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I know that for a lot of us, this time is one of the hardest we’ve ever been through. The effects of the virus have been devastating. Even if we are lucky enough to not be ill or have a loved one be ill, there are still so many universal effects. Naturally, unemployment and the economic recession have affected nearly everyone in one way or another. We are all struggling with spending days inside our homes as well as fears of contracting the virus or of our loved ones contracting it. This isolation and fear have many negative effects; our freedom is taken away, we miss our loved ones, and we develop cabin fever. Being forced to stay inside can make it feel as though the virus is suffocating even those who aren’t sick with it — it can seem as if there’s no escape. It’s important to remember that the reason the whole nation is in quarantine is that it is essential and imperative, not optional. But, do not despair! I have some ways to make it easier.

Challenge yourself to something new.

If there is something you’ve wanted to try (that you can do from the comfort of your home), now is the time. You can learn how to cook, try yoga, or read that pile of books that has been glaring at you from your desk. Now is the time to do the things you had excuses to not do before. I personally have been working out more and trying new exercises that I’ve always wanted to, because now I have no excuse not to. Challenging yourself is a great way to pass the time and distract yourself from the things going on.

Try to stay moving.

On the note of exercise, try to keep yourself moving. It can be really hard when you’re made to stay inside and this makes it easier to stay sedentary. Even if you don’t realize it, being cooped up can negatively affect your mental and physical health. So roll out a yoga mat (or order one) and go online for some things you can do at home. You can also take a stroll or jog alone in your neighborhood (as long as you are careful to stay six feet away from people). Since the arrival of spring has brought nice weather to a lot of areas, it’s great to get moving and get outside.

Stay social.

Make use of FaceTime — randomly call or set up times to call the people you love. Text everyone to check in and see what’s going on. Right now, we could all use a reminder that we are not alone, that we are loved and cared for regardless of how far away our loved ones may be. For many of us, it may have been a while since we’ve seen those we love and it may be a while longer. Thus, we need to make use of the resources we have to keep in touch and do our best to minimize the effects of isolation. If you want to get inventive, you can also mail each other letters, send virtual cards, play Game Pigeon in iMessages, etc. I personally have been sending my loved ones a thousand TikToks daily.

Make your mental health a priority.

Mental health should obviously always be a priority, but it’s more important than ever during a time like this. Being alone, lack of freedom, missing loved ones, being home from school, learning online, fearing getting the virus, suffering the effects of the economy, and a plethora of other things can be extremely harmful to mental health. Thus, no matter your history with mental health, I encourage you to make mental health your top priority. This looks different for everyone, but I recommend taking a break from the news, listening to a lot of music, watching comical TV, journaling, talking to loved ones, meditating, doing yoga, eating well, and sleeping seven to nine hours a night. Right now it’s very important to escape somehow from all of the sadness and negativity. I’d also recommend tele-therapy; many therapists are doing it and many insurances cover it.

Stay positive.

I saved the corniest for last, I know. But this is really important when something so terrible is happening and when it can feel as though the world has turned upside down. It’s important to remember that we will get through this one way or another. The world may never be the same again, but we will make it through. Something that I find comforting to stay positive is seeing how the virus has brought out the best in humanity for many; I’ve seen singers giving free concerts online, restaurants donating free meals, distilleries making hand sanitizer, and regular people creating masks to donate to hospitals. If you’re looking for a way you can do your part, you can Google to find organizations accepting donations and other things you can do from the comfort of your own home. Some of these organizations include Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, and the Red Cross.

This is a really hard time and being forced to stay indoors can worsen it in many ways. Although quarantine is far from an ideal situation, I hope that these tips will help make it a little better for you. Stay inside, follow the direction of government health officials, and just try to make the best of the situation. This looks different for everyone, but the key is to do what works as an escape for you and to stay close to your loved ones. Remember that you’re not alone and we will get through this together. And lastly, like my Harry Styles hoodie says, treat people with kindness. 

Arianna Antigone

Columbia Barnard '22

Arianna is a senior at Barnard College majoring in English and looking toward a career in law. She loves exploring New York City, binging Netflix, and finding new pasta places. If you need her, you can find her sipping her third iced coffee of the day or defending her love of pasta.
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