During my Perth quarantine in the Westin Hotel, I faced a challenge that I thought I am ready for. I have worked for years from home as a blogger and had self-quarantined myself after the trip in March 2020.
However, spending two weeks ‘confined’ to a two-storey house with a large backyard, many fruit trees and a lovely dog, not to mention being around the family, is in no way comparable to a hotel quarantine.
The most challenging wasn’t being bored or idle, or lacking social connection. I always have projects to work on and I learned the importance of keeping in touch during my expat life in three countries.
The difficulty was due to the lack of physical activity and fresh air. It didn’t feel that bad while I was still in the hotel. Who doesn’t enjoy lazing around?! But then you get out and start walking… You feel dizzy and tired. I could compare the feeling only with the times of recovery after hospitalization.
These are my tips on how to stay sane during isolation and the best ways to self-care in quarantine times:
Keep your social life at best
No, quarantine is not the time when you reduce your contacts with other people. It is time to reconnect. As we all learned from the COVID-19-related lockdowns around the world, online chats are essential for our mental health. You finally have the time for lengthy talks. And you will be surprised how responsive your friends and family will be to your call for chats. Just let them know you are available at any time in the next 14 days. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with people you haven’t had time to talk to for years.
Keep active – mentally
Set yourself one bigger goal or several mini-goals that will keep your mind occupied daily. Those can be finishing a book, working on a work or personal project, starting a new habit, even taking an online course.
My mini goals were to write several blog posts and read the books Building a Successful Home Staging Business and Who Will Cry When You Die. The first book educated me, the second kept me motivated and focused. Here are some more book suggestions.
My bigger goal for the period was to work on my business website.
However, don’t push yourself to the extremes just to keep your self-imposed deadlines. As the days will be passing, you will see that your energy is going down and you will feel less inclined to do what you achieved the previous days. It is the right time to practice self-compassion.
Stay physically active as much as possible
Self-care in quarantine must include physical activities if you want to stay healthy. From day one, set yourself an activity program. It might be just for fifteen minutes a day, but it makes the whole difference. Here are some ideas.
A great new habit to develop during your quarantine is to start practising The 5 Tibetan Rites (you will find videos on YouTube). A friend of mine swears by the benefits she sees day after day, and it takes just a few minutes a day!
Yoga fits naturally into a quarantine lifestyle because it does not require excessive spending of energy. As I said, your energy levels will go down in the second week; you will see how true the saying is “spend energy to gain energy”. Yoga is great because it also allows you to stretch every element of your body. As you will be laying down or sitting most of the time in the 14 days, you need a good stretching routine. The best is to do it twice a day for at least 10 minutes.
Start dancing! Now is the time to dance as never before. There is no one to see you or judge your music choices. Open YouTube, get some dancing inspiration and have fun! Again, on YouTube, there are some great home-based exercise sessions for which you don’t need any equipment.
Practice gratitude and observation
Be grateful for the place you are – well taken care of and at the best comfort you can ask for in the circumstances. Observation is necessary for your own feelings and emotions. The best way to do it – observe the changing landscape of the city or any other peaceful environment you might find yourself in. Nature is the greatest healer and helps us slow down our thoughts and gain perspective on life.
Recognizing the way we feel at the moment gives us understanding that brings peace in our body and soul. Peace of mind is the rarest form of happiness these days, but we often forget that ‘the body keeps the score’ and we drag life’s difficult moments with us for years. Hotel quarantine is one of those moments, even if in a small way.
Put it all out!
Self-care in quarantine doesn’t have only the physical dimension. Your mental health is equally important. Keep stock of your feelings and thoughts during this period, especially if you are quarantining alone. The easiest way to do that – write in a diary.
There is a good chance you will be enjoying it as it helps a lot to observe and then express the inner sensations you are experiencing. You will be surprised by the unexpected feeling of freedom and peace you will feel. You become more truthful to yourself as you know no one else will read your writings. It will become easier to dig deeper and find what you really feel, and then to express it in your diary.
Even if later you decide to burn that diary, writing it will help you to go through these difficult days. And I also bet that you will learn a lot about yourself from this precious time of self-reflection.
Lessons learned during the quarantine
My hotel quarantine in Western Australia taught me a lot. Some of the most precious lessons were the ones we all know but tend to forget when life gets too busy.
Family and friends are everything.
People are great and loving creatures.
You need to take care of yourself if you want to be good and helpful to others.
The proactive mind always wins.
Mindfulness is the key to happiness.
So, get up, make a plan, do the tasks… Take responsibility for your wellbeing, practice self-care in quarantine and use well the time to do something you never had time for. Maybe starting your autobiography?
Relevant links and further reading:
- Life of an Expat: My Experience in Mekelle, Ethiopia
- Going through hotel quarantine in Australia – the bad, the good, and the after
- Books about self discovery and travel to read in difficult times
- Vivant Reposé – my business website