Quarantined for the Better


Ashton Brown

A view of my goal-setting wall during the pandemic keeps me motivated to use this time productively.

There’s a soft bang that comes from my bedroom. Then there’s another. My mom calls me from her room downstairs, probably to ask what all the noise I’m making is, but I ignore the call. Frustrated, she makes her way upstairs to my room, busting open my door, only to see me with my headphones in, throwing a lemon-sized ball bouncing ball at my wall, hitting targets I made out of index cards. She asks me why I’ve decided to play such a menial game. “I’m bored,” I tell her. She leaves and lets me carry on.

For the past two months, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of hysteria, inciting a nation-wide lock down. With 468,703 confirmed cases in the US alone, it has been of great importance to stay home and isolated, to prevent further spread. Because of this, lives have been put on hold and completely altered. Personally, I’ve found myself having to stay entertained in any way possible. I haven’t been able to leave the house or interact with the outside world in person. So, rather than spend all my time scrolling through social media, I’ve been searching for ways to keep my body and my brain active in ways that I wasn’t able to, due to school.

The first step I took was creating a workout plan. I figured, “If I’m going to have full days of free time, I might as well get ripped.” So, I looked through Pinterest posts, Instagram, and asked friends for advice, to create the perfect workout regimen; preparing me for all post-quarantine events. To make it feel authentic, my mom and I carved out a day to clear the garage so we could make an in-home gym. We set it up with yoga mats, an old weight bench, and a TV–for my mom’s workout videos. Being physically active, in a time where most are bedridden, made the experience so much better.

Fitness became such an integral part of my quarantine life, partly because isolation made it easier to exercise. Social distancing measures have closed down gyms and athletic facilities, places that most people find intimidating when attempting to be active. When one is given the free time to devote to their body, and the opportunity to feel safe in the space they exercise in, it incentivizes them. Of course, most people don’t have this mentality, but I wanted something that would encourage me to start

Another way I’ve chosen to use my isolation is to exercise my mind. I figured I should take this time to learn the things school hasn’t taught me. Of course, for the first few days, it was tough to get out of my “this is a break” mentality, and focus on actual learning. It started with documentaries. Bored of my usual shows, I decided to check out a documentary on Netflix, about the history of hip-hop, something I’m interested in. Then, I started doing research on the events I was watching, finding out more information for myself. 

Keeping my mind stimulated and active was very important to me. Being in isolation might have caused me to resort to social media for entertainment, because it’s right in front of me and easily digestible. I didn’t want to slip into a robotic existence, so I use my free time to put my mind in places farther than my body can go, which isn’t past the front door.

Despite the many deaths and confusion this outbreak has caused, I tried my hardest to make it a positive situation. I wanted to take advantage of my health, and use my free time to my benefit. While it might be chaotic in the outside world, inside my house I’ve felt more safe and nourished than ever before.