothe myself using a weighted blanket. Since it’s weighted, its pressure on my body mimics a cuddle. It made me feel cozy, comfortable, and safe. You can buy one for yourself by clicking the link below.
There are things in life that we can’t fully control (like the implementation of certain policies during a pandemic). But we can only manage ourselves and how we respond to sudden changes. In a fast-paced society, we also need to slow down and fully relax from time to time. There are several things we can do to tend for our physical, emotional, intellectual, and social well-being. We are going through a health crisis, so allow yourself to take a step back to rest and recollect yourself. Hopefully these six insights I’ve shared with you has also got you thinking. What are your realizations while you’re in quarantine?