COVID Chronicles: How to Stay Sane in Quarantine

COVID Chronicles: How to Stay Sane in Quarantine

Mes chéries, we are living through a chapter that will be in the history books for generations to come. Since the year started, the entire worldwide community has dealt with so much unprecedented turmoil. From a possible World War 3 to a continent on fire to impeachment trials to heartbreaking accidents to a global viral epidemic, 2020 has not given us a break. We’re seeing how different cultures, political systems, and personalities are handling the stress of current events. Although we are witnessing a rise in hate crime against Asians who don’t live in their “native” country, we are also witnessing a huge wave of positivity and love. People are bonding over music and the arts on their balconies in Europe. Others are taking this chance to open the conversation for mental health or give the world some comedic relief through entertainment outlets on the Internet . Friends and loved ones are learning the importance of communication and support even if it’s virtual. Companies and politicians are finally being more humane and doing their best to put people first.

This is just the beginning of what is going to be a tumultuous first half of 2020. But what goes up must come down and for every negative there is a huge positive. The world is going to come out of this first quarter stronger and more humane.


Enough of the serious talk! Let’s distract ourselves with some wholesome fun. This is the only time in the world where doing nothing at home is saving lives so take advantage of it! As an annoyingly independent only child, I basically grew up alone which makes shelter-in-place/stay-at-home orders less daunting for me. Even though I’m an adult now with an overactive social life, my Taurus moon and I still loooooove being home alone in my ~castle~ (or tiny Manhattan apartment). It’s one of the biggest reasons I’m moving out alone this summer. I know not everyone is a weird hermit who can stay in a small space for an extended period of time like I am, so I’m here to help you guys out!

Below is a long list to keep you occupied during this weird time. Whether you’re home with your parents, with your roommates, your S.O., your S.O.’s families, or alone, I guarantee there is something for you. I’ve organized them into three categories: for fun, for productivity, for mental well-being.


For Fun

  1. Learn how to cook new dishes/bake new treats! If you’re already an avid chef, make a new original creation of your own. Grocery stores are still open and getting restocked so grab a bunch of longer-lasting ingredients and test out new flavors with sauces and spices.
  2. Practice your art. This doesn’t mean take out pencil and paper and become the next best artist. This just means practice whatever your craft is. This could be writing, painting, playing video games, becoming a yogi, singing, or designing a dress. Whatever it is that you wish you had more time for, you do now!
  3. Set up FaceTime hangouts or Netflix Party nights with friends. There are so many ways for us to communicate with our friends and families now. Keep in touch with scheduled video chats so you can see each other and engage. Join everyone for a group movie/TV marathon night via Netflix Party or screen sharing video conferences softwares like Webex/Zoom/Google Hangout.
  4. Play video games (with friends or solo). Download Sims4 (they had a sale where the game is only $5!) or Animal Crossing or head back to your favorite PC/video games (Maplestory anyone?) and relieve the good old days. You can also play games online with your friends like Sporcle or Jackbox games!
  5. Shop your closet. We are all guilty of only wearing 30% of our clothes. Go through your closet and try to pair up new outfits. You’ll be surprised what new combinations you can create with all this excess time!
    • Perfect your WFH Mullet. One of my executives created this meme about your WFH Mullet: business attire on top, party on the bottom! We all know webcams only show the top half of you, so this is a great time to figure out a nice rotation of work clothes while sitting comfortably in sweats.
  6. Become a TikTok star. I say this with mixed feelings. I refuse to get on TikTok because it is literally the most perfect app for me, and I will get SO sucked in that I become unhealthily obsessed (jk I did it anyways so give it a follow). However, if you don’t have an addictive personality like me and don’t mind being a Gen Z-er, this is the perfect time for you and your quarantine buddies (whether that’s family or roommates) to create your own TikTok videos and have a blast!
  7. Brush up your beauty tricks. I know a large handful of girls who always complain that they aren’t good enough at curling their hair or doing their eye makeup especially when it comes to colors. Well ladies, the time is yours! You won’t have any restrictions on how fast you need to get ready as you pour claws down your throat so you’re not sober at the pregame. This is a perfect time to go on YouTube, watch some videos, dig out those palettes you rarely touch, and practice away!
  8. Catch up on your favorite shows, movies, or YouTube videos. This is a great time to binge watch things you either haven’t had time for or need to finish!
  9. Read a book/reread a book. It’s a great time to dust off those books and immerse yourself in a different world to take your mind off this one.
  10. Start a bullet journal. This is a fun activity and helps you focus on creating templates to organize your goals and calendar to calm you down.
  11. Date yourself. This is a great time to also just spend some ME time. Whether you need to deeply self reflect or just love yourself and be with yourself, take advantage of this alone time to do so. You’re often your best company and entertainment even if you don’t know it yet.
  12. Practice your self tan. Ladies, we all can use a little extra practice applying self tanner at home. This is always hard to do because we find ourselves speed tanning before an event or always accidentally leaving streaks or sweating it all off in odd places. Now is the time to practice while on one will see so you can get a smooth flawless tan when we emerge from our caves come summer (hopefully).
  13. Dye your hair a crazy (temporary or not) color you’ve been wanting to try. Obviously make sure it won’t interfere with your work as you will have video calls. But if it’s okay with your industry, here’s your chance to try semi-permanent products like Overtone (not an ad! just always been curious about their products) and dye your hair different shades! If it comes out bad, who cares! No one will see and it’ll fade in time.
  14. Complete a puzzle or build a LEGO structure. This is the time to dig out that 1000 piece puzzle you always wanted to finish or try building a complex adult LEGO structure (not the big large block ones you have as a kid) and live out your wildest dreams.

