How I’m Surviving (and Thriving) in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Even for someone like me who is a born and bred introvert, spending time in self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult to say the least. Here’s what has helped me cope with the new normal.

A toilet paper pattern
A toilet paper pattern

At the end of the day, I am also someone who likes to see the positive in everything, so I am trying to do that even in this crazy time. Instead of looking at this situation with despair, I am trying to make the most of it and do things I normally wouldn’t have time to do. I thought I would share a few things that have helped me stay sane during (and sometimes even enjoy) this quarantine. Maybe some of these ideas will help you too.

Instagram Live workouts

I used to be an avid YouTube workout person, but there is something about doing your workout live, with hundreds, if not thousands of other people, that makes these Instagram Live workouts so much more fun and engaging. It must be a combination of having a set time during the day to tune in, and the videos not being edited, which makes it as close to a real gym class as we will get for the next few months. It has definitely helped me get some much-needed exercise in during the week. Some favorite accounts I recommend are:

  1. @y7studio, whose not-so-average yoga classes are set to hip hop music. Each class has a “flow on your own” segment, where you can do whatever yoga moves your heart desires for two minutes. I am used to my yoga classes being instructive, so having this kind of freedom during class immediately makes me feel more creative and puts me in touch with my body, to find what movements feel best.
  2. @thesaltdrop, besides having a cool name they also have daily workouts that tone will leave you toned from head to toe. A great combination of strength training and cardio, I always feel sore
  3. @ryan.heffington, who knew dancing badly by yourself could be so therapeutic? Ryan has gained a dedicated following with his quirky moves, and will have you honking the car horn, punching the President, and singing to Celine Dion with a makeshift microphone.

Go outside once a day

I try to do this every day, but realistically it’s more like five or six days out of the week. Sometimes it’s too exhausting to put on outside pants and leave the house, but when the weather is nice it feels so nice to walk around the block, even just for 10 minutes. I’ll usually either walk to a nearby park and watch everyone’s dogs playing around, or use it as an excuse to run an errand at the post office or grab essentials and snacks at the corner store. Sometimes I like to listen to a podcast, other times I just sit on my balcony with a book and get my vitamin D. Yes, my balcony does count as ‘outside’. This, to me, is the minimum effort for a day in quarantine. If I can make my bed and leave the house once a day, I know I’m doing just fine.

Learn something new

Whether it’s attempting Pret’s cookie recipes, drawing on my iPad, attempting to do a handstand and the splits, or finally learning French on Duolingo, most of us will never have as much free time as we do now. If you can’t think of what you’d like to learn, I highly recommend checking out AllBright on Instagram. They are a co-working and education space for women, and due to Coronavirus, have shifted everything online in the form of Zoom and Instagram talks with inspiring female entrepreneurs. I love the variety of content they feature, so you can probably find something for your liking — from creating vision boards, to a skincare Q&A with Dr. Barbara Sturm, to a coaching and cocktails session with the hilarious Lynn Blades. Not everything will be for everyone, but I have found them to be a great source of inspiration over these past few weeks.

Be more forgiving to yourself than you think

As I said earlier, the majority of us will never have as much free time as we do now. For me personally, this Coronavirus pandemic feels like Groundhog Day, where the days blur into one and I keep having to check which day of the week it is. I am trying to take advantage of this crisis and make the most of the extra free time, but I am also consciously trying to do too much. It is really easy for me to set high expectations for myself, only to be disappointed when I can’t get to everything on my list. If you are like me and are sometimes too hard on yourself, remember to be forgiving. Yes, you could spend every moment of this quarantine being productive and super-efficient and maximising on your free time, but if that’s how you are on a normal day, then maybe take some extra time to relax and quiet that racing mind of yours during this special time. This is definitely something I have struggled with during the past few weeks of lockdown, but what I have found helpful is this: Decide if you want to be productive that day (or half day, or few hours). If you want to be productive, go for it, do whatever your little heart desires. But, if you’ve decided to instead have a lazy day (or half day or whatever), then embrace it fully. There’s no going back, there’s no feeling guilty for not getting X or Y done that day. You have given yourself permission to have an off day, so don’t hold back. If it helps, make some lazy-day goals for yourself, that way you still feel like you are getting something done, even if it’s an unproductive something. For example, if I am having a lazy day I will probably play Sims for a few hours, sit on my balcony and read a book, waste too much time on TikTok, and do a hair mask with Friends on in the background. And that’s enough.

Everyone is handling corona quarantine differently, so it’s ultimately about finding a pandemic lifestyle that works for you, no matter where you are and what situation you are in. Hopefully some of these tips and resources have inspired you to embrace the change a little more and try something new! I would love to hear what you’re doing to stay sane in these times, so please let me know in the comments.

Confused millennial. Unwilling participant in the attention economy. Equal parts classy & sassy. Sometimes I write about the new media & pop culture.

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