Spain went into a State of Alarm on March 14th, so we’ve been following a very strict quarantine for a little over 5 weeks. We are only allowed to leave our homes to buy food, take out the trash, go to the hospital or pharmacy, and walk our dogs. I don’t have a dog here, nor do I have much of balcony, and so I’ve very much felt ‘confined’. At this point, all of my days are starting to resemble one another, but I figured I’d walk you through what I am doing to stay active and positive…
8:15 am – I begin my mornings more or less the same each day. While I am sleeping in a little more than usual because I no longer have a commute, I’m trying to wake up around the same time every day, including weekends, because it is very easy to fall into a depressive hole if you don’t have a normal sleep schedule (flashback to my college days). After waking up, one of the first things I do, rain or shine, is make the bed. This has been a habit ingrained in me since childhood (thanks, Slavic Grandmother!) and I love the feeling of having a tidy room, especially when it’s time to get ready for bed. Afterward, I will wash my face, do my morning skincare routine and slap on some makeup. I’ve found that this single part of my routine has really helped me feel like a human throughout this quarantine. Even if there is nobody else around, a little bit of makeup makes me feel so much better about myself. Afterwards, I get dressed. My typical daily uniform has been leggings and a loose, comfy top, but I’ve dressed a little fancier for days such as Easter, just to feel like I’m marking the occasion properly. After getting dressed, I will have some breakfast (usually a piece of toast with some turkey slices, a banana and coffee).
9:15 am (ish) – If it’s a weekday, I start working by checking my emails and checking off things from my to-do list. I try to be available to answer any messages that need answering ASAP. If it’s the weekend, I am on social media and or looking at all the memes.
12:30 pm – It’s been feeling a little Handmaid’s Tale lately. There have been many times where I’ve been to the grocery store and it’s completely out of flour, milk, bread, meat or toilet paper (I judge you, toilet paper hoarders). Here in Spain, one person per family is allowed to go to the grocery store at a time. This isn’t something that is actively enforced by any authorities (that I’ve seen), especially if you maintain your distance from one another, but there is no point in multiple people going out at once from the same family and increasing risk of infection. D and I alternate who goes to the grocery store weekly in order to breathe some fresh air and have a short change of scenery. In the grocery store by my house, we are required to keep a distance from everybody, put on gloves as we enter the store, and wipe down our cart with hand sanitizer. I feel like there is so much stuff to remember at once, especially since I don’t have my phone out with my list of what to buy until I’m ready to check out, and consequently, I’ve forgotten to take things I specifically came to get because I was wrestling with the ‘gloves’ (which are just the plastic bags for produce) and worried about being too close to people. Needless to say, I keep feeling nervous every time I’m at the store, for some reason. I can’t shake the feeling like I’m doing it (whatever it is) wrong.
2:15 pm – We have been really good at sticking to a routine in terms of our meals. Spanish times for lunch are at 2 pm, more or less, and I’m not going to lie, mealtime is the highlight of my day. It’s the highlight of my day during normal times, but nowadays, it is even that much more exciting. While I’m eating the current meal, I am always thinking of what I will have for the next meal, etc. To add a little spice to our lives, we turn on the TV and watch the Spanish ‘Wheel of Fortune’ while we wait for the 3 pm news.
3:00 pm – We get the daily count of deaths reported and then the usual pat-on-the-back from government officials saying that we are doing great (questionable – there have been over 20,000 deaths related to the coronavirus in Spain, to date) and that we have another 2-week extension to our quarantine. *Depressive Sigh*
4:00 pm – After we’ve been successfully depressed by the news, I usually look for a way to make myself feel better, so I will find something mindless, like a game or a puzzle, to do. I don’t have any actual, physical puzzles at home, but I’ve downloaded an app that has some free puzzles to solve, and it’s done wonders for my mental health. I’ve also been playing a zombie game, and that has NOT been great for my mental health (I keep getting killed and have to restart), but cheers to mind-numbing fun.
6:30 pm – In normal times, I’m usually a very active person, and I try to go to the gym a couple of times a week in addition to walking everywhere. Nowadays, I’m confined to the space between my coffee table and tv to carry out all my exercise, but I’ve been taking advantage of all the free time I now have to try different types of workouts. I switch between yoga, HIIT workouts, pilates and core exercises (which are countered by my consumption of wine and chocolate, but I’m making an effort and that’s what counts). Aaptiv has been my go-to app for finding home workouts, as well as YouTube.
7:30 pm – After I finish with my workout, I usually shower and relax a little bit. At this point, I like to light a candle because it really sets the mood for relaxation. Plus, I love how nice the room smells when a candle has been burning for a while. I’ve been alternating between two candles lately: Nudesse and Baies. Both are lovely floral scents.
7:58 pm – I swear, our 8 pm ‘Applause for Healthcare and other Essential Workers’, keeps starting earlier and earlier (we have a very eager neighbor who thinks he is a DJ and starts his music before 8 to get us excited). I try to go out and show my support most days, but some days, I just don’t have the mental strength to do so. Regardless of the applause, all the essential workers right now have all my respect and support. I recognize my privilege in being able to stay home and stay safe because so many folks out on the front lines of this pandemic do not get to – so thank you for all you do…
9:00 pm – It’s dinner time! My second favorite meal of the day! We’ve been doing a rotation of (mostly) healthy meals with chicken and veggies of some sort being the most reoccurring menu. Friday nights we will stick a frozen pizza in the oven and have that with a salad or on its own. Our most frequent option for dessert has been this yummy greek yogurt with stracciatella. I’m surprisingly a creature of habit, and will happily have the same thing every night. We will also, at this point, consume a couple of squares of chocolate. It’s completely necessary, given the circumstances.
9:30 pm – If it’s Wednesday or the weekend, I’ll usually have a glass of wine with or after dinner (or both, or before dinner). It’s become a very welcome tradition to help break up the week on Wednesdays and then signal the weekend on Friday. I’m a particular fan of Riojas and Monastrell wines (from Alicante!). I’ve definitely noticed myself drinking a lot more during this quarantine, which isn’t the healthiest, but it’s how I’m dealing.
11:30 pm – This is usually the time we start winding down for bed. I’m NEVER asleep around this time but it’s something I want to work on. There are some days where anxiety keeps me up and I can’t fall asleep until 3 in the morning. But regardless, the next day, I still try and wake up at the normal time and repeat it all over again.
Although I’m frustrated at how long this quarantine has been going on for, I don’t, for one minute, think it’s unnecessary. In fact, we should have started this sooner, avoiding this catastrophic number of deaths. No government has been fully prepared for this, but I feel like it’s been especially a disaster here. However, if by me staying home means that I don’t get my neighbor sick and potentially die, I am more than happy to do so. The economy will recover eventually, but we won’t be able to get the people back that we’ve lost. Although my days have started to blend into one, and I’m facing some financial/career hardships in the upcoming weeks, this is something we have to do to for the greater good.
Stay strong and stay inside folks!