30 Ways to Boost Your Quarantine Mood

Turns out it only takes a pandemic for me to make a return to blogging! It’s no question that these are unusual times. I’m sure most of us already know about what’s happening in the world regarding COVID-19 and how to protect yourself, but in case you still need to hear it: practice social distancing and go into self-quarantine in the coming weeks

As such, it will be uncomfortable and strange. Last night, I started jotting down any and all ideas I had to alleviate the stress of being stuck in a small space for at least the next 14 days. Now I am sharing them here! Keep in mind that not all the tips may be suited or available to you, but hopefully they will inspire you on what the heck to do to keep from going crazy at home while we wait this thing out:

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  1. Make a pennant banner to hang up around your home! This is a fun DIY project to do together with a housemate and also a great way to inject some timely inspiration or humor. I’m about to make one that says “Quarantine Sweet Quarantine.” That one was original, thank you very much, but you can steal many other good quips off of Twitter, Reddit, or Tip #30.
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  2. If you don’t have the materials to be very DIY, consider ordering some fridge magnet letters or a little letter board to display your quotes, coffeehouse style.
  3. Put out some fresh flowers to brighten up your space and bring spring indoors. If you can’t go outside, you can at least look at something beautiful from the outside, right? I wouldn’t usually advocate for fresh flowers all year round because the costs can really add up, but if you’re going to be indoors for the next few weeks, you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth out of gazing at a lovely spray of hydrangeas or a cluster of seasonal tulips every morning.
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  4. Light some candles. The scion of hygge, the emblem of coziness…candles. If you don’t own any, order some online. Recommended brands include Brooklyn Candle Studio (free shipping right now on all orders) and Diptyque (whatever, treat yourself, it’s the end of the world).
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  5. Take care of a plant. I know it might be a little hard to buy a plant if you have already quarantined at this point, but if you can literally get live baby chickens USPSed to your house (been there done that), I’m sure there’s a way to order a plant online too. In general, plants are great to co-exist with, and also add a little beauty, oxygen, and life to your space. I have a rambunctious little Monstera Ginny growing on my sill right now and seUntitled_Artwork 5eing it unfurl a new leaf like every week is really nourishing for the soul. If you suspect you don’t have a green thumb, start out with a snake plant. They’re really hard to kill, so if you do end up killing yours, I’ll be impressed.
  6. Download some new Kindle/e-Books to read. If you don’t have a Kindle, there are Kindle reader applications for laptops and Internet browsers. And if you don’t like spending money on books, most public libraries have e-books available to loan online!
  7. Create a wind-down/zen/relaxation playlist on Spotify. Here are a few of mine–and here is my yoga studio’s. In terms of particular artists, I especially love Berlin-based ambient mastermind AK, Australian vibe curator Yoste, and London-based electronic songwriter SOHN.
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  8. Buy hand/body lotion or face masks for a spa day in. This is a very basic self-care/pamper tip, but considering how often you will be washing your hands now and how still the air will be inside your home, your skin will likely get super dry.
  9. Now dipping fully into self-care routine territory, diffusers are great. I am a cult user of my small MUJI diffuser, as well as the brand’s super high-quality essential oils. I’ve discovered recently you can do all sorts of other quarantine-friendly things with essential oils, too, like putting them into DIY cleaners and room sprays!
  10. Buy bar soap. Again, since hand-washing is center stage right now, why not make it more luxurious and get some pretty, great-smelling bar soaps? There’s been such a mad bull charge on hand sanitizer, but in self-quarantine we have access to, uh, sinks with water. Plus, bar soap is low/zero-waste. Consider getting some.
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  11. May I add here, all these tips are great in and of themselves, but combine some and that’s where the magic can really happen. For example: Plants + candles + zen playlist + lavender lotion + bath?? Yesssss.
  12. Bake something new. Minimalist Baker and Epicurious are some of my favorite online resources for baking. Here are also some of my favorite food bloggers, many of whom are plant-based and health-oriented!
  13. Lean into self-sufficiency. Obviously, this whole situation sucks, but if we were to find a silver lining in all of this, it is a reminder that we really were (are) living in such lucky, rarified times. And it’s a reminder that everything we take for granted can be shattered so easily, like a ripple across a reflection in a still pond. So take this as an opportunity to learn how to be more hands-on and resource-efficient: learn how to make some dough, store your vegetables properly in the fridge, and only use what you need. We’re not in an actual apocalypse, people, but keep in mind that we very well could be in 50 years because CLIMATE CHANGE.
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  14. Makes plans to watch an episode of a feel-good TV show every 3 days with a friend. The key is to stagger it out so you have a positive routine to look forward to. My roommate and I will be watching Netflix’s “Crash Landing on You”, a gratuitous Korean drama about a woman who gets stuck (one could even say…quarantined) in North Korea and falls in love with a soldier there, in an attempt to finally culture me. If you live alone or with someone you don’t interact with much, you can always set up FaceTime TV dates with a friend!
