Learning to make the most of my life in quarantine

Photo of a bedroom
Sunny Shen/Senior Staff

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I’ve come to the realization that, with everything remote, I could totally get away with staying in my bed for 22 hours of the day, saving two hours to wash up, use the restroom and cook meals. But I don’t think staying in bed for 22 hours of the day is a good thing — I’m actually quite sure it’s extremely unhealthy. So I thought I’d share some ways I’ve been keeping myself entertained despite socially distancing and staying at home all day.

I’ve realized my life currently consists of three rooms: my bedroom, the kitchen and the bathroom — all located within 20 feet of one another. This is a strange concept to think about; however, these three rooms, from my perspective, provide an infinite number of opportunities for me to do so many things.

First off, it’s hard to motivate myself to get up in the morning, especially because I like to wake up at 7 a.m., my remote internship doesn’t start until 9 a.m. and most of my classes don’t start until 1 p.m. So after brainstorming who I want to be and what I’m looking for as the main character of my life story, I realized exercise is necessary to help increase my energy levels. However, I should warn you, I have the exercise bandwidth of a 4-year-old. I’m always up for blasting fun tunes and dancing around wildly in my room, but when it comes to designing a workout and staying consistent with an exercise routine, I’m completely lost. I tried going on a run the other day around the neighborhood and ended up circling back after only two minutes. Ha! Essentially, my problem is that I have to feel like working out in order to exercise. So with the flexibility that comes with being at home, whenever I get a burst of energy, I throw on my workout clothes and do a core workout, a fun dance or a slow jog around the block. Although it’s unconventional, I encourage you to work out when you want to work out and to push yourself but at your own pace.

In addition to ensuring I get exercise, I make sure to reconnect with my parents, both of whom work from home, for both lunch and dinner so we can eat as a family. But living in close quarters means we already know everything the others are doing and how their days are going. So to spice things up, we’ve been asking one another riddles. Not simple riddles, but the mind-boggling, mind-numbing riddles that drive you wild and consume you to the point that all you can think of is solving the riddle. Whosever turn it is always explains the answer at the end, yet trying to solve these riddles has been so much fun to laugh about, struggle with and practice problem-solving with.

I am no chef, but I’ve figured out that the easiest recipes are the ones that require no effort besides going to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. The best part is, they look so aesthetic and fancy. For example, taking pieces of lettuce (iceberg, Boston bibb or romaine will work) and adding some chicken or ground beef, topped with your favorite sauce, makes lettuce wraps that not only look fancy but taste delicious every time. There is honestly no wrong way to make them, so I usually add whatever I have available in the fridge.

Although these are only a few of the ways I’ve been entertaining myself, I also think reconnecting with friends through online platforms is tremendously helpful. Trying to guess what the other person is saying while they are muted, playing online Pictionary or just talking and catching up lifts my mood every single time. Remember to always take care of your mental health and prioritize yourself. Also, seeing how fast I can race to the kitchen or get back up to my room seems silly, but it’s actually so much fun to race against your previous times.

So although in a nutshell, my life consists of waking up, eating breakfast, working on my internship, eating lunch, going to classes, eating dinner and then doing homework, I’ve found ways to make my life in three rooms an enjoyable experience. I feel like the days are not monotonous and exhausting but instead creative and energetic. I guess the trick is to do things when you feel like doing them. If you aren’t motivated to do your homework at the moment, step back, take a break and watch 20 minutes of a TV show. Then, return back to your homework, and you’ll find that after taking a break, you feel so much more productive. Allowing yourself to relax and not feel guilty about it, as I know many UC Berkeley students do, is one of the best practices you can learn throughout your life.

On Aug. 26, the first day of school, I pledged to myself that this would be the year of change, that I would be devoted to making myself the main character within my own life and that I would take time to learn, relax and enjoy the little moments that make up the chaotic life we all live. Join me in making the best of what we have, spicing up our routines with riddles and bursts of energy and putting ourselves first.

Contact Natalia Brusco at [email protected].