In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been clouded by a sense of uneasiness. We are subjected to a constant barrage of anxiety-inducing news stories, the challenges of sharing space with family members, and all-consuming isolation. Despite these difficult circumstances, have no fear! There are still ways to stay sane during quarantine, all while continuing to social distance.
- Distance yourself from the news
While it is undoubtedly important to stay informed, too much exposure to pandemic-related news can induce feelings of dread. Lots of misinformation is circulating around the internet, so do your mental health a favor and distance yourself from the news by muting keywords on social media and limiting the consumption of sensationalized stories.
- Travel from the comfort of your own home
Try searching ‘Slow TV’ on YouTube and you will unveil a new world of ambient videos that will assuage your quarantine restlessness. With high-definition footage, viewers can virtually experience an evening walk through Japanese suburbia, or even a reindeer migration in Norway. Slow TV videos are a great way to escape the confines of your home and become immersed in a beautiful scene.
- Engage with friends
Since being stuck at home can prompt feelings of loneliness, it is essential to reconnect with friends during the quarantine. Apps like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and Discord allow group video calls, and they are all great tools to engage with friends while observing social distancing guidelines. If you are bored of traditional video calls, organize a virtual coffee date, or even a dinner party!
- Experiment in the kitchen
Food is an especially valuable resource for many of us right now. If you are weary from eating Cheerios for the third meal in a row, however, now is a great opportunity to get creative with the ingredients in your kitchen. This is my favorite recipe for coconut vegetable curry, and it is a great dinner option:
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp chopped shallot and 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger, sauteing for a few minutes until shallots turn translucent.
- Add 2 tbsp red curry paste to the oil and cook a few minutes more, until fragrant.
- Add 2 cans (28 oz) coconut milk, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp honey, and optionally, 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce to the oil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and let simmer.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a separate saucepan or wok over medium-high heat and add 3 cups sliced vegetable of choice (carrots, broccoli, and snap peas work well). Stir fry for about 3 mins, or until colors are vibrant.
- Combine stir-fried veggies with curry soup. Serve vegetable curry with rice in individual serving bowls. Optionally top dish with basil and sesame seeds.
- Appreciate natural beauty outside
Whenever I get tired of spending time indoors, I find that the best remedy is taking a walk. Bring adequate footwear, earbuds, and your favorite music. Spring is arriving, so visit a local park or a new neighborhood and admire the blossoming trees.
- Netflix party! If you miss nights watching movies in a common room with your friends, there
is an easy, virtual substitute. Netflix Party is a free Google Chrome extension that allows users to host long-distance movie nights and TV marathons with friends. The extension also includes a chatroom so participants can communicate while viewing their Netflix program together.