The sound of video games being played in the background as I sipped my strawberry margarita at Dave & Buster’s on a Friday night. My family decided to go out for dinner, as part of a tradition; we all have busy schedules so having dinner together is something we have been doing for years in order to ensure we get to spend time together.
As we sat eating, drinking, laughing and joking, I never imagined it would be our last time having dinner out together for a long time.
Alone time is not something I was able to get while living in a house with four other people.
A year ago, I chose to move out of my parent’s house to live on my own. When I first moved out, I welcomed the thought of having endless alone time, but that feeling quickly faded two weeks into being self-quarantined.
Since the Illinois stay-at-home order took effect, I have been living in isolation, unable to have face to face communication with my family and friends. Quarantine has not been easy for someone like me who is single with no kids and lives alone. I often find myself feeling lonely and sad because I am unable to spend in-person time with my family. Of course, I have video or audio calls with them almost every day, but it is not the same as being able to physically see and touch them.
I keep using the word “family,” and I’m sure you are wondering who makes up my family at this point. My family consists of my mom, dad, older sister, older brother, younger brother, my nephew and brother in law. Growing up, I never had to face any situation alone because I have always had my family by side.
Living in quarantine is the first time in my life I have felt completely alone.
My life in quarantine has had some noticeably negative effects on my physical, mental and cognitive health.
Since January of this year I have been working full time as an administrative assistant at a hair restoration salon and attending graduate school full time, making my pre-COVID life very busy. I currently do both from home while in quarantine, but the only difference is my lack of focus. I have a much harder time getting my mind to focus on a school or work-related task, which makes my brain feel like it is burning out quicker than usual.
The uncertainty of the current pandemic has caused my anxiety to increase, which leads to many restless nights. The lack of sleep is causing my body and mind to feel lazy even when I know I have important tasks to complete.
Before quarantine, my world was so big. I would spend my free time doing my favorite activities; having spa days, going on shopping trips, attending rooftop bars, and traveling. During quarantine, my world has shrunk down to the confined space of my small one-bedroom apartment. My free time is now spent going to the grocery store for food, household items and gassing up my car so that I can travel back and forth to the grocery store.
Life in quarantine is nothing compared to my life before quarantine, but I am going to make the best of it until it is safe enough to go back to life as I knew it before COVID-19.