Quarantine diaries

It’s been 28 days of quarantine today; as of 12:30 PM, Wednesday 08th March. 

And yes, it’s sad and a little scary. But it’s kind of great that we are here to experience it. We’re safe, healthy, and blessed with healthcare professionals and governments that will try their best to keep you healthy in the case that you’re not (healthy, that is).

Don’t call it the Chinese virus. That’s not nice. The Chinese are nice.

So, here is how I am staying positive and learning to enjoy my quarantine. If you are an extrovert that thrives on social interactions (like I am) these may be anxious times for you. Or you may discover a closeted introvert in yourself (also, like I did).

1) End your day by setting a plan for the day to come. Make a list of what needs to be done; that helps to give you purpose when you wake up.

2) “Eat the Frog First”

You will want to procrastinate, especially if you’re new to working remotely. If you have a list of things to get done, and the hardest thing on the list is to eat a frog. Do the hardest tasks first, because then it will make everything else on the list easy and achievable. 

3) Things are slow right now and will continue to be. Don’t stress yourself. Your business plans, your KPIs, your targets - chances are you won’t be able to achieve them. Take the creativity and time you spend worrying about worst-case scenarios and focus on creating new plans.

Food for thought: Is your business model, your career, field of work taking a hard hit from all of this? Devise a backup plan. How would you alter it?

4) Set up a routine for yourself. Shower, breakfast, work, etc. But then also let go of the routine on some days.

5) Channel your inner 14-year-old during the summer holidays. Think about it. Back then we used to look forward to the three months we got off of school. We’d read, wait 36 hours for our shows to download off of LimeWire; then eat, sleep and repeat. It’s not that hard for an adult to recreate.

6) Find things to do around the house. Clean out storage rooms, pack old clothes and books for charity, and find old kitchen utensils that need changing…

7) Do something with your hands. Yes, that’s vague and a lot of people are recommending exploring new hobbies. But it doesn’t have to be a hobby. You can plant your own herb garden (I tried this and failed miserably). The initial thought process was that I wanted to avoid going grocery shopping for herbs…

FYI don’t buy potted coriander and parsley. They don’t grow. Get the seeds, like I later did, off of Amazon and leave them on the kitchen counter and forget about them. You may plan to go back and plant them if the quarantine lasts longer than 3 months.

8) Watch a new show. And get emotionally invested. The trick is definitely in the level of attachment you grow to the fictional characters.

9) Find an international friend - So you have someone to call around the clock (US time zone recommended).

10) Explore your space. Sit in rooms you don’t usually sit in. Set a meeting with your family at random times of the day.

11) Get to know your family again. Yes, a lot of us live together but we don’t actually spend time with each other.

12) Take an online course. Go online and learn something new for a change (whether you youtube something or take a structured course, do it).

13) Missing your daily coffee runs? Try brewing your own. I’ve always been a cold brew fan and I’m surprised by just how easy it's been to make my own - and it costs a fraction of what I used to pay.

14)  Try experimenting in the kitchen! I’ve ticked off a few dishes that I had never made off of my culinary bucket list:

  • Khmeer (I found it on Khalid Al Khaldis youtube channel, don’t judge).
  • Italian pizza dough (will stick to ordering in).
  • Experimented with home-made Kombucha flavors (basil and apple are my favorites!)

15) Make use of Zoom/Botim all these modes of communication du jour. May seem trivial but it is uplifting seeing everyone you miss.

Hot topics I like to throw into a conversation:

  • Covid 19 – Man-made or natural disaster?
  • What will change after all of this is over?
  • Who do you think will find a vaccine?
  • Etc… get creative!

I think what this virus has primarily done is give us all a push to the future we knew was coming. Automated processes, systems, reduced manual hours, and high technology.

Think of it as the darkest hour before the dawn of a new day.

After all, after the plague came the renaissance, and after the Spanish flu came the roaring 20’s. Keep your chin up, enjoy the slow pace, and stay safe.