social distancing

People Share Their Quarantine Schedules

Staying home can get really old really fast. To fight boredom and a strong call to laze around, these people created routines for their new normal.
April 24, 2020, 3:52am
People Share Their Quarantine Schedules
All photos courtesy of the subjects

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia.

Amidst lockdowns and strict social distancing measures, most of us have developed a daily routine under home quarantine, some sort of learned normalcy in the time of coronavirus.

After getting through the first couple of weeks of being confined in my own home, every day doesn’t feel so much a captive situation as “just another day.” Maybe I’ve found inner peace, or maybe it’s just Stockholm syndrome with an invisible captor.

To get a sense of how others around the world are doing in this collective house arrest, VICE asked people to share their quarantine schedules since lockdowns started in their countries.

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For some, spending an extended period of time at home is a rare chance for self-introspection. For others, it has turned into a hum-drum home routine. But it seems like most people are just trying to make the best out of the situation.

Isabela, 29, Philippines

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I always start my day with a prayer, especially with everything that’s happening now, and then, as much as possible, I try to do 30 minutes of fasted cardio before I have breakfast with my family at around 8 AM. I also prepare food for my dog Maddie.

Then, I freshen up and go to my makeshift workstation (formerly my dresser) and check the to-do list I made and messages on our work app and email. The rest of my day (usually until 9 PM) is dedicated to coordinating with different teams and agencies to ensure smooth live streaming operations for the e-commerce website I work in — especially now that we’re focusing on creating relevant and entertaining content for our users.

After work, I unwind for one to two hours before bed by watching Netflix (Currently watching Kim’s Convenience Season 4) or read a book (Currently reading Never! 9 Things we Must Never Do by Vince Burke). If I don’t get to workout in the morning, I do at least 30 minutes of cardio before bed.

Given that we’re all home and on enhanced community quarantine, we eat all meals as a family — breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time everyday. Mealtime is when we all catch up with each other; they're a welcome break from work.

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Right now, I feel calmer and more in-control of my schedule.

I am new to the work from home set-up so it was challenging for me to adjust in the first week. I felt very anxious because I didn’t know how to behave in this new environment — I’ve always had an office job.

I did not know how to set boundaries and just kept working until early morning. However, I have told myself to take mandatory breaks and make it a habit to close my computer by 9 PM as long as there is nothing urgent.

Jason, 29, Philippines

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I usually start my day at around 8 or 9 AM. I make sure to have a quick breakfast first before starting work. My girlfriend Gwen and I are both still working so we have video chat on in the background throughout the day.

Most days, I make sure to get some exercise at my home gym. I've always worked out from home, and it's always been a form of meditation and escape for me. That effect has amplified since quarantine started. Having meals together with my family also helps to cope with the situation.

At night, I make sure to disconnect from the news and devote my energy to something else to recharge for the next day. Sometimes it's reading fiction, other nights a movie or video games, and sometimes I devote the time to learning a new skill.

If I can help it, I try to minimise work on weekends to have some semblance of a regular routine. I spend the days resting, doing some form of relaxing activity like reading or watching a movie, and exercising.

Rachel, 28, New Zealand

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My schedule looks like this:

7 - 8 AM: Breakfast and news

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9 - 12 PM: Yoga or treadmill and get groceries if needed

1 - 2 PM: Backyard archery behind condo

3 - 5 PM: Emails and dinner

6 - 9 PM: Read books, manga or anything online. Call friends or family to keep from going crazy.

10 - 11 PM: Prep for the next day, check if groceries and cleaning supplies are stocked up

12 AM: Sleep and pray tomorrow is a better day

Yohana Belinda, 22, Indonesia

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My daily routine during quarantine is waking up and showing up to my online classes. I try to be as productive as I can by submitting writing and reading assignments and sometimes making clay sculptures.

I try to do a lot of positive activities that involve all my senses.

I've been diving into Netflix and old hip-hop music videos during my free time because I have to stay at home. I tried to socialise during this period of social-physical distancing by calling my friends. It was fun, but a little bit different.

Since all my classes have been online for the past weeks, my parents urged me to go back home. They were worried about me living by myself in Melbourne. So now, I have to adjust to the four-hour time difference in Indonesia to join classes and arrange my schedule for online assignments. Overall, it was something new for me and everyone.

Ralph, 30, Guam

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My schedule looks like this:

6 - 7 AM: Catch up on news, have coffee

8 - 12 PM: Work from laptop, calisthenics and cardio, shooting range if there’s time

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1 - 3 PM: Groceries before curfew (if necessary)

4 - 5 PM: Daily Zoom meeting

6 - 9 PM: Dinner, movies, whiskey, Tinder, sleep

10 PM - 5 AM: Get ready to do it all over again, meditate to keep sanity, and eventually sleep

Thamjeed Ali, 22, India

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First thing in the morning, I get out of bed, leave my phone, and go out to the balcony to get a moment of serenity. I breathe in fresh air and think about to-dos. I do some yoga, meditation, or prayer while the dawn breaks — something I had not been able to do in years.

I drink water, get hydrated, then grab my phone and towel and head to the toilet. Since I'm in no hurry, I liberate my mind while showering accompanied by loud music. I check my emails and news while on the toilet, then walk out of the bathroom refreshed and smiling. All the above happens around at 6 to 8 AM.

Throughout the day, I keep myself hydrated and carry on with my online work. I keep a 45-minute timer to stay focused and to take periodic breaks.

After work, I spend time doing things that I need to work on myself. Right now it's vocabulary, so I do reading and writing.

I make sure that I spend an adequate amount of time video calling friends and connecting with old friends whom I've lost contact with.

After dinner, I make sure that I get in bed early. Excess time has given me the opportunity to work and take care of my body. From morning exercises to getting more sleep, I'm making sure I utilise this time to focus on my well-being, drinking fresh juices and doing skin care.

If I've got a bit more time during the day, I explore my creative side or do some chores around the house. I have been doing fun things like identifying constellations, learning new flower and plant names using mobile apps, and gaming. These take away much of my boredom, but nothing beats a good buddies conference call.

Hang in there, people!

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.