As someone who has been more or less self-isolating since the summer of 2019, I can certainly understand why this time is not only scary but also ridiculously frustrating. So, with my expertise in keeping a distance and staying home, I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me get through trying to finish high school in a void where time doesn’t exist and you have no contact with other humans. 

Self-Care Comes First

I cannot stress this enough; TAKE. CARE. OF. YOURSELF. Your health and happiness come first, always. Take time out of your day to step away from your phone or whoever you’re isolating with and just do something that relaxes you. Whether that’s taking a nap, trying a new recipe, or just sitting on your couch and staring at a wall, taking time for your mental health is key. 

If you’re one of the folks who feel the need to socialize a lot, FaceTime friends, sign up for classes or events on Zoom or other mass-call programs (there are an abundance of them now, I assure you), or find some other simulation of human contact. Just stay away from others. 

Another thing I will suggest until the day I die is getting some fresh air. Being outside is incredibly helpful in alleviating that closed-in feeling that comes with a stay home order. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a suburban, rural area, or a city that isn’t incredibly congested, go out for a walk and stay away from others. If you’re not able to leave your home, open a window or go out on a balcony. Fresh air and exercise are the best ways to treat cabin-fever. 

Keep a Schedule 

It can be easy to fall for the temptation of the timeless void where nothing means anything and a month passes by in what feels like two days. Do your best to not fall into this time warp. A great way to avoid this is by setting alarms to remind you to do certain things each day. Try eating meals, showering, or going out for walks at a set time. Keeping a schedule can make it easier to feel fulfilled and makes things feel more manageable. 

Take Up Some New Hobbies

If you’re one of the folks who can’t work from home or isn’t attending school online and you’re dying from boredom, take up a hobby! 

I know literally every news article ever is saying this, but they’re not wrong; it helps alleviate loneliness a lot. Try dabbling in something you’ve always wanted to do–personally, my go-to’s are painting, writing, and playing Animal Crossing— or get involved with something completely new! There are plenty of online classes, activist organizations, or just plain good ideas out there that you’ll find something that suits you eventually. 

Of course, you have no obligation to do any of these things. They’re just suggestions on how to help ease the strange feelings that come with isolation, as they can be particularly hard on people who aren’t accustomed to it. You’ll probably want to try things on to figure out what’s right for you.

Keep Up With School

When it comes to school, I have two key pieces of advice: 

  1.  Show up to class. Yes, even if you’re an ace student in that class. Show up. Chances are that your teachers haven’t discovered how to record Zoom calls or don’t use Adobe Connect, so those live sessions may be your only shot at getting direct contact with your teachers or professors. Not to mention that it’s one of the closest approximations we have right now to human interaction with groups, which we all need (even introverts.)
  2. Pay super close attention to due-dates and times if you don’t already. It’s incredibly easy to lose track of time. Try creating a list of assignments by class that are due each week. I’ve been homeschooling for almost a year and I sometimes catch myself missing something and having to stay up in a panic to finish an assignment I forgot existed. 

Yes, social distancing and stay-at-home orders paired with the sense of impending doom that comes with living through a major historical event can be difficult to cope with. However, it’s not an excuse to defy social distancing or to allow yourself to wither on the vine. These precautions have been implemented for a reason, so whether or not you go along with my advice, remember to stay home.