Forced into isolation, separated from those we love and constantly worrying about a ghost virus will likely take a toll on anyone. The coronavirus has impacted everyone’s life, whether through a job layoff, the loss of a loved one or an uncertain return to college. As for me, I got kicked out of my on-campus housing next semester and am constantly worrying about infecting my parents with COVID-19 because I work as a lifeguard every day. To keep myself from bingeing Netflix shows and scrolling through TikTok in my bed for hours on end, I look for small ways to bring myself joy in an uncertain world.
Read on for some self-care routines I’ve incorporated into my daily life to keep myself sane.
Skincare: From Pimple Popper to Certified Drugstore Skincare Tester
I don’t know about you, but I eat way more junk food at home than at college. The unhealthy diet coupled with a lack of exercise makes for oily skin and gross breakouts. Since my skincare routine revolves mostly around the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser and the Clean and Clear Dual Action Moisturizer — nothing fancy, just simple Walgreens buys — I started using the face masks I’ve accumulated from Christmas and birthdays to supplement my skincare routine or lack of one. Whenever my pores feel extra clogged or I just want to treat myself, a face mask transports me to the spa. I love the Wei Beauty golden root purifying mud mask. While sometimes I feel like face masks don’t actually do anything to help my face, the Wei brand actually makes my face feel fresh and clean instead of slimy. They cost a pretty penny but if you splurge, you can use them as an occasional treat for your skin. So during this time when we have all the time in the world, find the skincare routine or mask that works best for you and treat yo-self.
Exercise: From Couch Potato to Workout Star
Since my usual gym workouts and exercise classes were canceled, I had to adapt my workouts to the limited equipment I have at my house: a treadmill, five-pound dumbbells and a 15-pound kettlebell. Besides a walk around my neighborhood, my movement limited itself to the walk from my bedroom to the kitchen. I tried running a few times, but after each run, I felt less and less motivated to do it again. Now, I do arm exercises with the 15-pound kettlebell and use YouTube to find energizing workout videos. I started with a Zumba channel called LiveLoveParty.TV, a group of dancers who post Zumba workouts to popular music. My favorites include their workouts to “Physical” by Dua Lipa and “Power” by Little Mix. The dance group could get anyone hyped to move.
The other YouTube channel I use frequently includes MadFit. The owner, Maddie, posts short workout videos to popular songs that focus on an area of the body like arms, abs, booty/legs or full body. Her song workouts only last as long as the song does, so I can do five or six of them but take breaks in between. I especially like her 2010s dance workout video. Who wouldn’t like to exercise to the beat of “On the Floor” by J Lo and Pitbull or “Tip Toe” by Jason Derulo? The dance workouts don’t require viewers to lay on the ground, and they get me sweating like crazy. Just because we could lay in our beds all day, doesn’t mean we should. Creating good exercise habits now will pay off later.
Friendships: From Lonely Hermit to Social Butterfly
One of the hardest parts of quarantine has been not seeing loved ones face to face. To make up for the loss of those important interactions, I started using Zoom and FaceTime to keep up with friends. Their group features made it really easy to talk with lots of people like the times we’d cram twenty people into one dorm room for poker tournaments and movie nights. I also utilized Netflix Party to binge Outer Banks and Avatar the Last Airbender with friends from college.
Netflix Party allows people to watch a show or movie simultaneously on different screens and talk to each other via a chat bar on the side. Similar Google extensions exist for Hulu and Disney+. I still want to try the Scener Google extension, which allows people to video call instead of just text chatting while they watch a movie or show. Social interactions keep people from going crazy by themselves. Don’t skimp on those necessary calls and check-ins, even if the talk only lasts five minutes.
Work: From Procrastination Station to a Walking Day Planner
While quarantine can make it feel like no more responsibilities exist, I still found myself with numerous responsibilities. I had a remote internship, summer class and full-time lifeguarding job to keep me busy, but I found it hard to motivate myself to keep up with my work. To help me become more productive, I try to get my work done during the day to keep my evenings free. While I haven’t stuck to that rule perfectly, and relaxation time easily bleeds into work time, I try to stick to a routine, so I don’t get overwhelmed with work. My family may read this and laugh at how I’ve made myself seem so organized and on top of my work, but it’s the thought that counts right?
Family Time: From States Apart to Under the Same Roof
One thing I’m not short of in quarantine is family time. My sister hasn’t been home for this long since she was in college, so my parents enjoy this unexpected time with us both. To keep us from constant arguments, we all work in separate rooms. We spend most of our time together at dinner time. We eat together almost every night. Before I had no interest in learning how to cook, so I let my parents and sister handle dinner while I helped with cleanup. Over quarantine, I’ve tried to contribute more to dinner preparation by helping chop vegetables, stir pasta or make desserts. I still have a lot to learn, but I find helping my family and being able to eat what I helped cook makes family dinners more special.