• Kathleen Barr

Quarantine and Chill

I think it’s fair to say that this decade hasn’t started off how many of us had anticipated or hoped for. Along with 2020 also came mass fires, conflict between countries, political warfare, horrific accidents and of course, the dreaded and catastrophic Coronavirus. With this new found 6 ft apart way of life, many of us are faced with copious amounts of free time. All this alone time can also bring on loneliness, stress, trouble sleeping, struggles with eating and so on. I’ve written this blog post to share some quarantine tips that have helped me during these crazy times and hopefully they can help you as well.

First things first

There is no doubt about it, social distancing is hard. For so many of us COVID has turned our worlds upside down. Quarantine sent me back home from university, without a job, without money and with what feels like zero independence. When self isolation gets me down, I remind myself that to be able to self isolate is a privilege. So many people are out on the front lines risking their health and safety for all of us. It’s so important to keep this in mind and remind yourself that this will be over soon because you’re doing your part to flatten the curve. If you know a front line worker, make sure to tell them how much you appreciate them.

Communicate! As an extrovert (and communication student) I am all about communication during these times. I find that all of this alone time can be pretty boring and upsetting. When I start feeling down I usually sit with my family, call or text a friend or send videos and messages into my group chats and try and get a conversation going. Communication is more alive now than ever before. If you’re feeling down it’s important to talk to someone. Odds are they’re probably feeling somewhat similar to you and sharing your feelings could be mutually beneficial.

Being Productive Right now there is a HUGE push to be productive during quarantine. It is important to not let what others are doing discourage you or make you feel like you aren’t doing enough. We are in the middle of a global crisis, there is no reason why you have to be on top of everything all of the time. It is okay to take time for yourself to unwind and recharge. Taking care of YOU is the most important thing right now. So unwind, read a book, take a bath, sleep in or watch a movie. It is okay to be sad and need some time. We all move at a different pace and it’s okay if your quarantine looks different than someone else's. If you’re someone like me, then you like having jobs to stay on top of. You could set a goal to accomplish a task that you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the time for. The task could be anything from cleaning out a closet, making a scrapbook, creating a social media page to starting a business or in my case, starting a website. You will be so happy and proud to have this task done as it is something you have always wanted. Another great quarantine task is to organize and re do your room. This is a great way to fill up some of your free days and since we don’t know exactly how long things will be this way, it’s nice to have a private space that makes you happy. Over quarantine I redid my room and it has made going to sleep and waking up just a bit better everyday. It doesn’t have to be an expensive task either, just a cheap coat of paint or even just moving your furniture around. Below I’ve listed some websites that give great tips on how to redo your room on a budget. https://www.homedit.com/ways-to-decorate-your-bedroom-for-free/ https://www.buzzfeed.com/christinalan/freshen-up-your-abode Once you’re done with your jobs, it is a great opportunity to help someone else with theirs. As many others are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted just like you, they would greatly appreciate the support. You could offer to make dinner for your family, help a sibling clean their room, take out the trash for a roommate and so on. Being there for one another is more important now than ever.

Social Media We are so fortunate to have social media during this time. It is a great way to stay in touch with loved ones, keep up with the news and look at memes and funny videos to lift your spirits.

Some people I follow that bring some positivity and empowerment into my quarantine includes:

@Female Positivity @The Birds Papaya (instagram, facebook, twitter and podcast), My beautiful bestie Our Skins Beauty, @Recipes For Self Love (instagram and facebook)

Some people I follow that bring laughter and smiles into my quarantine:

@Canadian Party Life (instagram and twitter) @Barstool Sports (instagram, facebook and twitter) @9 Gag (instagram, facebook and twitter) @College Humour (facebook)

If you’re looking to be productive career wise on social media, I would highly recommend using this time to get on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a great way to get yourself out there and build your professional image online. Quarantine is a great opportunity to to network.

If you’re just looking for some jobs and tasks to keep busy, I recommend you join Pinterest. There are endless amounts of fun recipes and DIY crafts you can try yourself or those you are quarantined with.

Of course with social media's positives comes the negatives as well. When faced with so much free time it is easy to get lost on social media for hours on end, comparing yourself to others, reading false news or even being absorbed in all of the hardships and sadness that is going on in the world. It is important that you follow real, authentic people who bring you genuine joy. Unfollow anyone who brings you down, check the sources of what you are reading and when things get a little too heavy, just turn it off.


