Pandemic and perspective: How to make your days tolerable

Peyton Krzyzek, Special to The Oak Leaf

As a student, this pandemic really put my life into perspective. Back when life was normal I would complain about never getting enough sleep, debate whether or not I wanted to wake up early for my morning class, and my biggest worries were about what class I needed to study for or what I was going to eat from the cafeteria that day. 

Now I realize how much I took all of that for granted. 

You don’t realize how good you had it until the rug is pulled out from under you and you’re left with nothing. In these last couple of weeks I realized how much I actually loved school and how much I miss being able to have a crazy life. I miss being able to go into the library and just sit and do homework while people-watching. I miss sitting outside in the sun while different clubs would set up and play their music. I miss the welcoming atmosphere of the JC and being surrounded with kids who are passionate about their education and future. 

I find it funny that it takes a pandemic for me to realize that but I feel as though I’m not the only one, and that a lot of people are taking time to reflect on how their lives have changed because of this.

Currently it’s just me and my mom at home withering away from boredom, but we do have our spastic dog and our whiny, yet oh-so-loveable cat to accompany us through these disheartening times. 

Since my mom is older I was worried about her going out shopping with me so I went to the store by myself. This is another thing that was put into perspective for me, about how people become completely different the second a pandemic hits. I walked through the store and immediately saw it was flooded with people and knew it was game-on to get the things I wanted. 

So my first stop was the eggs, and I was shocked because usually Grocery Outlet has an abundance of supplies and products, but when I went to the eggs I was taken aback. There were two cartons of eggs on the entire shelf; the first carton had five cracked eggs the second only had one smashed egg. So I decided to grab one good egg from the other carton and make do to get a full carton of eggs. 

As I strolled through the store I made my way through the aisles that were barren and managed to scavenge all the food that we needed which consisted of a lot of soup and ramen, many frozen items and several loaves of bread, now stored in my freezer. But as I was walking around, there was a general expression of hopelessness and worry among every person I passed. Honestly, I felt the same way. 

I think we can come to the consensus that these are pretty crappy times, but we should not let them completely change our lives. I have been withering away in my room with a laptop, my phone and a large stack of books to keep my company. There’s always something we can do to make the circumstances a little easier.

Here are a few ideas to make your situation more tolerable. 

Take time for yourself

One of the things that I have made time for is doing some yoga. I like to start off my morning with this and put on some music, roll out a yoga mat (you can use a beach towel if you don’t have one) and just take 10 or 15 minutes to start off the day. For me at least this is just a little way to relax and help start my morning off in a better light. Along these lines is meditation. If you don’t want to do yoga you can always take time to just sit down and breathe, which is great for stress relief. 


Since most of us don’t have anything to do, it can be to fall into the routine of never leaving your bed except to take an occasional trip to the fridge. But scrolling aimlessly through TikTok in bed is not a legit excuse for not exercising, so start being active and go work out. Make a routine at night, in the morning, mid-day — it doesn’t matter what time, but try to carve out some time for a little daily exercise. Another alternative is to go for a daily walk to feel refreshed. Most of us didn’t have the time before to enjoy the simple things, but now we have no excuse, so get out there and take a stroll through your neighborhood.

Start cooking your own food

Most of us relied on quick-and-easy meals because we always had something to do or had somewhere to be. A fun idea is to download The New York Times’s cooking app and look up some new recipes. By doing this you’re eating better, and it can also be a fun family event to see who has the better dish and who’s the top quarantine chef. 

Connect with friends

Even though most of us are isolated there are still ways to feel connected with friends. One of the things I and a couple of my friends decided to do was to create a Google doc with short story prompts. You can list any number of prompts and then choose one and write a story. These stories can be elaborate, funny, dark or whimsical, or they can be as weird as you want. Another fun activity is creating different challenges with your friends like drawing challenges or TikTok dance challenges. Even though we can’t be together in person, a virtual connection is better than isolation. 

Read or journal

There is no excuse to not pick up the book you said you were going to get around to but never did. Now we have the time, so stop your procrastination and be proactive! Dust off a book, charge a Nook or Kindle,  download some quality reads, and just spend the day getting lost in literature. If reading isn’t your forte you can also start a quarantine journal. Talk about how you’re feeling, your weird thoughts, weird dreams and any funny inside jokes made in this quarantine. That way, when this is over, you can look back, realize how bored you were and have a good laugh. 

Find new TV shows and movies

Disney Plus, Netflix, Hulu, HBO — tune in to any of it. A couple of my favorite TV shows are “Money Heist” and “Babylon Berlin.” Check out shows that you would never have considered or shows in foreign language. You can always use English subtitles; this way you won’t miss foreign language shows’ really good acting and story lines.