For Productivity

  1. Clean and reorganize/rearrange your room. Don’t Marie Kondo your place, as you will just have tons of bags of things you don’t want sitting around for an unknown period of time before stores open again/it is safe to run to the post office to mail out online sales to people. However, take this time to give your place a (probably much needed) deep clean you’ve been putting off. Rearranging your decor or things will help switch up the atmosphere as well!
  2. Create an at home workout routine. Most places with shelter-in-place policies still allow for exercise outdoors as long as it’s in solitary or 6ft away from others. I take runs outside, but return home for ab workouts. Try to create weights out of household objects for light weight training. Search for online videos you can follow. Keeping the endorphins going will help throughout this time!
  3. Set up your home office away from the bed. I’m a hypocrite on this one because my desk is right next to my bed, so don’t be like me. By having your back towards your resting place, it creates a small bubble with less temptations when you’re “at work” at home. This helps you concentrate better and not mix your working space with your living space.
  4. Create a new WFH schedule that is reasonable and efficient. We all feel out of place because our daily routines have been disrupted and our freedoms restricted. BE sure to set a new routine that you can easily adjust to in these next few weeks. Start with the essentials (work hours, meal hours) and then fill in the gaps as you go.
  5. Manage your budget and finances. Since all of our credit cards are doing less exercising without the plenty nights out, cab rides, and unnecessary shopping, this is a great time to create a budget that you can stick to. With food being the only major expense right now and stores closed/no events for you to purchase things for, this is a great time to see how much you can save if you are not wasteful with your spending. However, DO NOT touch your stocks. The market is in flux with everything going on in the world. If you’re a 20-something year old like me, remember you are in it for the long game. The market will go back up so don’t panic. Just sit tight and ride it out.
  6. Comb through all your subscription emails and unsubscribe to whatever you don’t want. No one likes seeing 13k emails from a million retailers in their inbox. Go through them and unsubscribe! There is no time like now to clear it all.
  7. Think about your career goals. Is it time for a new job? Is it time for you to go for higher education? With everything in flux, it’s a weird time to be an employee at a corporation. Think carefully about what you want in your career and start planning bits and pieces of your journey so you can reach your goals. If this calls for changing jobs when the world is stable and back to normal, then start brushing up that resume. If this calls for higher education or certificates, start studying for the GMATs/LSATs/CFA or whatever exam you need to take for your field.
  8. Test out your samples. We’ve all been guilty of hoarding samples of things from face masks to perfume that we’re scared to try on a normal basis for fear of breaking out or smelling bad all day. Well, no one will see or smell you anytime soon so try away!
  9. Learn something (like a language, programming, etc) you’ve been meaning to pick up. I am brushing up my Chinese and resurrecting my French! You can easily do this through free apps like Duolingo or purchasing courses online. This is also a great time to take online courses through Skillshare, Masterclass, or even casually on YouTube.

