Bologna, Italy – This post was written on March 29th, 2020, on Day 21 of lockdown.

We are approaching our fourth week of not being able to go outside. I wanted to share with you what I have learned during this period, how I am dealing with staying at home for 24h/day, and some tricks to better face the whole situation.

From day one I started to pay more attention to my mood and feelings. I can summarize my lockdown experience in 5 phases:

  1. The Holiday Phase = The first phase, during which the common thought is: Thank God I can stay home and relax. I deserve it!
  2. The Eat, pray, and love Phase = The “I’ve relaxed enough” thought begins to run through your mind and you start to be bored
  3. The Rocky Phase = The hyperactivity phase, where you feel it’s time to recover all the time you never had and start trying new recipes, reorganizing the house, etc
  4. The No escape room Phase = This is the Down phase: you feel VERY bored and annoyed and you don’t want to stay home anymore. This phase shall pass, trust me, and when you do you will enter the last phase, the one where I am right now
  5. The Terminal Phase = You will make up with the idea of staying home, whether you like it or not, and you’ll start thinking “Ok bro/sis, I have no choice, let’s deal with it”

Now, it’s time for some quarantine tips from those who have already been there (and still are):

  1. Don’t stay in your pajamas all day; put on clean clothes instead. This action will mark the start of your day
  2. Try to divide your day equally between work and relaxation. Having a work-life balance during the lockdown is just as important as during your regular life. Avoid being lazy as much as you avoid overworking
  3. Respect meal times so as to have the day marked by regular rhythms
  4. Try to keep your week routine as much as you can (i.e. Keep doing your Thursday cocktail hour with friends, but do it via Skype/Zoom/Facetime)
  5. DO NOT read Coronavirus news all-day-long and STOP refreshing that WHO page ! Once a day it’s enough
  6. Write down a list of all the things you have always wanted to do/start doing again/learning and fill the gaps of your day (the ones during which you feel bored or lonely) with those activities

Here are some suggestions for things you can do online:

Make time for self-care during this quarantine

Self-care activities:

  • Home beauty routine (make your own cosmetics and turn your bath time into your daily spa)
  • Love yourself and nourish your body with good food. Try new recipes with longer prep times (ragu, bread, legumes soups or ramen, home-made pasta) that you normally would not have time to make, or just use an on-line resource to help you assemble a meal starting from only foods you have in the fridge.
  • Stay active or start to be active following WHO recommendations! 
  • If you are out of shape, start with something simple
  • If you are a bit used to the gym, try some cardio 
  • Or just do some stretching to help you relax those back/neck/arms/joints 
  • Call or video call your parents, siblings, friends, colleagues. Avoid texting; let’s try to create a sense of familiariaty, listening to the voices of your loved ones and ‘seeing’ them
Use your extra time to organize and declutter

Home caring activities:

Cultural activities:

Many museums around the world are offering free virtual too

At the end of the day, if you feel discouraged, nervous or frustrated, try to remember that this lockdown doesn’t necessarily mean wasted time or emptiness to be filled. It’s OK to not feel like doing one of the above-mentioned activities, it’s OK to lay on the couch for a whole afternoon, just try to concentrate not only on the negative feelings or on the boredom. Shift your mindset and try to really understand what this quarantine gives you the occasion to do. Slow down and reflect, especially on the small things you take for granted. When was the last time you and your partner enjoyed a lunch, together, during the work week? When was the last time you had the occasion to spent whole days with your children, sharing activities and cuddles without being overstressed by your daily errands? Do you remember the last time you spent hours on a phone call with your best friend without thinking about all your pending tasks? And what about the stress of daily commuting, or traffic jams? You see, there are A LOT of positive things about being in lockdown. However, I don’t want to lie to you: it’s not simple, it won’t get better, you just learn how to deal with it. We will all get to the end of this situation changed, I still don’t know if in a positive or negative way, but we will have changed: it’s up to you do decide where to move the balance needle. 

Be patient, remain home, stay safe.