By Chelsea Furr
Before I start – here’s a little about me. I am firmly set somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert. It depends on the crowd and the person that you ask. When I am out with my friends, I am a loud chatterbox, leading the buddy system of hysterical familiars on a pub-crawl because I know that, in the end, I can crawl back into my bed to recuperate.
I have enjoyed being in the office and talking to people in the kitchen, but there are some days where I have things to do and prefer to have my headphones firmly on.
But at this point, I think we can all agree that the wish not to travel into the office every morning has become relishing each shopping trip like a breath of fresh air in the blur of quarantine.
Here is a little more about me. I come in two states: one clean and tidy until I’m sick or stressed for an exam, and the other is piles of clothes and binge-watching TV until I get the panicked urge to clean and procrastinate. I hate quarantine. I hate that I can’t go to see the people that I love. I hate that the running joke is that I must enjoy this solitude. But I know that I am not doing it for myself. I am doing it for everyone else. For everyone’s immune-weak child and grandparent.
So, here is how I am staying sane.
Blast uplifting, soul-pumping music and have a dance session – I call it ‘exercise’ – and if you are doing something like the laundry, treat it like a bonus. Who’s watching? I found that by the end of my dance sessions, I’ve also managed to correct my bad posture brought on from endless hours of social media and series-binging too. So, it’s a ‘double bonus’!
Get sunlight. I know it’s hard indoors, but like a house plant (or wallflower) you need some Vitamin D. Work, read, sit, and video chat by a window. Not only will it put less of a spooky look in your camera lens, but, maybe, you’ll get a tan. This also means getting out of bed on weekends before lunch. I set multiple alarms to make sure that I get up in good time, as begrudged as I am, and it keeps me in some sort of ‘rhythm’.
We are social creatures too. Now, I am not too bad on this front, as it only takes me two weeks on average to respond to a message. But I don’t leave conversations hanging partway through. My advice is to message anyone you can to see how they are doing. Call your Mum; it will kill some hours. Hell, message your ex and clear bad blood. Email a long-forgotten friend. What are they going to do? Turn up on your doorstep? We are social animals and even if your level of socialising is the coffee barrister in the morning or that no-name in the kitchen, message them, because it might brighten up their day too.
Exercise. Good god, yes! I have been exercising in commercial breaks because, while I knew there were too many, it was starting to kill me. I have sucked dry binge-streaming of all enjoyment. Plus, getting the blood pumping after contouring your spine at your ‘home office’, or strolling with your neck kinked downwards, does wonders for your mood. Find a free workout video on the internet or just resort to advice point one and rock out on the couch.
Do anything and everything that you said you would do in your spare time. I tick-off small goals like calling my family or organising video-lunch catch-ups with friends. Take an online class. Learn a new skill. Do more than these four walls allow. I am not saying that there aren’t days that I don’t stay in bed and eat between napping. But on better days, I am chipping away at the stack of books I bought and never read. I have learned to knit and bake banana bread. I have even started developing a green thumb. Though, I could be killing these hearty succulents… I am not quite sure. I also write grocery lists and I write article pieces like this. I hope that you are doing well at this time; take each day as it comes. The current situation is out of our control. But looking after your own head and your own body is within your power. There is no perfect way to manage this time, but doing small things like checking in with your elderly neighbours and wearing a mask in public can help others as the NHS continue the fight. Good luck in staying sane and feel free to comment below with any cool ideas to pass the time. We will get through this.