Coronavirus Quarantine Diary: Part 3

{La versión del post en español está aquí}

Well it’s finally the last day of March 2020. This month has really felt like a year. I don’t know about you, but this whole experience has made me hyper-aware of everything I took for granted before, like getting a cup of coffee with friends, going for a run along the beach, going to my gym and being encouraged and pushed in person, riding my bike to run errands, all sorts of little things that now seem so luxurious.

To give you the Coronavirus updates, as of this morning, Spain has over 94,000 total confirmed cases with over 8,000 deaths and over 19,000 cured. Some days there are hopeful repots of day-to-day decreases, while other days it seems to be solely record-breaking news that makes you think why isn’t this quarantine helping more. That being said, it’s still crazy to me that the US is still not in an official nation-wide quarantine. We still stay inside our apartment (it’s roughly 100 m or 500 sq feet). I went to the grocery store last week and below is a photo I took whilst waiting in line for a while to get in. Once inside, there weren’t too many people, but there were several sections totally out of stock (think wine, tonic water, chips, etc). Most people I saw on my grocery run were also wearing gloves, a mask and glasses.

As I start off this third post in this series, I wanted to include some wisdom from Brené Brown’s first podcast I listened to last week. She talks about going through things for the first time and why that’s often uncomfortable to us as humans (FFTs she dubs this, F-ing first times). In regards to this COVID_19 pandemic, she emphasized these points:

  1. Even as adults, parents, managers, etc. it’s OK to not know what we’re doing in this unprecedented time. We’re afraid, anxious, disappointed sometimes and that’s all OK! Work on having a dual mind (feeling those things, yet still being able to meet your daily expectations).
  2. We don’t know when this will end, but we know it won’t last forever.
  3. Denying disappointment makes you less empathetic.
  4. Listen! Ask for what you need, directly. Listen to scientific facts (rather than political conspiracy theories, for example).

I had a friend ask me to write about how I manage my stress/ anxiety in times of such uncertainty… While I am not someone who is especially prone to serious anxiety, I am human and have my fair share of freakout moments. As I shared in the first post in this little series, I was quite disappointed when my planned trip to the US didn’t work out due to COVID-19 concerns. I’ve worried about my parents in the US, my friends in NYC, my dear Marta who is currently living in a nursing home in Barcelona, friends and family who are being temporarily laid off (who thankfully will receive unemployment), the list could go on and on.

What I would say about these common feelings given the situation (disappointment, worry, confusion, sadness, anger, loneliness, anxiousness, etc.) is that you must let yourself feel that. Author John Green wrote, “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”  Feel your confusion or worry and then give it up to God. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6) Give up your worries to God and move on, most of the things causing anxiety about COVID-19 are outside of your sphere of control. Just because we can’t go to church physically doesn’t mean you can’t worship and tune into online services! The online ICB gatherings are a highlight of my quarantine thus far.

A few quotes I found about worrying… (full list here):  

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I honestly don’t have much more advice than that. If I let worry run wild, I’d just spend my days in fear and anxiety ridden spirals thinking what an unfortunate time to be unemployed, how are families going to make it, no Semana Santa (Holy Week) trip this year, how long is quarantine going to last, etc. I have to give all that up to God and work on what I can control: what we eat, physical movement, this blog, my habits, prayer, how I show up for others, how you show up for work, self-care…

Recipes I’ve made for the first time during this quarantine:

  • White & green chicken enchiladas – I was so excited to try this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (a recommendation from my friend, Lindsay).  I subbed 1 can of corn for beans, Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and 2 cans of Herdez salsa verde for fresh green chiles. This was a huge hit, although it was spicy even for me so I know my roomies were dying.

  • Green Bean Casserole – I used Campbell’s classic recipe, but added some cut up fresh mushrooms, swapped the soy sauce for a bit of chicken broth, used 1 bag frozen green beans instead of fresh, and used a banana bread pan instead of casserole dish as I didn’t have one the right size. It turned out delicious!!!!
  • Beef Stroganoff – I more or less followed this recipe. We didn’t have proper egg noodles so I used what we had, and instead of sour cream used a bit of cream cheese. Overall it turned out to be a creamy, filling dish that we’ll make again!
  • Ranch dip – yes, crazy simple and odd that I’ve never made this myself, but here we are. I had picked up a Ranch dip packet from the Taste of America store in BCN in early Feb., and mixed that with plain Greek yogurt and it was quite tasty! We paired the dip with Ruffles and fresh green & yellow peppers.

Tips for me time, especially when you live in a full house:

  • If you’re lucky enough to have any outdoor space, take advantage of it! Balcony, terrace, rooftop, whatever you have access to! I’ve been having my afternoon coffee on my balcony and walking around our rooftop for an hour while listening to The Invention of Wings (by Sue Monk Kid) on Audible. Fresh air can change the game.

  • Headphones in, rest of the world out! Lately I’ve been having dance parties of one while I dust or cook… I put on my Beats headphones, turn up jams (lately obsessed with J. Balvin’s new album, Colores) and suddenly I’m in my own world. I no longer hear what everyone else is doing and can focus on what I’m doing and enjoy the music.
  • This is stating the obvious, but continue to do things that make you happy! What I mean by this is that even if people in your house are taking this quarantine period to a relaxing, slow-down extreme, if being as productive as possible is what makes you happy, continue to be that way! Just because people are watching more Netflix or whatever it may be, doesn’t mean you are obligated to do the same. I workout whenever works best for me, even if no one else in my house does the same!
  • If you’re quarantined with your partner, make sure you talk about this situation and each other’s feelings. Check in. This is affecting everyone differently so it’s key that you’re on the same page with your partner and expressing your emotions and needs.
  • Intentionally connect with your loved ones, perhaps more often than you were before all this shit the fan. For example, my mom and I always text daily, but now we’ve stepped up our game to a daily FaceTime call. Have you tried HouseParty yet? Great app for video calls with various people at one time. This is a positive consequence of these circumstances outside of our control.
  • WORK OUT! I don’t care if you’re normally not into it, now you should get into it. If you’re in Europe or a large city in the US, more likely than not you’re moving less than ever before in your adult life due to being quarantined. You will feel SO much better if you physically move your body for at least a half hour everyday, I promise you that. I’ve signed up for my local yoga studio’s online offer for live classes in April (30 days, no class limit, 18 euros), and joining my local gym Anytime Fitness Poblenou for their daily classes on Instagram Live. Get your endorphins – best me time there is!
  • Focus on yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to those you live with. If you’re into personal development, maybe consider joining Rachel & Dave Hollis’ 90 DAY CHALLENGE, a challenge that focuses on their “5 to Thrive” in the photo below. Or you could sign up for Yale’s most popular class ever, “The Science of Happiness” online via Coursera. It’s FREE and you can do it over the next month or spread it out over 10 weeks, as the professor intended. I’ve done Week 1 so far and am loving it!

A bit of quarantine humor to send you off…

If you’ve read this far, THANK YOU! If you liked this post, found it interesting or useful in the least, please feel free to comment, share, or send to friends. If you’d like me to write about anything in specific, please comment with that topic below. Cheers!

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