A Pedacito of the “Quarantine Blues”
Updated: Jun 19
We’ve been in quarantine for almost a year now, which is pretty hard to grasp at times. I’m sure a lot of us have felt like we’ve been on autopilot for the last twelve months - just doing our daily tasks and living every day like it’s the same.
Especially when travel is a huge part of so many people’s lives, it can feel strange to be stagnant - when there used to be so many calls for adventure out there. I classify this time and universal feeling as the “Quarantine Blues”. It’s a period of feeling uninspired and unmotivated, which doesn’t seem solvable until the world goes back to normalcy.
That being said, I think there are steps that we can take to battle the Quarantine Blues from our own home, making this socially distant time a little more bearable. I have come up with a few principles on how to stay sane during this unprecedented time. The first principle is finding joy in what we do have. Sure, we can harp on all of the experiences that we missed out on this past year, but all that will give us is FOMO and a whole lot of sadness. Instead, we should be focusing on the blessings that we have today. Many of us have our health, a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and most importantly, our lives. With the U.S. alone surpassing half a million cases of COVID-19, we are lucky to keep “trucking on” during a global pandemic.
Documenting the things you are grateful for in a gratitude journal can put into perspective all of the great things that we still have in our lives. I have a notes section on my phone that is a running list of things that I’m grateful for. I add to it almost every day and use it as a place of reflection when times feel tough. If writing isn’t your forte, you can say three things you are grateful for to yourself before you go to bed or when you first wake up. Just making the conscious effort to acknowledge what we have is the beauty in finding inner joy.
If you’re experiencing cabin fever, my next principle is to find your own daily adventures. If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate, going on hikes or walks around your neighborhood is beneficial for your mind and body. With many of us working from home, it’s important now more than ever to get our bodies moving after spending hours in a chair. If you live on the East Coast like me, and the weather hasn’t been so forgiving, you can break your cycle by trying things indoors. Pick up a hobby, like painting or yoga to give your mind a break. You can even support your local businesses by trying take-out from different restaurants if your diet is facing quarantine fatigue too. Finding little adventures in your daily life that take you out of your comfort zone is exactly what many of us need during this static time.
My next principle explores mindfulness as a key to de-fogging your brain. As I mentioned earlier, staying active and practicing gratitude are two awesome ways to beat brain fatigue. However, mindfulness is by far one of the best practices for your mental health. I started practicing mindfulness as a freshman in college when I was experiencing horrible anxiety and debilitating panic attacks. Sometimes even going to the grocery store would give me anxiety - it was one of the toughest things to go through. I spent a lot of this time at home due to my mental health, so I began following meditations recommended by my therapist.
The best part about meditation is that you can do it anywhere. All you need are a few quiet moments to sit there and think about nothing. This is certainly easier said than done, as our brains are wired to be on top speed 99% of the time. Once you get the swing of it, however, it can be one of the most therapeutic experiences. There are apps, like Calm, that can help you through a guided meditation if you are just starting. They use techniques like the sound of a bell to keep you focused and present. The biggest take-away from mindfulness is that it forces you to stay in the now. With such an uncertain future ahead for many of us, it’s important to stay grounded and worry about what we can control instead of what we can’t.
My final principle for beating the Quarantine Blues is to plan a staycation. We all love to travel here at Pedacitos, so why not celebrate “traveling” at home. If you are healthy and follow state guidelines, book an Air BnB in your area for yourself or with someone from your quarantine pod. There are plenty of cool places to stay overnight in: like a tiny home, a cabin, or anything that changes up your daily scenery. Air BnB must comply with federal COVID safety rules, so you don’t have to worry about staying in an unsanitary place.
If an overnight trip is not your thing right now, plan a stay-cation at home. Take a break from binge-watching Netflix and spend some time doing activities you haven’t had the chance to explore further. Pick up that book that you’ve been putting off reading and get cozy for a weekend of relaxation. Take a note from the show Parks and Recreation and treat yourself!
With everything going on in the world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or alone during isolation. Mental health is important every day but especially in the world that we are currently living in. Reach out to your friends, loved ones, or a mental health professional if you are struggling. Remember that you are not alone and we can all beat the Quarantine Blues together.
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