5 Good Things That Came Out of Quarantine

Unprecedented. Trying. Challenging. Unpredictable. We’ve all heard of these words a thousand times since March 2020. The pandemic has been difficult for many of us, both physically and mentally. 

With us hitting the one-year mark since the start of COVID-19 in the United States, we have to accept this “new normal.” It can be painful thinking about all the “could’ve beens" if we’re not in quarantine. It is time we shed some positivity on this situation and appreciate what we do have and what we gained. 

Here are five good things that came out of the pandemic quarantine life we should take some time to appreciate:

1. Higher emphasis on mental health and work-life balance

With remote work and classes, our work and school often blend into our personal lives. This has caused additional stress to many of us and it can be extremely difficult to have a work-life balance when your workspace is also your eating and relaxing space.

Because of this, there is increasing attention on mental health and work-life balance. COVID-19 didn’t create these mental health and work-life boundary issues, it only amplified them. These are problems that existed long before the pandemic and people are now actively addressing these issues for the better because of this. 

Many employers and teachers are showing employees and students support, helping to shift their priorities and encourage them to take care of their mental health.

2. Bringing back hobbies and creating new ones

Being a full-time employee or student takes a lot out of your time, leaving you with hardly enough time to rest and eat, let alone, time for yourself. Many of us haven’t done many things for fun since….. probably high school or even earlier. 

With quarantine, many of us are using this extra time to pick up old hobbies and even create new ones. Dedicating time to learn how to crochet, practice an instrument, be creative with your paintbrush or work on a puzzle. 

These little things that used to bring us joy — it’s sad that we don’t do them as often anymore. This pandemic has reignited many of our interests and passion, allowing us to take time for ourselves and grow.

3. Opportunities to build routines

Gone are the days when we commuted for work or school. With remote work and online classes, we get extra hours every day to ourselves. This gives us the perfect opportunity to create the morning and night routine we deserve. 

Instead of rushing out to work with an empty stomach, you can spend time getting yourself prepared for the day — whether it is eating a nice breakfast, reading a book in bed as the sunlights shines through your curtain, or practicing some yoga or going for a walk outside before work. Take this chance to figure out what motivates you in the morning and what sets you up for the rest of the day. Try different things. Find your morning routine. 

The same goes for your evenings. Before the pandemic, some of us often come home late, leaving us with barely enough time to eat dinner, shower and go to bed. Now, with more time in our hands, take the initiative to relax and wind down at the end of the night. Not just because you have the time, but because you deserve it after a long draining day.

Take a bubble bath and read a nice book. Play board games with your loved ones. Watch a movie you’ve been meaning to watch. Allow yourself to unwind and get work and school-related thoughts and stress off your head before you have your good’s night sleep.

4. Focusing on our physical health

Before COVID-19, many of us are constantly walking to places. While we were physically active, many of us didn’t have time or the mental energy to focus on our physical activity. Because we’re always walking and going places, we didn’t feel too much of a need to exercise. 

Now, with 80% of our day consisting of sitting, we are putting more emphasis on physical health and exercising regularly. 

However, this can go either way. You either let this sitting lifestyle take over you, or you take the initiative to incorporate exercise and other physical activities into your daily routine. 

I’m not saying we should go to the gym five times a week to make up for all the time we’re sitting on our laptops. Do what works for you. If you’ve been physically active before the pandemic, keep up the good work. If you’re not used to exercising, start with baby steps. Try taking walks outside every day or every other day. Get used to getting out of your way and move your body after a day of work or classes. Then, once you’re used to the routine, start incorporating different exercises as part of your routine. 

5. Strengthening relationships

Last but definitely not least. Aside from physical and mental health, the pandemic has shifted our perspectives and made us prioritize family and friends. Before COVID-19, it can be easy for us to get caught up in work or school and unable to spend time with them. With the pandemic, we are now putting more value into families, friends and other loved ones. Those who live with their families are spending more quality time with them. Those who don’t are spending more time caring about them and checking in. Those who aren’t able to see their friends due to safety reasons are spending time connecting with them and building those relationships.

Like #4, this can go in different directions. If you let the situation as is, these relationships will slip away from you. On the other hand, if you turn this lemon into a cup of lemonade, you will be able to connect with your loved ones on a whole new level, increasing the quality of your relationships.   

Collegiettes, this is a difficult time for all of us. Please take care of yourselves, both your physical and mental health. Take the time to appreciate what you have and the positives about the situation. We are all in this together. It is up to you if you’ll keep complaining about the circumstances or if you make the most out of this time.