So we might have expected – a little foolishly, perhaps – that the COVID-19 pandemic would be over and done with by now.
In our defence, we’re sure we’re not the only ones.
Point being, facemasks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing have pretty much become the “new normal.” And life does go on, for sure, but sometimes something slips in and jams the cogs. Stops the wheels. Acts as a wrench and brings our life to a screeching halt.
As per the Australian health authorities, certain people meeting certain criteria are now required to entire self-isolation. If you’ve (1) tested positive for COVID-19, (2) have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 patient, or (3) entered the country from overseas, that self-isolation requirement applies to you.
Fourteen days of quarantine. What’s one to do?
We’ve got a couple of suggestions.
1. Stockpile (NOT Hoard)
If you’re going to be quarantined at home, you probably can’t get food or groceries delivered to you.
I mean, it’ll ultimately depend on the guidelines for your area, but why take the chance?
Consider this your ounce of prevention (versus the proverbial pound of cure) and stock up on some necessary essentials before you sequester yourself away. Non-perishables are always a good idea to have since they’ll undoubtedly last for more than two weeks. So grab those cans, tins, and heavily-preserved goodies.
You can have fresh fruits and vegetables as long as you have a way to keep them frozen. If not, trail mixes, granola bars, dried fruits, and packaged soups are solid healthy options that’ll keep. Some experts also recommend stocking up on drinks with electrolytes in them, like Gatorade, but always prioritize water.
You can forego your coffee, your juices, and your milk, but water is essential. (Definitely more than Gatorade)
While you’re at it, get a 14- to 16-day supply of any prescriptions you may have. (Yes; the extra two are in case of an emergency). Over-the-counter stuff like pain relievers, cold medicines, and general vitamins/supplements are also essential to have. You probably won’t need a 14-day supply for them, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Don’t forget to grab some essential first-aid stuff, too. Alcohol, antiseptics, cotton swabs, bandages and band-aids, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer—all that good stuff that you’ll likely think you’ll never use and then… one day!
But remember: stocking up is very, very different from hoarding.
Stocking up is buying maybe three or four of the same item (depending on what said item is). Hoarding is clearing out the entire shelf of antibacterial wipes.
A good rule of thumb: if you can, secure enough supplies for 21 days instead of fourteen. This will give you a decent amount of leeway and leftovers once the quarantine period is up without severely reducing accessibility.
2. Stay Physically Active
Take it from a certified introvert and couch potato; it’s going to be very, very tempting to spend your entire isolation bingeing the heck out of Netflix and lurking on socials.
I mean, this sort of behaviour is perfectly acceptable when it’s done two out of five days a week. Especially since you’re probably out being a perfectly functional adult member of society for the other five.
But in quarantine? The only walking you’ll get done will be for bathroom breaks and kitchen excursions. You might feel slightly unmotivated to take a shower since you’re not going anywhere. And you might even feel tempted to tear through any chips, sweets, and tasty treats you have in one sitting because why not.
We get it. We hear you. But you need something to keep you motivated for the next fourteen days. Otherwise, the silence is going to suffocate you and the lack of human contact is going to drive you up the walls.
The cure? Exercise.
Before you roll your eyes at us, hear us out: it doesn’t have to be a full one-hour sweat sesh or a 45-minute HIIT regimen. Unless you want to take this chance to lose some weight or tone some muscle (which is also valid, and you can totally to do), you don’t have to push yourself.
But at least try to get some form of consistent physical activity in.
Take to YouTube, find a Zumba or dance fitness instructor you can really get behind, and dance for 15 to 20 minutes a day. Maybe find a YouTube yogi and take thirty to forty minutes a day to just breathe, bend, twist, and stretch. Heck, there are plenty of “fitness YouTubers” out there with beginner-friendly 10- to 30-minute workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own living room.
The point is to keep your heart pumping, your sweat flowing, and your body active. I guarantee; you’ll thank us later.
3. … But Remember Your Mental & Emotional Health, Too
Fourteen days is a lot of time to go without seeing another human being. It might not seem all that long but, trust us; it today’s world it is. If you’re used to hanging out with friends and/or colleagues five to six days a week, it’s going to feel longer.
During this time, the isolation can take a toll on your mental and emotional well being. There’s no one to talk to outside of scheduled video calls. There’s no one to randomly discuss anything and everything with.
There’s no other living presence in your space, wordlessly assuring you that you aren’t alone. And even if you’re already used to living alone, it’s not like you can go out and take a stroll or meet up with friends when the quiet gets too loud.
Even us less-socially-inclined folk need to mingle from time to time, and taking away our option to say “no” to plans is a real bummer.
This is basically a free pass to take extra care of yourself for these fourteen days.
Meditate. Sing as loudly as you want to. Dance around. Splurge on bath bombs, bubble bath, and scented aromatic candles. Buy the movies and books that you always promised yourself you’d get “someday.” Eat what you want to eat (within reason) if you have the means to.
Waffles for dinner? Who’s going to tell you no?
And speaking of buying movies and books…
4. Plan How You’re Going to Spend Your Time
You’re going to want to stay busy. Whether that’s by alternating between YouTube and Netflix, catching up with all the podcasts you’ve been meaning to catch up with, or finally learning how to cook the perfect steak (a noble endeavour, to be sure), just make sure you have the materials you need – and then some.
Make sure you have back-up plans, too. Because not even quarantine can save a boring movie or an insipid book.
If there’s nothing good to watch, you’ll be happy you brought those drawing materials. If you can’t seem to concentrate on a particular podcast episode, you’ll be happy you brought your yoga mat. And if you just don’t feel like watching yet another How-To video, you’ll be glad you brought your kindle.
Just try to keep busy, okay? It’ll help distract you from your situation.
(And if all else fails, you could always take a nap. Thirty to forty minutes of happy unconsciousness every afternoon won’t hurt anyone).
5. Review the Guidelines
And lastly, review the guidelines and stipulations for quarantine in your area. The rules will differ depending on which city, state, or subdivision you’re in.
Some will be more lenient than others. Some might impose curfews or require daily check-ins. Some might have pre- and/or post-quarantine requirements.
Point is, you won’t know unless you ask, and ignorance is never really an excuse.
Fourteen days of isolation is a lot to ask of anybody, but hopefully, you found some helpful tips in this list. The pandemic doesn’t seem to be dying down as quickly as we’d all hoped, so the best thing we can do to fight it is abiding by the rules.
Stuck in quarantine and can’t see your fellow man (or woman), why not give them a helping hand? We’ve pulled together a handy guide of volunteer exercises you can do all from the safety of your couch.