For Your Wellbeing

  1. Stick to your morning routine. Do your makeup. Do your hair. Get dressed. Keep the normalcy.
  2. Don’t think more than ONE day ahead. If you think too far into the future and what will happen/how long our lives will be like this you will 100% drive yourself into an anxiety attack. Take this day by day. We are all in it together.
  3. When chatting with others, try to avoid talking about the virus. This entire outbreak has literally taken over our lives and consumed our thoughts. When you can, take a break from it. There is more to life even in quarantine. If you don’t, you will not only increase others’ anxiety but also increase your own.
  4. Journal your thoughts. I know this sounds silly, but in times like these we don’t have our usual outlets whether that be gym, bars, or events with friends. You can only FaceTime or call so much before you’re back with your own thoughts and anxieties. Whether you have a notebook or empty word document, sit there and let it all out. After you’re done, close it and DO NOT reread them. This is purely an outlet, not a self-reflection exercise.
  5. Pick up coloring. Coloring books have been a huge stress reliever, enough for publishing companies to create adult coloring books lately! Order one and some colored pencils off Amazon (or a local business’s site) and color your way to calm.
  6. Don’t drink yourself into oblivion. I see everyone joking about drinking a ton and hoarding bottles and bottles of wine. Don’t do that. Nothing wrong with enjoying drinks with your friends, but once you hang up you will be alone once again. If you’re just drinking alone in anxiety or misery, you will drive your mental well-being down into a hole you don’t want to be in.
  7. Only tune into the news voluntarily 2x a day outside of news app notifications. I know this sounds weird because you should be informed, but between the politics of the situation and constant need for content, the media tends to exacerbate the ordeal and create more panic. It also causes us to start getting paranoid about feeling the symptoms. It seems like things only really change every 10-12 hours, so tuning in twice a day is perfectly acceptable.
  8.  Finish your snacks and don’t replenish the stock. Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid snacker! But in the effort to not be 100lbs heavier during this time of minimal exercise, I’m not going outside to replenish my snacks once they’re done. If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it! And for those of you who are thinking of ordering sweets on delivery, support a local business every now and then but still beware as delivery could bring unwanted exposure as well as going out to get something to nibble on.
  9. Minimize your vaping/smoking habits. Whether this is smoking less cigarettes, less blunts, or vaping less, do it. You need your lungs more than ever now. I know it’s hard to quit cold turkey, so just do your best to reduce it day by day.
  10. Get up and move, whether it’s inside or outside. The virus isn’t airborne, which means going for a walk or run outside (as long as you’re 6 feet away). If you rather stay inside, blast music and dance around like no one is watching, because no one is. Get the endorphins running!
  11. Avoid going crazy on your dating apps. This is the worst time to date unless you’re into the whole Netflix social experiment of dating virtually 🌚… The men have been wylin out on these apps, bored and looking for any sort of human interaction. I can’t stress enough: this is not the time to meet up with anyone in real life. You don’t know who this person is, what their exposure has been, and if you go over and don’t like him you will find yourself in an awkward escape situation. If he’s worth keeping around, keep talking and wait. You can use your phone to text or call or FaceTime. If you’ve been talking a while and feel like you absolutely need to break quarantine to see them for whatever reason, be safe. Know each other’s exposures and understand the risks you are putting each household at before acting.
  12. Listen to good music. Nothing is more therapeutic than losing yourself in good music.
  13. Create a calm atmosphere. Whether that means lighting candles as you work, running your diffuser, or playing soft acoustic covers in the background, do whatever it takes to make your home feel as zen as possible. You know what keeps you calm best!


I hope this list helps you stay sane in the next coming weeks of quarantine. This is not an epidemic to take lightly so please PLEASE stay home and stay safe. I said this earlier and I’ll say it again: This is the only time in the world where doing nothing at home is saving lives so take advantage of it. Don’t forget to check in on your friends and family as well as yourself each day. If you feel comfortable with it, order delivery from local restaurants to support them as they risk lives to feed their neighbors. We will get through this together, mes chéries. I promise.

Until next time, bisou bisou…






Erica Huang
Erica Huang

Based in New York City, Erica Huang is the creator and voice behind Bouge & Rouge. This blog is a playground of her thoughts where she invites you to join her on her journey through her 20s. Erica shares her lifestyle, fashion and beauty tips, adventures, and personal thoughts with the goal of inspiring others to always persevere and be unapologetically yourself.

Find me on: Web | Twitter/X | Instagram | Facebook

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