Quarantine: Maybe It’s Not So Bad?

Many things can be done to reduce the boredom stemming from quarantine, including maintaining a schedule, adopting a hobby, connecting with friends, and going outside.

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Students across the city rejoiced upon first hearing the news that schools would be shut down. Not long after, though, fears of online classes, social isolation, and boredom started to erase those feelings of happiness at the news. Many, including myself, started to resent the idea of self-quarantine. How were we to go so long without seeing our friends? How long would it be until we all started losing our minds from being stuck in the same place with the same people every day? How were we supposed to navigate the complicated instructions and work left by our teachers to start the online class transition process?

At first, the idea of quarantine sounded horrific. It had been just a few days and I already longed to go back to school and see my friends. I even started to miss the things I formerly dreaded, such as my commute and seeing my teachers. However, as more days passed, I realized there are many things we can do to make quarantine more tolerable and—dare I say—fun.

The most important thing is to maintain a schedule and stay on top of your work. As much as we can wish, this isn’t break. Set aside time to complete your schoolwork, actually have a sleep schedule, and incorporate breaks and free time so you don’t lose your mind. Despite how boring it sounds, having scheduled time to complete your work just like you once had at school can increase your productivity and even make you feel happier. A study conducted by Daniel Schneider from the University of California, Berkeley and Kristen Harknett from the University of California, San Francisco on the happiness of different workers with different schedules found that having a predictable routine can reduce stress and improve self-control. This can apply just as well to having an at home schedule to complete your work. My family has implemented our own schedule designed to mimic what we would usually follow at school, and I’ve found it to help me stay on track with the assignments I need to do.

Pick up a hobby or two. Time that was previously spent on commute, free periods, and clubs is now gone. Now is the perfect time to find a pastime that you enjoy to fill your free time, whether that be learning an instrument, reading a book, or even playing HayDay. Hobbies are essential in preventing boredom and using your time productively. It’s important to not only find something that makes you happy, but also something that doesn’t feel like you are wasting your time. Hobbies can offer an outlet for stress, prevent the creation of bad habits, improve memory, and depending on what your hobby is, help you remain physically healthy. During this time, I’ve picked up watercolor and baking to keep myself busy, which were two hobbies that I’d been wanting to try for the longest time but couldn’t because I didn’t have the time before.

Keep in contact with your friends. It is essential to stay in contact during this time to maintain friendships and have someone to talk to. Since we cannot see them in the real world, it is just as important to connect with them digitally. Humans are social creatures; it is necessary for our mental health that we communicate with others. This time can even be used to build closer connections with those you know, as we have more time to spend with others even if we cannot see them in person. Similar to maintaining good relations with friends, now is the perfect opportunity to bond with family. You’re going to be stuck with them for a while, so there’s no harm in talking more with your family and doing things you normally wouldn’t, like playing a boardgame or exploring your family’s history. Having social connections, whether that be in person with the people around you or digitally with your friends, is an important way to fill this time.

Go outside once in a while. Staying inside all day is not the only option and can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. It’s important to go outside not just to get that vitamin D, but also to experience the many other benefits including better focus, lowered blood pressure, less stress, and improved performance. Try to go for a walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park, but be sure to maintain your distance of six feet! Almost every day, I have gone on a walk to the park near my house with my family, and it feels great to be able to have a breath of fresh air and take my mind off of work.

Use this time wisely. It’s not every day that we have a deadly virus plaguing the world and causing the need to be self-isolated in our home for months! Stay connected with family and friends, make sure to balance school work with free time, and always be mindful of your health. Try something new and maybe you’ll even find something you love that you never thought you’d enjoy before. Quarantine is whatever you make of it, and there are so many ways to get the best out of this time.