So far, I haven’t gone stir-crazy. The last week or so I’ve been home, I’ve still had classes and midterms to occupy myself with. But now at the start of spring break, I am trying to establish certain habits to keep me productive and hopeful. Here are some of the things I appreciate during quarantine.
- Watching cute baby and dog videos. Social distancing is ever-more critical to practice, so I am thankful for how social media keeps me connected to friends and family. But with much more time on my hands, it is easy to spend all day scrolling through social media feeds. Amidst a lot of the stress and tragedy prominent in the news and social media, I find it uplifting to scroll through pages devoted to delivering hope and optimism through cute videos or happy narratives. And in addition, many of these pages post tidbits of good news or small acts of kindness within communities struck by the virus.
In the same way it’s important to balance your time on social media and off of it, it’s also important to balance the content you frequent while on social media.
- Exercising more. I used to work out and run more frequently in high school. Over the summer at Berkeley I occasionally went to cardio dance classes at the RSF for fun. During the Spring semester at Cal, though I had a heavier course load, I was also a lot more lazy. Since I’m home now without the RSF close by and with most neighborhood gyms closed, I’m tempted to slack off even more and be a couch potato during my free time. I’ve been challenging myself to resist this and motivate myself to do more at-home workouts and neighborhood runs (while keeping at a safe distance from others I run past :)). I personally like the convenience of doing no-equipment-needed workouts that I can easily find on Youtube, like this one:
- Picking up old habits. I think I used college as an excuse to let old hobbies die off, like reading school-unrelated books or learning the guitar. Spring break is the perfect time to restart these habits and build them into activities that I consistently practice, and I hope they last into the rest of the semester when classes resume.
- What I’ve been reading (or at least trying to): I started and never finished The Awakening by Kate Chopin, so that’s the first thing. I also like to pick up an issue of The New Yorker every once in a while.
- What I’m trying to learn on the guitar: Iron & Wine’s cover of “Such Great Heights” and my all-time favorite song, “Times Like These” by The Eden Project.
- Calling friends (old and newer). I took for granted being able to see the new friends I just made returning to Cal every week in class or passing through the dining hall, and I admit that I didn’t make much of an additional effort to see them on my own outside of these gatherings. In addition, although I’m home and am in the same city as my high school friends, practicing social distancing makes it hard to go visit them in person. Now it’s more important to invest in these friendships with more frequent calling or video chatting, so they are more lasting and can retain till the next semester.
- Spending time with family. For me, I am most comfortable around my family, simply because they have known me for my whole life. Although it can get frustrating sometimes when everyone is under the same roof, most of the time I’m happy to spend as much time as I can with them, because I’m able to be my fullest and most genuine self. Being abroad and being at Cal in the spring taught me how to be independent and learn how to accomplish things on my own. But at the same time, I think it’s important that I remember how to live in consideration and respect of others. It’s in the same way we are being called to care for our communities by supporting each other, even in isolation.
I am grateful to have this medium where members of our community can share what we are thinking and how we are feeling, especially during times like these. I hope talking about the things that motivate me during quarantine may motivate you to continue being productive and find balance through the life changes we are having to make. Stay safe and healthy, and grateful too!
By Sara Cheung