It can be difficult to practice self-love while in quarantine. Despite what Instagram and TikTok will have you believe, most of us are not doing daily high intensity interval training, baking bread or cleaning our rooms. Many of us are actually just sitting at home losing academic motivation, panicking about summer internships and contemplating whether or not to go outside that day.
It’s hard to be the best version of yourself under the conditions we’re facing. Unfortunately, it’s time to accept our new, current reality and try to make the best of it.
I have put together a list of all my current tips and tricks that help me maintain a positive outlook on life. Feel free to steal these ideas and make them your own.
1. Take a shower. Personal hygiene is important and fun. Even though no one’s going to see you for a while, shave your legs just for the hell of it. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something really special, and when you go to bed your sheets will feel like silky clouds against your skin. Pro tip: Only shave one leg so when you go to bed and your legs touch, it will feel like you’re cuddling a man.
2. Get out of your sweatpants. Or at least put on a clean pair of sweatpants. If you’re feeling adventurous, see if you still fit into your jeans. If you don’t fit into your jeans, put your sweatpants back on and tell yourself that you’re beautiful. If your jeans do fit, congratulations. Wear them and be sure to inform your friends about this great feat. Either way, avoid all social media that promotes any sort of quarantine diet culture. Between you and me, a “summer body” doesn’t seem to be of the utmost importance amidst a fatal pandemic. Also, summer is probably canceled.
3. Exercise. Don’t just exercise to get fit or to burn off your quarantine snacks but do it because it’s an amazing way to avoid your family and get some well-deserved alone time. I like to play a wonderful game called “How far can I walk today?” These walks are a fun personal challenge and an invigorating way to explore your neighborhood. This is also a splendid time to listen to an audiobook, a podcast or songs that remind you of the good old days.
4. Spend time with your family. Try to be civil. No one is happy about this situation and it’s not worth the energy that it takes to fight. If you do find yourself fighting with your parents, do a self-check and make sure you’re not just hungry or tired. Then make sure your parents aren’t just hungry or tired. If these things are not the reason you’re agitated, then it’s probably time for your long walk.
5. Do your homework. It can be a drag to sit in a Zoom class and pretend that you’ve done the reading for the week. But with the new universal Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading scale, you have the unique opportunity to learn for the sake of learning and not for a grade. Instead of using your GPA as a motivating force, try to remember that you actually like learning and school can be fun.
6. Use the Calm app. The Calm app is free for all Hopkins affiliates and is an awesome resource for meditation series, sleep stories, ASMR and mindful practices. I like to squeeze in 10-minute meditations between Zoom classes or meetings to help relieve some of the inevitable stress that comes from sitting at a desk for hours.
7. Fully dive into your extracurriculars. Just because we can’t meet face to face doesn’t mean we can’t be involved. Student groups across campus are using online resources to host events, have meetings and begin organizing for next semester. Responsibility is a good thing and encourages you to remember what day of the week it is.
8. If you’re healthy, go grocery shopping for elderly relatives or loved ones who have compromised immune systems. If you do this, you automatically get brownie points, courtesy of the universe and redeemable at any time.
9. Finally watch that series people have been telling you to watch for years. My parents have told me for years that I need to watch The Wire and now is as good a time as any to start.
10. Don’t regress into your high school self. It’s hard to feel like a grown up when you’re sleeping in a twin bed and get woken up by your mom (she just wants to make sure you’re awake for your morning class!) but do your best. Nobody, least of all you, wants you to become a version of your 15-year-old self. Fifteen-year-old you was the absolute worst, I promise, and you deserve better.
11. Express gratitude. Every day try to think of something that you’re thankful for. It can be small — today I was grateful that the sun was shining — but just think of a thing. No matter how difficult this situation is or how down you feel, there is still a lot of good in the world. Recognize this and strive to embody it.