“A DAY IN MY LIFE”
Last Thursday was the first day that I left my doorstep in 8 days. The atmosphere was… different. I needed to go to the pharmacy.
It’s around 6 pm, I open the door with my elbows, not as ninja as it may sound, gloves on, mask on. And I am out.
Not a soul in my sight, at first. The birds are singing stronger than ever. Let me tell you, Segovia has some pretty chatty birds, and they were having the time of their lives. Of course, it is not as pleasing for thousands around the globe, and overall for each one of us, but it is a pretty nice side effect for animals. The other day, a big stork flew right over my balcony that was closer than ever.
As I walk down the street, I see the first human. He is carrying some bulky stuff – he is throwing the trash away. Then I see a lady with no mask. She gives me an uneasy glance. I am being really careful, not touching my face nor putting my hair behind my ear. Two men, masks on, with boxes ringing someone’s bell “Carrefour, abra”. Maybe that’s for someone uncapable of doing their groceries on their own. Then I cross my path with a woman, no mask, walking her dog. She does not give me any look. She just moves one meter to her left as I walk past them. Then… another dog owner! This one has a mask, she continues her way. I get to the pharmacy, as I enter one of my neighbours comes out, we both give each other a look, mask to mask, “hi”.
The pharmacists have this long plastic curtain falling from the ceiling to the counter. I ask them about their day. They seem tired (their eyes do), but they still answer in good spirits. We exchange the coins with our gloves without putting them on the counter, and I leave. When I return, I feel the sunlight intense in my pupils, it does not hurt but it is intense. I go back home.
A REMARK ABOUT AWARENESS
For those who experience self-isolation for the first time: we do not know what incessant fear of flying bullets is; the average of us does not know real famine either. Of course, it could be worse. Someone has recently told me that when they need inner strength to remain optimistic, they think of how it has been worse for many, such as our grandparents. But, we do not necessarily have to go back in time to put ourselves in such a state of mind. Travel bans, lockdowns, separation… they have been evils for many before COVID-19 was viral in any way.
The debate of COVID-19 and inequality has been constantly replaying in my head, in class, at home… The taken measures will hurt the economy without a doubt. They will not be the best scenario, either, for many when it comes to mental health. It will surely be an easier experience for those who do not experience domestic violence; mental illnesses; unstable financial support for the household and the list goes on. Many of us have a house, to begin with.
However, awareness mustn’t mean passiveness nor negligence. So, even though we should not consider quarantine as bad as a “punishment”, it can indeed be a mental challenge. As a challenge, the question lies; what can we do about it? How can we face this challenge? The answer is simple; through strategies to stop you from losing your routines. To do so, the following 3 steps have been useful to me.
THREE STEPS TO MAKE THE BEST OUT OF YOUR HOME
- Mens sana in corpore sano!
If you have a treadmill at home, lucky you! But what if you don’t? I assure you, it’s still not an obstacle to sweat your stress off from being at home all day. There are loads of YouTube channels that give endless tutorials on different ways of exercise. No equipment other than a mat or a quilt is necessary.
If you look for a firm strong posture and a clear state of mind, my friends and I have been following ‘Yoga with Adriene’ for a while now. From 7 minutes yoga to sleep, to yoga for back pain, to 30 minutes sessions to exercise your abs; she has all the explanations in real-time to do them with her. Talking about abs, if you look for a more intensive routine, I was recently shown Pamela Reif’s channel, she explains all kinds of exercises to increase muscular strength. Whether you are drowning in essays or other tasks, there are 10 minutes sessions that will surely make you sweat and feel properly tired as if you had gone out to work out.
Even in the case where you stopped having Internet connection, allow your body to change positions, move from your working place periodically, and let your mind stop from all the usual noise for some minutes per day. These are times to spend 24/7 with yourself, rather than fearing being left alone with your thoughts, try facing them and use that time wisely.
- Allow creativity in your day to day.
Precisely, now that you won’t spend x minutes in transportation or on your way to the store, to class, to that meeting… these days can be useful for many whose chair has evolved into a mountain piled with used clothes waiting to be cleaned. As well as – and it may sound cheesy – but: to clean your soul. You should be aware of this without a quarantine but take the chance now if you can. The same way that every morning you should still open your windows wide and make your bed, you should not stop feeding the left side of your brain.
Pick up that book list you had abandoned, or if you don’t have one, might be the right time to make one! In your free hour, watch that movie that you have not found the time for. Go back to painting, writing, singing… Or pick a new instrument or a new language up!
And, ah, surely: listen to music. As I went back home last Thursday this guy had his playlist blasting from his apartment as he cleaned. It can be skidding in your kitchen with your fluffy socks to Sinatra’s That’s life, or performing anything while you clean your dishes (just don’t serenade your neighbours too much, ¿vale?).
- Connect, you are not alone!
The main focus of these steps is strengthening yourself as a companion to, again, yourself. Nonetheless, playing some board games or just simply talking can be nourishing. No one to play Scrabble with? Feeling a bit more nostalgic than you should? Make a few Skype calls. This experience has shown how big social animals we are. So, be aware that you are not alone. Not only do you have yourself, but you have all the others who are in similar situations.
Last but not least, if you wish to be of good use to your closer network; all over Spain, different cities have carried out solidarity networks including Segovia’s Red Solidaria (https://redsolidariadesegovia.blogspot.com/). In the blog, you can find emotional support for your own, or volunteer and offer educational support to kids 0 years up to their last high school year. You can also help -if justified due to force majeure– families with kids whose parents do not have the choice to stay home and need to leave them alone.
The email “noteconozcoperoaquíestoy@gmail.com” also allows you to anonymously write support letters to those infected, that only have the brief contact of the hospital team that helps them, when necessary. These letters have been promoted as a connection between those isolated in hospitals and those at home.