How I Stay Sane During Quarantine

Aaron Shea
Age of Awareness
Published in
5 min readApr 13, 2020
Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash

Every piece of content I see these days has one thing or another to do with coronavirus. People are stressed out and that stress leads to a sort of fixation around the object of stress, creating more stress, anxiety, tension headaches, panic, and it’s all wrapped up in a cyclical nature that leads to starting every day with dread.

So instead of fixating on the thing itself, I’m going to divulge my morning routine that keeps me sane during quarantine. Nothing here is explicitly doctor recommended and the most important thing is to find a variation that works with your schedule, but I wanted to hopefully give some inspiration through how I keep myself going during this time.

Routine helps a lot. Having a step by step process to go through everyday gives my days a sense of normalcy. Like I’m actually choosing to be inside right now, of course I could go out and about but really who needs to? So the first thing I do every morning is splash some cold water on my face and stretch. The cold water just helps me wake up, but I give myself a couple minutes to roll my shoulders back, stretch my shoulder blades, touch my toes, etc. I literally spend most of my time in a chair or on the couch and my neck has just been killing me lately, so a little bit of self love does a body good. I usually only do this for 5 minutes, just to get my body moving and my blood flowing.

Once I’m feeling like a human again, I drink a full glass of water. Not an 8 ounce wimpy piece of shit glass, but a full 16 ounce glass. Cause I’m worth it. Again, I’m not a doctor, but water is good and something about drinking a full glass before coffee or food just makes me feel like I’m adding some oil to my tin man. Truth be told I also take medicine for my stomach so I actually need to drink a 16 ounce glass of water with it first thing in the morning, but water is great so don’t question it too much and just do it.

Next thing I do is sit down and write. I open a journal and give myself 15 minutes of me time, to just write whatever comes to my head. My old creative writing teacher would open every class with a 15 minute “just write” and it’s a practice I decided to pick back up. Sometimes it’s a reflection about my day, sometimes it’s a thought experiment, and sometimes it’s semi-erotic tiger king fan fiction, really whatever comes to me in the morning.

Carol Baskin takes off her leopard print cardigan and reaches over to stroke Joe Exotic’s ferocious mullet. She looks up at him and whispers ‘I saw tiger and tiger saw man.’

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Anyway. I find that journaling for a bit gives me a sense of togetherness, a readiness to approach the day. Once I’ve finished my writing, I’ll usually eat a small breakfast and have a cup of coffee. Nothing too fancy: a bowl of cereal or some rice cakes with cottage cheese. I’m not a morning person, so the less work I have to do the better. See the lady in this picture? That will never be me, and not because I’m not a lady. As I’m eating and drinking my coffee, I’ll peruse through social media and listen to some news. Google has some quick news podcasts for the morning (usually less than 5 minutes) so I can listen to what’s going on in the world without getting consumed by existential dread. There aren’t extra links to click on or images to fixate on, just a quick listen over of what’s going on. I think we all have a moral obligation to stay somewhat informed during this time, but we have to do it in a way that doesn’t take over our world.

Then comes my favorite part of the morning: pooping. Now I don’t want to gross anyone out here, but I think that as a society we have gone too far to be incessant poop shammers. I think every young adult needs to go back and reread ‘everybody poops’ because I don’t have time for your defecation embarrassment. Yeah, there is a cause and effect relationship going on here with my coffee drinking, which I take full advantage of. Nothing is better than starting your day off light and on your toes, quite literally “dumping” the day you had before, and letting it flush away.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

So yes, I have my fecal fun and move on to the rest of my day. I get dressed in real clothes, not sweatpants or pyjamas, but clothes I would wear out and about on a regular day, and I move to another part of my apartment. I’m lucky enough to have an extra room, but I think the important thing is getting out of your bedroom and sitting on a chair that you can actually sit upright on. I grab my computer and get to work.

The kicker here is that “work” doesn’t have to be your job. So many of us have been furloughed or laid off at this point — but you need to have a portion of your day that is “work”. That could be looking for a new job, it could be taking classes online — I recommend checking out ClassCentral, Coursera, and edX — studying a new language, or your actual job if you’re fortunate enough to work from home. The point is, you need to give yourself the opportunity to get something done. You’ll be surprised how much this will change your demeanour.

From there it’s up to you. I usually try to work out once a day and go for a walk once a day, and try to not let my fitbit mock me about the fact that I haven’t hit 10,000 steps in over a month. It’s a weird time, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle. The best thing is to set yourself up for success and much as possible.

But hey, baby steps. Now if only I could put those in my fitbit.

--

--

Aaron Shea
Age of Awareness

Software engineer and literature nerd. Can be found drinking coffee and thinking about Lord of the Rings.