Since COVID-19 stormed the planet and changed the way we all live each day, almost everyone has been quarantined to their homes. While we take spring quarter online, restaurants have been reduced to take-out and delivery only, movie theaters and entertainment hubs have been shut down until further notice, grocery stores look like war zones with empty shelves and remaining indoors has become the new normal.
The feelings of helplessness and listlessness are just beginning, but it is also important for all of us to remain indoors and keep a positive attitude. As long as we stay indoors and remain vigilant, hopefully we can put this stay-at-home behind us soon. With every dark cloud, there is a silver lining, and looking at the silver lining to social distancing right now will hopefully help make this process a little easier.
Staying home and social distancing means that all 24 hours of every day are officially yours. There are fewer errands to run, less awkward breaks between classes, and the time you would have otherwise wasted can be put to something more productive. With this abundance of free time, it seems many Bruins have taken up new hobbies, turned to exercise or reconnected with old friends. Since we no longer have to waste the half-hour gaps between classes and no more time is spent walking to and from class, we can all use this time to clean our homes or practice better self-care routines. Take a break from classes and watch a movie you have had in your list or paint your nails with that nail color you have not quite tested out.
With all this free time, when boredom strikes, you can switch up your beauty routine and try out new products from the comfort of your own home. If you choose now to cut your hair or try out a new color, you can decide for yourself if that new look is worth taking to the streets. Be careful when it comes to changing your hair too much though if you have not ever done it yourself. Try looking through YouTube videos for professional hairstylists. The best part about being stuck at home, though, means that you have the time to change it if you mess up!
Many Bruins also seem to be taking up cooking or baking. With the application Supercook, you do not even have to worry about making the journey to the grocery store. Instead, you can find recipes from ingredients you already have. With all this added time, you can really try out new things and expand your cooking skills for apartment living when we all move back to Westwood.
Since we are all currently taking classes and working from home, commute times have officially been reduced to the few seconds it takes to open your laptop. There is no more waking up for the 30-minute trek to class or sitting through LA traffic to get to work. We are saving on gas money and driving time and helping the planet all at the same time. In this regard, we have been given the gift of time as well as a chance to help lessen carbon emissions and improve the awful air quality. Although LA traffic is not completely gone and this is not a permanent change, it is nice to at least temporarily stop and smell the literal and figurative roses.
I personally cannot remember the last time (pre-quarantine) that I just walked outside. Now, with all this down time, I have been walking almost every day and have seen many of my neighbors doing the same. With social distancing, we do not quite get to say “hi” to everyone or pet all the dogs that go by, but you can still enjoy the fresh air through the rainy season and getting out of the house.
I also cannot remember the last time I read a book that was not a textbook. With all this time, we should all be taking a break from school and enjoying a different book. With Prime Student, students receive a six-month Amazon Prime free trial. If you have not already used it, now would be a great time to take advantage of their services so you can try reading a new novel or book.
Finally, one of the things I have been taking advantage of with online classes is our ability to get more sleep. I can nap between classes or sleep in until just before my professors start lecturing. With a less strict schedule to follow, many of us have the ability to work at our own pace. We can all work to improve our sleep schedules and see what time of day we each get work done the best. We can now both get the eight hours of sleep each night that I know many of us (myself included) were not getting and maintain good grades.
Right now, in the midst of what feels like social isolation, we might feel trapped and helpless. By thinking about things in a more positive manner and focusing on the good things, life will hopefully begin to feel more manageable and less stressful. If you cannot think of anything to do, go for a walk or pick up a new hobby. As the world moves online, there are more and more virtual activities to be done and if you are really feeling down, call a friend and remind yourself that the world is still out there. Social distancing is meant to flatten the curve and hopefully, if we can all manage to remain at home for the short term, we can soon be outside for summer. So, we should all keep our chins up and remember that a little bit of selflessness now will mean an end to this all sooner.