The Do’s and Don’t’s of Quarantine

Sydney Gager, Editor

So it really happened, we’re really online learning for (at least) the next two weeks. While it was discussed–and planned, I guess–before school ended, it didn’t really seem real. Five days in (but only one day into distance learning), it feels real.

And it sucks.

But rather than continue complaining (as most of us are doing), I wanted to post my tips for quarantine. So here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Facetime is your friend. As an introvert, I thought I wouldn’t mind being home for a long period of time. No painful small talk or unnecessary interactions, right? While this is true, I’m also the kind of introvert who needs some human interaction other than my dad. I’ve been officially stuck at home since Saturday (and stupidly chose to stay at home on Friday, thinking that I’d be allowed to go out on Saturday) and I already miss the interactions I once dreaded. When a friend proposed a Facetime, I agreed but was secretly reluctant. Usually I hate Facetimes (I’m pretty adamant about not having to socialize at random times in my own home and most of the time Facetimes are unplanned and I’m not prepared to smile at someone). Instead, I immediately felt better than I had all day. I hadn’t even understood how lonely I was until I got to talk to another teenager (and while texting is great, it didn’t make me less alone). So whether you’re an extrovert dying for interaction or an introvert who feels down, Facetime is a good way to replicate face-to-face interactions.

The schedule is in your control. I woke up in time for an 8am start today, nervous that teachers would require us to have things done by early in the morning. With the exception of an optional Live for one class, none of my assignments are due before 11:59. So, I’m officially not waking up this early for the next two weeks. Even if I have the equivalent of six hours of work, I’d rather work from 11 to 5 (or maybe 2-8) instead of forcing myself to wake up. But if you’re an early bird, get up for 8am. That’s the best part of e-learning so far. There’s no reason to work on anyone’s schedule but your own. Plus, if you need extra time in one class or finish early, you get to keep working (but make sure not to spend hours upon hours in any one class) or finish early. You don’t have to sit in the classroom for the full forty minutes–you get to move on!

Checklists are essential. Whenever you decide to do your work, write out all your assignments somewhere. This will help you make sure you don’t forget anything (which is easier than usual in google classrooms flooded with multiple announcements). Plus, you get to cross things off when you’re done!

Don’t wear your pajamas. Just because no one can see you, doesn’t mean you’ll be happy in pajamas all day. Even getting into a fresh pair of sweatpants will help create a sense of normalcy and trick you into feeling like a real person. While a day or two in pajama pants and an oversized t-shirt may be fun, you don’t want to spend your whole quarantine like this. You’ll feel even more tired and unmotivated than you would otherwise.

Exercise! Even if you’re not a particularly active person, being inside all day means a lot less motion than usual. You don’t have to do push-ups or crunches (although these are certainly recommended if you want to spend your quarantine getting into shape) but getting outside to walk will brighten your whole day. Just make sure you choose an unpopulated area to walk so that you can stay at least six feet away from other people. As well as dedicating time to exercise, it’s probably a good idea to do something in between classes. To replicate sprinting from one area of the school to another with a forty pound backpack, walk around your home for ten minutes or do jumping jacks for a minute–anything to make sure you’re not sitting for hours at a time.

Don’t be a vampire. While it’s really tempting to turn nocturnal (schoolwork isn’t due until 11:59!), sunlight is invaluable. Not just for vitamin D, but for happiness. There’s a reason people are sadder in the winter, they’re getting less sun. As the weather gets warmer, it’s easier to go sit in your back yard or go for a walk. Take advantage of these breaks from your screens (because as addicted as we were before, now we’re doing all our work online too.)

Figure out what works for you. I’ve shared what has worked best for me in the last four days of being stuck at home. While recommendations can help you develop a plan, YOU are the expert in what works best for you. Listen to yourself–don’t force yourself into working a certain way if it’s making you feel bad. Quarantine probably won’t be as fun as it seemed in theory, but it’s up to you to make it as bearable and exciting as possible. Whether the best plan is exercising more or simply taking time to read a book is going to be different for everyone. But we all have to do this, so let’s make the best of it.