COVID-19: Opportunity to re-connect with your inner self

Amalia (France)

As I got back from my travels just a few months ago, I hadn’t gotten back to a work nor study routine when the quarantine started, so my life was not too affected, apart from the fact that I don’t go outside my home anymore. I am currently isolating with my mom and sister. A typical day would be waking up between 7:30am and 9am, making myself some breakfast and really trying to take some time to cook. Then either diving into some yoga practices, meditation or more creative activities like painting, drawing, writing etc. After that, I generally enjoy lunch with my sister and mom during her break as she works from home. Afternoons are more about exercising, dancing, learning more about history, reading or just relaxing with some music.

In France, the quarantine began two weeks ago which means all public and private institutions are closed. The only open businesses are the essential ones e.g supermarkets, bakeries (remember we are in France), drugstores and hospitals. From what I can see from my window, the streets are mostly empty. I think people respect social distancing as you can get fined 200€ if caught outside, not going or coming back from one of the businesses quoted before.

Not going out has allowed me to go within, reconnecting with my mind, body and soul as well as with my loved ones. It has given me the freedom I could never reach because of the daily obligations society imposes upon us. I now try to create a space where I fulfill my needs, get in touch with my feelings, be gentle with myself, and take care of my body; yoga and art really help me to do so. I choose to take this situation as an opportunity to start from scratch, taking things day by day.

Sandra (Spain)

I am a freelance dancer and dance teacher, therefore since the lockdown started I cannot work due to the new rules introduced by the government because of the coronavirus crisis. All cultural and educational activities have been cancelled. My everyday life looks nothing like it should. I am under quarantine, and in addition to being unable to teach, I cannot go to train and take daily professional classes, a very important aspect of a dancer’s life. Maintaining our body in good fit and active is essential for our career. I am following a daily working routine, as if I was going to work, to avoid falling into sedentary lifestyle: waking up early, doing my hour warm-up, ballet barre training, my daily contemporary online dance class, lunch break followed by some time for computer work or personal time, two hours gym-based workout in the evening, and finishing the day with a video call with family or friends. Keeping my day full has been a very good recipe.

I am under quarantine in Spain, and here we are under very strict measures, because the pandemic hit very strongly, and hospitals are at their limit. You can only leave the house for supermarket shopping, pharmacy or medical appointments. So personally I am only leaving the house to take out the rubbish and once per week for groceries. We are not allowed to go for a walk or exercising, however you are allowed to take your dog for a walk (now is when everyone regrets not having one, including me).

When you walk on the streets you feel this tension, or awareness of your surroundings, always in mind not to touch your face, keeping the 1,5 meters distance. I queue unconsciously in the supermarket to get something from the same shelf, using only one pair of shoes to go outside and leaving them in the front door, washing all supermarket shopping with soap before storing them… measures I had never thought of doing before. On family chats and video calls the situation is tense. There is a lot of negativity and impatience flowing, people seem to only be able to talk about the crisis and complain when there is not much you can do. I think it is better to not count the days and take a more accepting attitude with the situation we have to live, and make the most of it. If you don’t find yourself a motor, you will drown.

A good consequence of this situation is that very creative initiatives in all social media have been raised from dance companies and very good professionals to offer shows and classes to dancers online, and these are really helping to cope with the quarantine and keep my training going. I am also dedicating time to things I always wanted to do but never had the time for it, for example, learning more about mindfulness and meditation. This way I don’t feel my time is wasted. Luckily, I am in quarantine with my family, so I don’t feel completely isolated. But I notice I have this need to give a hug, to hold someone’s hand, to feel the touch of someone’s skin, and that is making me more sensitive. It is like if my sense of touch would have awakened a bit more. I also notice I am looking back at past memories now and then, and I have the feeling of treasuring them, being grateful for the experiences I had, and that is giving me a sense of peace with myself. I am usually very busy running forward, that I forget to stop and enjoy what I have lived until then. This forced stop of the world as we know it is giving me that perspective to my past and I feel more connected to myself.

Ochieng (Johannesburg, South Africa)

It has done it in quite a strange way, I’ve been forced to really introspect & face many of my demons, but have healed and gotten a good sense of my identity now. My day is usually very relaxed, quiet lazy tbh but I try get something small done here and there. I do plan on doing more and improving on things that I lacked.

Cases are slowly rising, only 11 deaths so far. But lockdown is still in an unstable situation in some areas. We will see how it will progress after the screening project is done and results are given.

It’s hard to adjust to, but I’ve been having several videocalls and WhatsApp chats with friends so that has dearly helped. Emotions… It’s been a mess due to introspection and personal problems, but I’m dealing with them day by day and accepting them as part of me continuously. It’s painful & difficult but also healing. Lots of growth, support from family and friends at least.

This article is part of the Newscoop series #QuarantineStories which asks people from all over the world about how they are coping with COVID-19 and quarantine.

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