COVID-19 is something that has now affected everyone’s day-to-day life, and with new variants, we are all predicted to be affected yet again. Whether this be with sickness, isolation, virtual meetings and work, wearing a mask, or more pushes to get a vaccine/booster, these will all be the topics we can’t avoid in the upcoming semester.
I was exposed my freshman year of college and put into isolation housing in the dorms and at home, but I became sick over winter break this year (one year later). As unlucky as it is to become sick, I was lucky enough to not have to miss school. Although I did miss work, my quarantine time (and isolation time from the past) taught me a lot. To prepare for times like these or if you find yourself affected by the pandemic in any form, read and try using these steps to maintain your day to day lifestyle:
- Talk to people. You can not go weeks, maybe not even days without human interaction. It is a necessity, even for the introverts out there. Call, or better yet video call, your friends, family, significant other, neighbors, resident assistants, and whoever you can think of. Even a professor you are comfortable talking with will most likely graciously set up a time to chat over zoom. People care about you, and when you are affected by the pandemic, people are likely to want to find ways to help, even if it is just to be a listening ear about everything that is going wrong.
- Communicate constantly. Rather than just having a day-to-day conversation, make sure you are getting on a deeper level with people, especially professors if the pandemic is affecting your ability to attend class or complete classwork. Your professors want to see you succeed, despite how that may seem sometimes. Be open to them about your situation, preferably through email. Tell them if you need more time because you weren’t feeling up for work, they know you are in a stressful and mentally draining situation. Tell them you didn’t want to risk going to class because you were exposed to someone who tested positive, they will appreciate you keeping everyone safe. Tell them you didn’t remember to grab your textbook when you were moving to isolation, they will understand you were focused on grabbing more important things. Your friends, family, significant other, neighbors, resident assistants, and more will also be likely resources to help get you accommodations that you may need for your day-to-day life, sickness, and happiness. No matter what, communicate with those you encounter often so they can help you shape a more enjoyable experience in this dreadful time.
- Pack activities (if you’re moving to an isolation room.) When I moved to an isolation room on campus, I was panicked. I knew I was going to be going home to isolate shortly, but I couldn’t process that in the moment. I’m pretty sure I packed an excessive amount of clothes for the possible time being, and I forgot all of my chargers for the electronics I packed. I didn’t grab anything to keep me busy, so you could imagine when my electronics died at the end of that day how bored I was. Even with electronics, the same old thing day after day gets boring. Bring a craft, something to color, something to read, etc.
- Bring medicine, vitamins, and rejuvenating liquids. When I was sick, multivitamins, Vitamin C, Mucinex, Aleve, Powerade, and Zinc were my besties. Taking medicine and vitamins consistently is important as well as staying hydrated. You will never know when or if you will get sick, so stock up on these now so you have them later. It doesn’t hurt to start practicing healthy habits now too!
- Stay as consistent as you can. If you are sick or in isolation, your days will most likely feel thrown off. You won’t want to eat, sleep, drink, complete tasks and work, or get ready for the day on your typical schedule. This is okay. You are sick and/or in a stressful situation, people will understand this. However, you will be alone and have to take care of yourself. Go to bed and wake up at a decent time. Eat meals as you normally would. Try to stay on top of your schoolwork as much as possible so you aren’t overwhelmed when things go back to normal. Do what you need in this time, but make it as close as possible to your average day (fake it to you make it!)
- Pamper yourself. You may need extra sleep, go to bed early. You may feel the need to shower more, do it. You may feel the need to eat more, eat. You may want to do a skin cleanse, use that face mask. Relax and drink lots of water!