Quarantine Diary, Day 3,721: Time has lost all meaning. The concept of pants with … buttons, I think the word is? … seems like a distant memory. Was there a time when I DIDN’T nap in the afternoon? In the dusty corners of my mind, I feel like I once used to stay awake through the entire day, but that can’t be right. …
Am I exaggerating? Probably not as much as I’d like to pretend that I am. I can’t remember the last time I put on a real bra. I have curly hair, so I don’t wash it super often, but now? I’m stretching out the days between washes even more.
Quarantine is getting to all of us in one way or another. Maybe it’s grazing all day. Maybe it’s losing hours to scrolling through memes and social media. Maybe it’s forgetting how you look with real clothes and makeup on. I’m not here to judge or tell you that how you’re spending your coronacation is better or worse than anyone else.
However, I’m going to gently remind you that the real world is still out there, and eventually, we will be forced to rejoin its ranks.
The real world is still out there, and eventually, we will be forced to rejoin its ranks.
I know, I know. Hard truths, tough love and all of that. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
I’m not saying that we should all suddenly shed our quarantine cocoons and immediately become beautiful real people again. But I am going to give you some tips for shaking off some of the bad quarantine habits that isolation has created so that the transition back to normalcy (whenever it happens) is easier on you!
1. Set Alarms For Waking and Sleeping
I wasn’t really joking when I started this post by saying “time has lost all meaning.” I almost never know what day it is, and the hours have started to blur together in strange ways.
If you usually have an office commute, a structured workday, or kids’ activities outside of the house, it’s probably going to be a struggle to go back to normal hours.
I recommend starting a schedule for when you get up and when you settle into bed for the night (even if you aren’t sleepy at first!). Start making small adjustments now, and it’ll be easier to shake off the “how am I still watching Netflix at 4 am?” habit you may have fallen into.
Oh, and here’s my tip within a tip: Be realistic. If you’re getting out of bed around 11 a.m. right now, don’t try to jump up at 8 a.m. the next day. Try for 10:30. Or 10:45. Seriously, baby steps are best here.
2. Take a Shower Every Day, No Matter What
Whether you shower at 9 a.m. or midnight, just do it. It’s a small and simple thing that will kick you back into the mode of looking like a human and not a cave troll. (There’s nothing wrong with embracing your inner cave troll right now, but we all know it can’t last forever.)
When you’re used to showering and putting on clean clothes every day, it will feel more natural to take the next steps of putting some effort into your hair or applying a little bit of makeup.
3. Go Outside at Least Once a Day
This one has been a struggle for me (it’s alarmingly easy to literally sit in the same place for hours at a time, yikes). But I’ve noticed that I feel much better and more human if I at least go stand on my porch for a few minutes once or twice a day.
I’m not saying to leave your house or go out and exercise (though exercising is great if you’re up for it!). Just … step out of your front door. Look at the sky. Stretch your arms. Touch some grass. Breathe in the outside for a few minutes. Walk if you feel like it, but just standing is a good first step!
4. Eat at Least One “Official” Meal a Day
When your office, gym, bar, movie theater, and classroom are all right next to your kitchen (or IN your kitchen!), it can be hard to have any kind of structure to meal times and snacking. This is especially true if you have kids, I know!
If you’ve gotten into the habit of just grazing all day, suddenly getting back to normal meals is a lot harder than you might think. Shaking off this bad quarantine habit will probably take some practice, but it’s best to get a jump on it early.
Again, start slowly and be realistic. Aim for cooking and eating one structured meal per day at first, regardless of which meal it is. Set your table, plate your food, and sit down to eat. This will start to retrain your body to a more regular eating schedule and help you cut back on the amount of bored snacking that happens.
Shake It Off!
We will get through this! One day, we’ll look back and laugh at how absurd our quarantine lives were. Between Tiger King, Dalgona coffee, panic-buying skin care, and doing random Instagram workout videos, my 2020 has been a wild ride, and I’m sure yours has been too.
When the world reopens, we’re all going to be riding the Struggle Bus as we drag ourselves back out into the blinding light of day, but hopefully my tips will help you shake off of those bad quarantine habits and jump back into normal life a little more easily.