  15. Cleaning parties. Yes, we are all Corona Cinderellas now. Put on some music, a podcast, or a comedy show in the background, and get to cleaning! Here’s your chance to do all those little things you’ve been putting off forever in the house. My list includes cleaning out some candle jars I’ve finished, washing all of my tote bags, and finding a favorite highlighter I misplaced.
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  16. Yeah, board games are fun and all, but have you considered doing Instagram filter games together with your quarantine buddy? Particularly, the one where you draw something with your nose and the one where you decide who’s more what by tilting your head (iykyk). We’ve already tried both and they’re hilarious, though short-lived–but benefits are you can share the fun with others, and I’m sure there will be more to come.
  17. Read up on Stoicism. This ancient Greek philosophy is all about focusing only on what you can control, while understanding the natural order of the world and man’s often minuscule role in it–a mindset fit for times of coronavirus as any, in my opinion! I have The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday sitting on my bedside table, which contains one bite-size wisdom for each day of the year. Not gonna lie, I’ve been pretty bad about reading it before bed each night, as I told myself it would be great to (like a Bible for the philosophical atheist!), but I will definitely be picking up the habit again over the next two weeks.
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  18. Speaking of book topic recommendations, another subject I’ve been really into lately is hygge, the Scandinavian design philosophy and way of life that prioritizes coziness, connection with nature, and simple comforts. In more concrete terms, think: candles, rustic loaves of bread, and twinkling lights in the window. I think we could all benefit from learning from one of the happiest (and most indoors-bound) regions in the world on how to make our homes more livable, seeing as we will be spending way more time in them. Recommended reads here and here–and remember to check your online libraries first or buy used on Amazon)
  19. Foster a pet. This one is for my ballsier quarantiners. Animals shelters in NYC are currently under heavy stress due to COVID-19, and since many of us will be home anyway…why not? My roommate and I both love cats and have discussed this casually, but in reality, bringing an animal home for even a short period of time requires resources, time, pet-proofing, potential tenant fees, and overall adjustment. I have heard other people bring this idea up, though, so just to put it out there on a potential animal lover’s radar!
  20. Reread some of your favorite novels/short stories. Harry Potter is always a great option. Old reads may be worth revisiting just for the sake of nostalgia–or you can always pick up that stray copy of Eat Prey Love from your coffee table and see if it lives up to the hype.
  21. Look outside (if you’re lucky to have windows/a view) and note what has changed since yesterday. The idea is to find peace in simple observation of nature and how it documents its own passage of time, Thoreau style. My windows used to offer a big, sunny view of the Manhattan skyline, but now it’s nose to nose with a gigantic Great Wall of Construction. Hence, if you’re lucky.
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  22. If you have the opportunity to go outside and take a little lap somewhere in relative solitude, do that. It might be the forest next to your house, your backyard, or the rooftop patio of your apartment building.
  23. Crack a window open if the weather is nice and warm. Chances are coronavirus won’t be riding a zephyr into your house, and you could do with a bit of vitamin D.
  24. Drink more water. Cold water, hot water, water with ginger, lemon, cinnamon, turmeric, honey, Airborne, or just good old water. Drink more water because it’s good for you and easy to forget!
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  25. Create a Pinterest board to plan for something exciting in the future–a dream vacation, a summer wardrobe, or just a new layout for your bedroom since you’ll soon become tired of staring at the same chair and table all day. If you’re a man and you’re like “I don’t do Pinterest boards”…go sharpen your hatchet and prepare for the actual apocalypse or something, idk.
  26. Embark on a 30 day squat challenge, push-up challenge, or just run-up-and-down-the-stairs-of-your-high-rise challenge. I personally hate prolonged body weight exercises and “self-guided” workouts, so I won’t be suggesting anyone go full-on boot camp with a yoga mat in their living room for an hour. But maybe just doing a little something and then continuously building on over the next two weeks will help you count the days with relish, not despair.
  27. Read up on best practices for working from home. Don’t underestimate the impact that a very different work environment will have on your mood and productivity. Everyone enjoys working in their PJs on a Friday every now and then, but if this is our new normal, mixing work time with home time may end up creating more stress. Consider changing into a slightly nicer pair of sweatpants and designate a corner of the room to be your office, to start.
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  28. Along the same line–set boundaries and times for when your workday begins, when you go into the kitchen to rummage for snacks you don’t need, when you FaceTime family/friends, and when you stop reading the news. Yes, it’s a gross amount of self-control and scheduling, but it may be necessary without the luxury of distance and space at your disposal.
  29. Yes, do stop reading the news. And the Facebook posts your family and friends keep sharing too. I know it’s like you can’t tear your eyes away from the hourly Twitter updates and the emails from every single company you didn’t even know you gave your e-mail out to. But that shit’s not good for you after the 50th depressive headline.  Trying to stay as logical and sane as possible sometimes means turning the channels off.
  30. But, if you are going to engage in coronavirus content, consider a curated meme experience. The Zoom Memes for Quaranteens group is exactly that. Thank me later.

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