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Staying Sane During Quarantine

April 25, 2020

Life has been anything but normal for the last two months. Everyday, it seems there are new updates, new tragedies and new limitations that make up our new normal. So how does one stay sane during times like these? Is there a way to even have a life right now that resembles what it was before COVID-19? I’m here to tell you that, yes, there are. While these activities may not be “normal” they can help us retain a semi-normal life and that in turn can help us feel less anxious, depressed and stressed about the current situation. 

One restriction in particular that seems to be affecting folks is not being able to spend time with friends and family or do activities we would normally do. But we have some solutions for you! Instead of your normal social gatherings try these ideas instead.

Instead of going to a restaurant, park or place of entertainment...

Camp chair chat: Everyone brings their own camp chair and positions themselves six (or more) feet apart in a large parking lot or grassy area so you can still visit and hang out but remain safe while doing so. If you want to turn it into a dinner party, everyone could bring their own meals (takeout or otherwise) and just take the time to visit.

Want to take a trip somewhere? Places like Bear World are offering drive-thru visitations. Or, you can take a drive through the mountains with friends or family. Just take your own cars and use walkie talkies or even a video call app (FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, etc.) to communicate. That’s what they were invented for after all.

Backyard water park! Since it’s getting warmer, a lot of people may start looking for ways to beat the heat. Instead of going to a public pool (since they are all closed anyway), hookup a sprinkler in your backyard and run through. Or here’s a list of DIY ways to turn your backyard into your own water park using simple items like pool noodles and PVC pipe!

Have spare time and not sure what you can do? If you have the room, consider having a small herb garden or creating a small vegetable garden for yourself. Seedlings or plants, soil, and little potting plants can be found at any nursery or at most hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot (which are still open). Plant simple, everyday herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme and others. Or if herbs aren’t your thing, consider getting flowers like morning glories, daisies or marigolds. Having plants to tend to will help keep you occupied and add a nice green flair to your home or patio.  

Miss going out to the movies with friends? You can make a DIY phone projector using a shoebox, a magnifying glass and your phone! Then just grab a white sheet and you’ve got your own DIY movie theater! Add some concessions to really bring the movie theater experience to your home. You could even take it outside for a good old-fashioned movie “drive-in”. Just make sure to social distance if you invite others (or stay in your cars if there is room- have a garage door? Make that your screen and park in the drive-way!). 

Digital Connection

Stay connected digitally! Another way to hang out with friends is to do so over video chat or audio chatting apps such as Discord, FaceTime or Facebook Messenger or any number of other chatting apps. Most devices come with built in microphones so this is a free and pretty simple way to stay in touch while social distancing. If you want to add some fun, check out some game packs like Jackbox TV or House Party where everyone can play trivia, sketching, or strategy games together from their own homes.

Got a significant other you can’t see during quarantine? Have digital dates! FaceTime, video or audio chat with them and play board games, video games or any number of things with each other. While it may not be the same thing as doing them in person, it can help you two keep in contact until quarantine is lifted.


Self Isolation Stress and Mental Health

With everything going on, some people may also be feeling overwhelmed and anxious about COVID-19. The Idaho State University Counseling and Testing Center has a page titled “Best Practice for Coping with COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19 Pandemic ” which details ways for people to cope with the stress self isolation has brought upon many.  There are many  resources that people can look to such as:

  • “Check out this video from Dr. Russ Harris and learn steps on how to F.A.C.E. C.O.V.I.D.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and emotions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to or coping with these feelings.
  • Maintain your day-to-day normal activities and social outlets. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself from the support and caring that others can provide.
  • Seek accurate information from "The Center for Disease Control and Prevention" and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information.
  • Pay attention to positive news instead of only focusing on negative and fear-producing reports.
  • Follow the protection and prevention tips given by medical professionals such as the Health Center here on campus, national medical authorities and your own medical doctor.”

Counseling and Testing also provides a list of relaxation techniques you can try to help yourself relax and destress.

The American Psychological Association also provides resources for those struggling. They list five tips to help cope with the stress of the situation: “keeping things in perspective, getting the facts, communicating with your children [if you have any], keeping connected and seeking additional help [if needed].”

If you’re facing challenges while in quarantine or want to share your experiences while in quarantine, consider participating in the College of Business’s #DistanceButConnected campaign. Here, students share their experiences and challenges anonymously to receive advice and input from peers, other students and professors as well. 

ISU offers student resources as well including an emergency relief fund for students and Benny’s Pantry, a food service for students that offers non perishables and other items. It’s important to remember, while we may be apart, we still stand together in our community. Roar, Bengals, roar!