The New Normal : Quarantine

The New Normal, COVID-19, Social Distancing, How to Cope with Self Isolation

So many thoughts and feelings running through my mind as I sit down to write this post. So much has changed as the world is grappling with the reality of social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Here in New York City, we’re seeing the closure of public schools as well as the shut down of cinemas, libraries and museums, nightclubs and entertainment venues. Restaurants, and cafés, and bars will be closed to dining in and shift to takeout or delivery only. Many businesses have also shuttered for the time being.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this photo I shared over the weekend while out in Soho. This is an area that is always bustling so to see it so quiet is so eerie but at the same time this is what is needed now. Social distancing which is the practice of avoiding public spaces and generally limiting your movement can help slow the spread of COVID-19  which is vital right now as health officials are trying to contain the outbreak. This practice which will take some habit shifting to get used will also likely differ for everyone. It is important to do this to protect the elderly and those who are immunocompromised. At the same time we need to keep in mind that not everyone has a job that allows them to work from home and there are some people who can't afford to quarantine and still be able to keep their job. So if you have the option to stay/work from home, you should do it but don't shame and guilt trip people who don't have that option.

Life for me has changed a little. I was already working from home and followed a structured day so that hasn't changed but now my husband who is an IT Director at an international  law firm is also working from home. Our 1BR apartment is a decent size but we don't have an extra room for a home office and we share a computer desk. That's taken some getting used to nut we're making do. I actually like having him around. He's in meetings for a good part of his workday so he's on the fancy phone he brought from the office a lot. That just means that I have my headphones on more than before which is fine. I still get my writing work and my blog posts done in the same manner. I was asked if I'll still be blogging and the answer is yes. I think trying to stick with your regular routine as much as possible is important right now and this is also something that occupies my time and keeps me from feeling anxious whenever I think about the reality we're living in right now. Staying positive and calm is vital. I tend to enjoy being at home more than going out in general anyway and I'm planning to use this time in a productive as well as in an enjoyable leisurely manner. Here are some things I'll be doing.

• Cooking
I cook regularly and plan to keep doing so. I try to eat as healthy as possible to support my immune system and I think this is the best way to continue that. I'm actually looking forward to experimenting a little more and coming up with some new recipes during this time. Lots of fish and vegetables in our future and we still have some dumplings from our session in January. Also some fun stuff like burgers. Trader Joe's Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers are so good over a green salad with tomatoes and avocado. We're fortunate that there are still restaurants around us in the city that we can get delivery and takeout from when I don't feel like cooking but I really don't want to rely on that if things do get worse.

A note on panic shopping: I get that this situation threw some people into a tizzy and it just confirms why we should all always be somewhat prepared in case of emergencies. People who panic shop need to be aware that the supply chain for our grocery stores is fine and that stores will be restocking. And unless you expect to be having a case of explosive diarrhea, you need tissues for your nose for more toilet paper if you do get sick so just stop with the hoarding already. It's really unfair to the elderly and those who don't have the means to stockpile.

• Working On Home Projects
I'm going to use my extra time at home to tackle some projects that I've been putting off like the complete reorganization of our pantry, entryway closet and linen closet. Also going to get into spring cleaning mode. 

• Prioritizing My Health
Not gonna lie, this situation has given me a good deal of stress and anxiety so I’m making self care a priority. This means continuing my daily home workouts and getting my 8 hours of sleep. I’m drinking lots of water and tea and eating healthy as well as taking my vitamins and probiottics. I’ve also been taking a black elderberry syrup for immune support a few times week. I'm also back to two detox baths a week again. They are so relaxing and always make me feel better.

• Staying Informed While Staying Positive
I want to stay informed but at the same time I need to limit the amount of news I consume in order to stay sane and I'd advise everyone to do the same. The 24 hour news cycle can be fatigue inducing. I've already been limiting my screen time/social media use and will continue to do so. I have no need to overshare and have better things to do than read about the minutiae of everyone's day. I also stay away from watching any updates from cheetlolini because the mere sight and sound of him makes me ill and fills me with rage. This crisis was handled so ineptly from the onset in the US and it just shows what happens when you don't have a qualified or intelligent leader. I just hope people remember this in November. NPR is one of my go to sites for reputable news and fun information and I usually refer to the CDC for COVID-19 updates.

