It happened… Spain has declared state of emergency and imposed movement restrictions to all the citizens and tourists current in the country. It is forbidden to get out of the house without a serious reason, which can be buying food, medicine, go to the hospital or to the bank, or return home from wherever they are. 48 million people, including me, are in lockdown, at home.
Living alone, I am not looking forward to the two weeks of quarantine, especially that I had a flight booked for later this week, which was an urgent matter, not pleasure traveling. But I have no choice. My flight is mostly certain going to get cancelled and I have no other option but follow the lockdown rules and prepare to survive two weeks of quarantine alone.
Of course, nobody tells you how to self-isolate or what you need to do when your country is on lockdown and you are not allowed to get out of the house. This is why people are panic buying everything on the shelves of the supermarkets, without realising that it’s too much, or without thinking of others as well.
For more tips on how to mentally survive quarantine, check out this article that I wrote in collaboration with many other people who are in the same situation.
Firstly, it’s important not to panic. As the lockdown caught me in a different city, I had to pack my stuff, cut my trip short and return home as soon as possible. As I was packing the car whilst chatting with the owner of the hotel where I just checked out from, the Guardia Civil pulled over asking why we were not indoors. We explained that situation and they left us alone, advising to leave as soon as possible, which I did.
I can’t lie, thinking about the lockdown made me panic, not about the quarantine itself but about the uncertainty of what the near future is going to bring. Having already set plans, flights and ferries booked, I didn’t know what to do. Airlines are cancelling flights, the borders are closing down, and I can’t get to my home, back in the UK. Sure, I could get on the next available flight and run away, but the lockdown has been set for a reason, and leaving a quarantined zone can very possibly mean that there would be chances to carry the virus with me to another place. And I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing that someone got sick, or even worse, because I chose to disrespect the rules.
So, the first item on the list of what to do when you are in quarantine for two weeks is not to panic! It’s something beyond out control and we must just stay where we are.
Things might be difficult, especially if your employer has sent you home without pay and you worry about how you are going to pay your rent or bills next month, but as this is such a unique situation that we are living in, I am positive that there will be human understanding and help for these matters. Working in the travel industry, the coronavirus has hit my finances badly, and whilst I do worry, I try to have faith that things will fall into place once this entire madness is over. Panicking doesn’t solve anything, just creates anxiety and mental health problems. Better pour yourself a glass of wine and don’t think about what tomorrow will bring.
Don’t Stay in Bed the Entire Day
Waking up and turning on the TV straight away or watching movies on Netflix the entire day will be on everyone’s mind in times of quarantine. This is not only bad for your wellbeing, but also for your body. Laying on your back the entire day and not moving your body for a long time can contribute to severe pains and muscle spasms.
Instead, get up and watch a movie from the couch. Stand up from time to time, go to the kitchen, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, play with your pets, anything but laying in bed all day.
Don’t Forget About Personal Hygiene
It’s easy to forget about personal hygiene when you feel lonely and don’t have any plans for the day. Continue your routine even if you are confined at home: brush your teeth, take a shower, brush your hair, wash your hands with soap several times a day, put some perfume on.
Your brain is used to a routine, keep it even if you are staying at home!
The way you look has an impact on the way you feel and on your productivity. Don’t wear your pajamas all day long. As a freelancer working from home, one of the rules I set to myself is to always get dressed before sitting down at my desk. Don’t let yourself go just because you have to stay at home.
If You’re Working From Home, Remember to Take Breaks
If you are used to work in an office environment, sitting on the couch with the laptop on your knees will prove very difficult. Also, without any colleagues to chat to, you can lose yourself into the work you are doing and forget about time passing. Make sure that you set alarms and take regular breaks to eat and exercise.
Try to Eat Healthy
If you are in a lockdown, such as me, you will be able to go to the supermarket to buy food. My advice would be to go early morning, just as they open, as nobody knows how long their stocks are going to last. Don’t buy more that you need, especially when it comes to non-perishable foods.
Keep in mind that a healthy diet contributes to a healthy mind, so try to include in your diet fruits and vegetables as well, besides grains and pasta – which seems to have disappeared from the shelves of the stores already.
It is proven that exercising releases endorphins, a chemical that triggers positive feelings and happiness in your body. Being isolated and alone for such a long time can have devastating effects on your mental health, so try and keep active by following exercise routines on Youtube, which you can do at home, without any equipment. You can also try yoga or meditation. If you have a Nintendo Wii console, play tennis, it’s a very fun workout.
30 minutes of exercising will improve your mood for the next 24 hours!
Do Something You Wanted to For a While but Didn’t Have Time For
Maybe you wanted to see a movie or read a book for a while but didn’t have time yet for them. With an Amazon account it’s so easy to rent a movie or download a book to read on your tablet. During the two weeks quarantine you will have plenty of time to do all the things you wanted to but never found space in your busy schedule for.
Discover New Hobbies
Learn something new and discover new hobbies. The more free time you have, the more information you can research and learn. Why not take advantage of this self-isolating period and become an expert at something new? If you like photography, check out tips for taking macro shots. If you enjoy cooking, challenge yourself to make healthy meals with the ingredients that you already have in the house. If you want to know more about websites, take a free course on coding. The list of things to do can go on and on, remember that you are still connected to the world because of the wonders of the internet, so use it to your advantage.
Call a Friend
Being alone in isolation is very hard for your mental health. You probably have friends who are in the same situation as you, so why not video call them and have a long chat? See how they are getting on, remember the good times spent together and have a laugh over the current situation. It will end sooner or later.
Have regular calls with your family as well and remind them that it is important to self-isolate even if they live in areas which are not under a lockdown.
Take Some Time For Yourself
At the end of the day, try to relax. Stressing about things that are not under your control are bad for your mind and for your body. Take every day as it is, we are all in the same situation. Invest some time into taking care of yourself: take a long bubble bath, enjoy a glass of red, pamper yourself with a face mask, listen to a meditation tape. Anything that can help you relax. We will get through this!
How do you cope with being self-isolating at home? Let’s start a conversation in the comment section below!
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