• P. Fida

How I Tackled the Quarantine Beast

March 13th is a date that seems sewn into my head. That day was the last time that I saw any of my friends and classmates in person, the last hugs coupled with a hundred hopeful promises of ‘see you in three weeks!’. Six months later, I feel like a completely different person.

I’ll admit that my quarantine experience has been more isolating than most. My parents heavily restrict access to social media, which very quickly became even more of a social lifeline than it had previously been. No access to the outside world besides news channels, no idea of how my friends were doing, no way to contact anybody besides my mom, my dad, and my brother, sounded all of the alarms. Depression, a beast I thought I had vanquished two years ago, reared its head and roared.

Loneliness is hard to describe accurately. It ate away at me slowly, almost imperceptibly. I would trudge through online school reluctantly, continually glancing at the time to see how much longer I had to wait until I could go back to my room and do … nothing. Nothing consisted of lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling or through my window, and wishing that I could be with a friend. Everything around me seemed dull. The bluest of summer skies were grey, the rainy days were black, my favourite foods were bland, and my favourite songs sounded monotonous, like a buzzer at an old, run-down office. I needed change, and I needed it badly.

I had hoped that my parents would take pity on me, and grant me the contact with the outside world that I so desperately craved. However, slowly, as the loneliness grew more intense, the reality also became more apparent. I was going through this quarantine alone. Somehow, I had to get through it.

For many people, the idea of structuring their summer days into a school-like routine seems horrific. Ten months of school, just for even more? Creating a routine, however, was my first step to regaining a sense of normalcy, and combatting that two-headed scarecrow of loneliness and antipathy.

I would set my alarm every morning for nine o’clock, and once it sounded, I would get up and get dressed, just as I would have done for school. Some days, I just changed into another pair of pyjamas; other days, when I felt less motivated, I would wiggle into a pair of jeans. Then, I would grab breakfast and sit down for a few hours of self-study, primarily on Khan Academy.

After education, I would get myself lunch and argue with my brother over who had rights to the TV. If I won, I would settle down and watch a couple of episodes of some Netflix show, or maybe a movie. If not, well, I would sit down next to my brother and annoy him into giving up the remote. After this, it was time to get some exercise, take a shower, have dinner with my family, and then take up whatever project suited my fancy. Maybe I wanted to sew a face mask, or paint something, or bake. Maybe the HGTV spirit took hold, and I went off on a housecleaning rampage. Whatever it happened to be, I embraced it. Before I noticed, it was eleven o’clock, and I was splitting my jaw with yawns.

Now that school is starting up again, I won’t need to adhere to my schedule to keep the minutes busy. I, like millions of other students around the world, will be preoccupied with furthering our education in a safe, healthy manner. Unfortunately, it’s all too possible that another lockdown will happen. If that time comes, I’ll be grateful to my past self for figuring out what it is that I need to get through it. I hope it’ll help you too.