• Reading More
Reading more has been a goal of mine and I think with all this extra time at home I'll be able to really do it now.

• Practicing Hand Lettering
I got into hand lettering last year and fell off with it. I had forgotten how much I enjoy it now that I'm doing it again.

• Learning How To Play Chess
I don't know how and my husband's going to teach me.

• Editing And Organizing Photos
I have a huge archive of photos that need to be edited and organized and now is a good time to tackle this.

• Using All The Masks
I have a pretty amazing stash of masks and now that I'm spending so much time at home, I can use more of them. Yes there will be some new reviews coming.

• Taking Some Virtual Tours
I'm planning to get a dose of culture through the Google Arts & Culture’s collection which lets you tour museums and galleries around the world from the comfort of your own home. The British Museum in London is first on my list. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Met 360 Program also looks interesting.

• Enjoying The Little Things
We are extremely lucky that we live in the city in an apartment with a terrace and a garden downstairs.  I sometimes take these for granted but I've been going outside or downstairs for a breather when I feel overwhelmed and even when I'm not just to get some sun and air especially now that it's getting warmer. We also have a cute pocket park across the street that I like to take walks in. My husband and I usually have dinner together every night already and now we get to have lunch together as well. I think we're going to come out of this even closer than we were.

• Being Grateful
It's so easy to get caught up in a negative spiral in these trying times and when that happens focusing on the good can help to ease worries of the bad.

• Staying In Touch
Now more than ever I think it's important to stay connected and communicate with others. While I'm limiting social media, I've been reaching out more to friends through email, text and phone. Yeah the phone! Been Facetiming too. We could all use the company and support right now.

Want to hear something crazy - I had jury duty the first week of March and was empaneled on a grand jury for service through the end of the month. We've only met once since but the court where I have my service is still open and since I'm already on a sitting jury they won't excuse us. I've been calling in every day and hoping there will be an announcement that they've closed the court. I mean NYC might be on the verge of a shelter in place order and the US district court is still acting like everything is normal. My husband who actually got summoned the same day as me but at criminal court didn't get selected for a jury has been excused from his service.

We have to come to terms with the reality that the novel coronavirus outbreak is likely going to get significantly worse before it starts to get any better. We're now standing in an unprecedented place of not knowing how this global crisis will play out but it's important to remember that we’re all in this together even though it feels like we're in a dystopian movie at times. Instead of being fearful we should focus on practical action and preventative measures to stay safe and  healthy starting with staying home and staying positive.

How are you all doing?


Jackie Harrison said...

Two heads think alike I wrote something similar I just vent. lol I also started working from home my pup is happy. I have to agree stick to the schedule and add some of what we enjoy to do is helpful for our mind and soul. Stay safe dear friend.

Pilar said...

I know how you feel Rowena. I have anxiety about this too. I just remember this too shall pass and I try to make the best of it. Hugs

R's Rue said...

I appreciate this post so much. Stay healthy.


Same! It is important to understand the reality of this global crisis. I am fortunate to generally work remotely three days a week but with our office travelling being cancelled until end of April (which will likely be longer) it has caused all sorts of stress with our international departments so my work hours are longer and in the wee hours of the night and morning, a bit stressful. I have been checking on friends who are not introverts most are not that okay, it is definitely affecting everyone differently. Baking and cooking gives me solace for times like this so loads of that and of course DIYs. Be well, my friend! :-)

Mica said...

I agree, I'm going to try stick to my usual routine and blog as much as possible - although we have limited our outings as a lot of things are being cancelled and so I probably won't be getting dressed much! I may have to go into the office too. My husband has been working from home for a while but got told today to go in and clear out his belongings as the government is taking over the office! He'll continue to work from home, it's unclear how long I'll be working from home for though and I haven't cleared out my office - although we hot-desk so all my things are in one of the provided lockers.

Hope that your week is going okay with everything happening right now! It's definitely a strange new world!