As someone who loves to talk, but who doesn’t have many people to talk to right now I find that writing has helped me. Starting to write these blogs has been an amazing way to get out what I have to say and my thoughts. If you don’t necessarily want to start blogging you could always journal. Order a fun note book online and journal when you have a lot on your mind. You’d be surprised about the things you come up with during a little bit of writing time. Sleep

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say sleep just hasn’t been the same since quarantine started. If you’re like me then you’ve been tossing and turning, having weird dreams, waking up at weird times and so on. Something that can help you fall asleep at night is if you write down your thoughts before you go to sleep. This will help you wind down, create a sense of relief and ultimately sleep better and longer. You could also try box breathing to fall asleep. This involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 4 seconds, breathing out for four seconds, holding again and then starting the pattern again. These slow breaths can relieve stress and allow you to relax. I also would highly recommend using essential oils, lavender is great for sleep and stress relief. Finally just turn off the phone. Leave it in another room if you must and give your brain and eyes some time to unwind and relax. Fitness

Again there has been a huge push to be “productive” and lose weight and get in shape over quarantine. I can not emphasize it enough, but do not pressure yourself to make physical change during a time when everything in the world is changing. It’s okay to not get a 6 pack in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, it is okay to eat more than usual and it is okay to give your body a break when your mind is running rampant. I absolutely recommend trying to be as active as you can but never at the cost of your mental or physical health. Keeping active during this time should be done to improve your mental and physical health but never to jeopardize it. Not having access to the gym, workout classes or sports right now can make it difficult to be active, but there are still plenty of options for you. At home workouts are a great way to get on your feet and there is something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fun and upbeat workout you could look up dance workouts or zumba classes online. If you’re looking to target a specific body part you can look up workouts for what you want to focus on. If you want something more relaxed and to improve your balance and flexibility you can look up yoga classes. The internet is full of thousands of videos with great workouts made by professionals. Find what works for you to get moving and most importantly have fun. Below I’ve listed some of my favourite at home workout accounts for you to check out. @gymshark (Youtube, Instagram and Facebook) @madfit (Youtube and instagram) @popsugarfitness (youtube and instagram) @lululemon (Youtube and Instagram) If you have the space outside it’s a great time of year to get out for a run, bike or walk. If you’re like me and you like having a goal to work towards, maybe pick a distance and work towards running that race for example you could train for a 3km, a 5km, a 10km or even more. Long distance running can be difficult to stay motivated for the entire run, play some great workout music or listen to a motivational podcast to keep your spirits and ambitions high. Below I’ve listed some awesome workout playlists and podcasts. Run Selfie Repeat (Podcast) Goal Digger (Podcast) Beast Mode (Spotify Playlist) Food and Drinks

A great way to pass time during quarantine is to bake and cook. All of this time on your hands creates a great opportunity to find and perfect recipes you love. Use this time to discover and create the perfect morning smoothie or coffee, the best overnight oats, your new favourite type of pasta or the cocktail to make at the first after quarantine party. Baking and cooking is an awesome way to spend time with your loved ones and create something tasty you can all enjoy. Every day I’ve been trying different smoothies, fruit infused waters, matcha lattes and coffees when I wake up to start my day off by getting my creative juices flowing while also enjoying something sweet. For fun recipes to try, check out these accounts and Apps! @tipsybartender (facebook and Instagram) @tasty (Facebook, Instagram) Pinterest Tasty App Hobbies Quarantine is the best time to work on that hobby you love. I took this as an opportunity to start playing piano again and it has made my self isolation days just a little brighter. So pull out that guitar, that paintbrush or dancing shoes and do what you love. You could also take this time to pick up a new hobby or skill. I know I’ve always wanted to be able to do the splits so I’ve been working on that all quarantine. If there was an instrument you ever wanted to play, a dish you wanted to cook, a DIY craft you wanted to make or an item of clothing you wanted to revamp now is your time. The options are endless. Get creative and get busy. Give Back I know quarantine can make you feel stuck and make you feel like you aren’t doing enough. If you’re healthy and able, give back any way possible. Something as small as donating to your local food bank or even picking up some trash on your daily walk can go a long way. We’re all in this together, let’s be there for one another and support whoever and whenever we can. Below I’ve listed some amazing places you can donate to during the pandemic to make a change. CanadaHelps COVID-19 Healthcare and Hospital Fund Canadian Red Cross COVID-19 Global Appeal Food Banks Canada Canadian Mental Health Association United Way Centraid Canada The Salvation Army in Canada Wrap Up Thank you so much for taking time and reading my blog. I hope you got some inspiration for your next quaran-tivity! Keep on fighting everyone and doing your part to flatten the curve. This will all be over soon and you can expect the biggest hug from me when it is. Stay safe and healthy out there, -Kathleen

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