What I learned in my first week of self-isolation

Before the closure of borders, a total collapse of the global economy and a loose therapy session with a newspaper about being stranded in a pandemic ridden epicentre, I was living my best life.

This time last month, I gave my family a tour of London on their visit. The following week, I was in Munich eating pretzels and being creeped out by Germany’s obsession with symmetry. And last weekend, I accidentally went skiing in Belgium while visiting some friends in France. I know I’m tooting my own travel horn, but it’s not my fault you cross the street in Europe and end up in a different country.

But all that ended quick. My mental health took a bulldozing with the sudden implementations of travel bans, curfews and isolation while the news bombarded us with escalating numbers of sickness and death due to Covid-19.

All of this, as dystopic as it may be, means we NEED to work together to help your community’s health care workers by staying the fuck home.

After my first week of self-isolation, I came out with some takeaways:

Fucked up shit is happening and it’s okay if you’re not productive

Empty Hyde Park, London, England

Seeing your friends update their socials with indoor projects or virtual parties or push-ups on their kitchen floor can be overwhelming. But that does not mean you need to be that way as well. You are literally living through a history lesson for high school students in 2050, take your time and absorb it. Unhealthy coping mechanisms like eating 6 meals a day or watching an entire season of a series in one sitting are valid.

Mother nature will get her way

There is a lot of interesting research about how nature reacts to human actions. The way we treat our planet is interconnected with the illnesses that arise. In a TED Talk, Alanna Sheikh, a global health expert, said that by hunting, largescale animal farming, and logging, we are “pushing into the last wild spaces of our planet.”

“Human beings come into contact with wildlife populations that we have never come into contact with before, and these populations have new kinds of diseases and bacteria,” she added. Sheikh also explained that if we continued to treat earth the way we are, this novel coronavirus “would not be the last major outbreak.”

My new plants.

With this in mind, I bought some indoor plants on my grocery run this week. Looking at greenery during isolation reminds me that karma is a thing, and if people don’t avenge, mother nature will.

We are going to get through this

This week, Canada shut its borders. From self-isolation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Let me be clear, if you’re abroad, it’s time for you to come home.”

Having the option of mobility swept from under my feet felt like a punch in the face. After the initial shock, it dawned on me that maybe I was taking this pandemic too lightly by just working from home and practising social distancing. I felt the dragging weight of having to witness a potential scene of chaos on my own.

“I’m very worried about your health… come back,” my mom texted immediately. “It will get worse,” my sister said. The final straw was when a close friend replied, “Apocalypse.”

At this point, I lost it. I slapped my laptop shut to silence the constant pings of news updates and cried myself to sleep. The mattress had my body print embedded on it when I got up 24 hours later.

But the lesson was that I did. I got up. I brushed my teeth, called my mom, and started work. I don’t know when this is going to be over, but I know it eventually will be. If we stick to staying put, we will get to meet our loved ones again.

So here is me saying that I absolutely hate staying in. It sucks a lot. I don’t want to bake cookies or FaceTime. I want to hold the people I love and see the world. I know a lot of us are feeling the same so if you want things to improve, remember how shitty this is and revaluate your choices once things start going back to normal.

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