Away From Blue

The Exclusive Beauty Diary said...

This is so funny - new normal Quarantine. But we are all in that situation. I'm at home from last Friday and now I forgot which day it is. But actually I create a new routine - I start exercise, reading every day, working on blog every day, talking with family and friends and try new recipe.

New Post -

Amy Aed said...

It's so strange how quickly things have happened, and I can't wait for the virus to die and for life to return as close to normal as it can be. I don't think I will be getting a graduation ceremony at this time which would be awful, but all of my friends have gone home to their home cities now so Aberystwyth is very lonely as it is.

I hope that you're staying safe during this coronavirus outbreak, and are feeling well.

Have a good weekend!

Amy x Wandering Everywhere

Kinga K. said...

It's a good time to read more:)

Ivana Split said...

I agree with everything you said. We must be careful but avoid panic. Social distancing is so important right now. I'm shocked at how irresponsible some people are. A few weeks ago I calmed down the anxious kids in school by telling them that we are safe on the island, little did I know that sick people will start to arrive on the islands and those from infected areas as well. My logic hasn't predicted human selfishness. So many healthy people have self-isolated but those infected and aware of it are going around. Corona virus has arrived at my island too because someone hasn't went into carantene. I hope they will ban the ferry rides abd 'tourist' visits asap. Right now I'm working from home but it is not really up to me, it will be as ministary dictates, last week we were instructed to go to school and work from there even if the kids weren't there but at home. Fortunately, the internet at our school crashed so we had to work from home.

As for my routine, like all the other teachers I've been working non stop on organizing online school. I'm exhausted but if we manage to continue school and education, all the hard work we put in will be worth it. I've been on phone with parents and communicating with kids non stop. I'm immensely proud of the kids, parents and other teachers for working so hard. I have received and checked hundreds of homeworks and dailys assigments in the past week. The kids have really impressed me with how serious they took the online school.

Keeping up a routine is a great idea. Blogging can be a great creative outlet. I probably won' be able to continue blogging because I'm working over time right now but hopefully once everything settles down I'll go back to it.

sonia // daring coco said...

Great post Rowena. Who knew that things would escalate as quickly as they have? It's a scary and uncertain time out there and I love how you pointed out those who like to name and shame individuals who have no choice but to continue working. Some people don't have the luxury to stay indoors and we should feel empathy or urge our governments to support these people not tear them down. In regards to all the panic buying, it is insane. Just a few weeks back in Australia (and around the world too) we were all coming together to support all those effected by the fires and now that we all face a pandemic, it's survival of the fittest. What a stupid 180. This week the major supermarkets announced they were having an exclusive hour of shop for the elderly and disabled. It's been a hit and miss, mostly because there is limited stock on shelves to begin with and there's been major disappointment and backlash over this. Something which is a consequence of all the panic buying from previous weeks. I don't know how long this will last for. I don't think we're anywhere near the halfway mark. Our government has been too slow to act and giving out contradictory information. We're banning larger outdoor gatherings of over 500 people and indoor gatherings of 100 people yet schools stay open?


Emmylou said...

Isn't it crazy how surreal all this has become? I still can't believe how so many things have been shut down. It's the same here in Toronto...schools closed, only essential businesses are open. I see what's happening in NYC, and it really is scary, but it's great that Cuomo seems to be doing a good job. I feel bad for you guys for having your current president:( As much as people complain about Trudeau, I keep telling them, "Look how he's handling it compared to Trump?!?!?"
As an introvert, I'm just business as usual:) My kids though, esp. the youngest who's really outgoing, is going kinda crazy, but we still go out for quick walks so there's that. My husband is in an essential industry so it's business as usual for him. I'm always scared when he goes to work, but now more than ever!

FashionRadi said...

I'm trying to do the same things... more cooking, working out and picking up new hobbies here and there. Also this is great time to spend a bit more time with family.
Hope you're doing well!

Paola Lauretano said...

I believe when this is all over, our normal lives start back up and routine kicks in, we will emerge slightly changed, but for the better: with a different, more compassionate perspective, a new respect for life and deep gratitude for what we have!
Kisses, Paola.