Finding a New Routine in Quarantine

We are living in unprecedented times so there is no textbook right answer for how to live through a global pandemic. Everyone’s situation is different. Maybe you’re homeschooling while working from home and have never been busier or you’ve recently been furloughed and are suddenly quarantined alone with your thoughts. Every week someone from Alternative Options will share their self-isolation routines so you can see a variety of coping skills. 

If you haven’t already started to establish a quarantine routine that’s perfectly understandable, but seeing how the end date keeps getting pushed further out and the shelter-in will continue indefinitely, it is a good idea to get one in place. During times of uncertainty it can feel empowering to make the best of what you can control. Keeping a routine can help reestablish normalcy during a very abnormal time. 

Without a job to wake up to or time sensitive meetings to keep you accountable it’s easy to treat time as fluid and forego normal wake up and sleeping times. I’ll admit the first week I slept at 3 a.m. every night, but I noticed how lethargic it made me feel. I make a point of sleeping before midnight and wake up closer to 8 which is still sleeping in for my pre-corona standard. 

I start my day with coffee and a short news update. I limit news consumption so that I don’t spend the majority of my time feeling over-informed and powerless. I find that once a day is enough, but sometimes out of curiosity I will check in at night too. 

I know some people are making a point of still wearing full makeup, perfume, and work clothes, as part of their routine and more power to them. I fully understand the importance of getting out of your pajamas so you don’t treat the quarantine as an endless sleepover. I am a little less ambitious and have compromised with a slightly more relaxed version of my pre-corona grooming rituals. 

I still clean up my eyebrows and pay attention to my face, but will just do a good job of cleansing and moisturizing. I don’t find it necessary to have to wear jeans inside because I have nothing to prove. I am of the opinion that it’s okay to grow a corona beard or let your leg hair grow a few days more than normal, while still maintaining basic hygiene like daily showering, flossing, and brushing. 

So let me introduce you to the concept of inside clothes–they are not pajamas and they are not going out clothes. It’s a genre of clothing that’s picking up popularity for obvious reasons. It’s sort of like the topsheet of clothes; any accumulated sweat from the busywork of being inside is collected by the inside clothes, keeping your pajamas pristine for sleeping, much like a topsheet separating your sweat from the duvet or comforter. It’s something comfortable to wear around the house after work so you can jump out of your restrictive work clothes when it isn’t bedtime yet. You can still cook, walk the dog, pick up the mail, take out the trash, even do a quick grocery run while wearing inside clothes. For some people inside clothes are yoga pants with a comfortable t-shirt. There are high fashion versions of inside clothes in the form of joggers and matching sweatpants sets. During Corona times I think it’s okay if you’re wearing nice joggers instead of having belted khakis unnecessarily digging into your skin while video conferencing waist up. 

The act of jumping in and out of daytime clothes to nighttime clothes will help you establish stability in your routine. Because you don’t have the physical routine of leaving for work, driving, and coming back home it helps to add more emphasis to your indoor routines to symbolize the different parts of your day. Pajamas are for winding down and preparing for sleep.

Many introverts have been bragging about not missing large gatherings, but I will admit that after two weeks of not seeing my friends I felt a twinge of loneliness. Every Friday night for the past three weeks I have been playing online games with my friends and it has been a welcome distraction. 

I like to close my day with some form of mindfulness and movement. I usually follow along to a free online fitness class. Many instructors are offering them for free through Zoom and IG live. Sometimes I’ll just take a walk around my neighborhood. I even have days I feel psyched enough to do a full sweat breaking, indoor HITT workout. 

The parts of my routine I shared are things that work for me. Your mileage may vary. I remembered thinking at the beginning I am going to read so much, practice all my instruments, deep clean the apartment, bake a pie from scratch, and dedicate so much time to my self-improvement and this may have been possible if this free time wasn’t packaged with financial insecurity, breakout anxiety, social isolation, and uncertainty about the future. I found myself having to let go of these expectations and set smaller, more achievable goals. I haven’t been in the right mind to clean my home bottom up, but I did get one junk drawer cleared. I don’t have energy to start a new book, but find re-reading my favorite books comforting. Meeting myself where I’m at and making small improvements as I go along allowed me to piece together some good days. 


Here are the resources I used: