If you’ve travelled overseas in the past couple of years, chances are, you’ve experienced some sort of daunting quarantine. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hotel and home quarantines remain mandatory in many regions in a bid to curb the chances of spreading the virus. But for most of us, quarantines can take a huge toll on mental and physical health and result in a week (or more) long period of stress stuck indoors.
For wellness expert Rachel Moon, founder of Elevate Boutique Fitness Consulting and Don’t Resist, quarantining has become a new norm. She’s done four quarantines and has learned to adapt to the times with the help of her healthy, holistic routines during each stay. So fret not, if you’re about to embark on your next quarantine, here’s how to take care of yourself—mentally and physically—from a wellness perspective.
Where and when was your last quarantine? I’ve done a total of four quarantines. I’ve done two weeks at home, two X two weeks in a hotel, and a very long three weeks in a hotel. My latest one was in July 2021.
I chose the One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences for my last two quarantine stays. It was a great option for me thanks to its harbour views, great meal choices, and the generous size of the room. It’s also well located for quick accessibility to my favourite restaurants and the occasional Deliveroo order!
How did you stay mentally and physically well during this time? There are a few key points to staying physically and mentally healthy during your quarantine stay. It’s all too easy to get lost in marathon sessions of Netflix, so the most important piece of the healthy puzzle is to have a plan. And that starts with a schedule. The schedule doesn’t have to be rigid, but a solid framework to make the hours feel worthwhile will keep you from focusing on the isolation.
I organised my room so it had distinct areas. A spot to eat, a bed strictly for sleeping, a workout corner and a specific zone for getting work done. The rooms aren’t that big so zoning different corners of the room can help.
Lastly, invest in some at-home exercise equipment. You can do a lot with simple resistance bands. I was lucky enough for the last few stays to have an exercise bike in my room. If that isn’t possible, get inventive. Have a dance hour, sign up for a fitness app (they all offer 2 weeks free trials) or see what local gyms are offering online for quarantiners.
What are your top three quarantine survival tips? It’s all about mindset—the more you think how much it sucks, the more it will. I put work into changing my mindset to one of acceptance and even gratitude (both helpful). I looked at my two weeks as a unique opportunity to do things that I couldn’t normally find the time for in the busy outside world.
Secondly, nutrition—keeping my meals healthy and light helped me overcome the sluggish feeling you can get when stuck inside for extended periods. I saved the treats for days when I felt I needed a little pick me up!
I’ve already mentioned scheduling, zoning your room and keeping active above. So my last tip would be to not count the days—sounds corny but try to celebrate them. I had a post-it note wall. Every day I took great pleasure in ripping a note off the wall. It was like my quarantine advent calendar. Thankfully not 25 days!
What are some tools/apps/devices that helped you stay healthy and fit while in a hotel room? Some of my favourite fitness apps are Kira Stokes and Alo Moves by Alo Yoga. They both have 14-day programmes. It’s a great way to commit to moving your body every day. For meditation, I don’t use an app, but a good one is Insight Timer as it has a variety of meditations (or you can just use it as a timer). It also keeps track of your mediations, which can be helpful to incentives keeping a daily routine.
What’s the best way to get the most nutritious meals at quarantine hotels? Luckily, at the One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences they had a nutritious choice on the menu every day. At previous hotel stays that wasn’t the case. There are some great nutritious options on Deliveroo like Treehouse and MANA! on Foodpanda. Of course, ordering out every day can start to get costly. Another good option is one of the meal prep delivery companies like Voilà. What I love about this company is they are focused on creating nutritious, high-quality, well-balanced meals of up to 500 calories.
The meals are freshly prepared and come in vacuum-sealed packages that you simply heat up. Most people who have done quarantine will tell you when the doorbell rings it can sometimes be the highlight of the day….the anticipation of what’s in the bag! It’s especially fun to find out what’s in the basket when you are lucky enough to receive surprise care packages from friends. So, if you know someone in quarantine…definitely take the time to send them something!
What are some mental wellness tips and tricks for quarantiners? Reach out to people every day, but don’t overload your schedule with Facetime calls. They can be surprisingly draining. One day I spent over four hours chatting to people! Think about arranging a group call, like getting together with friends you would if you were free to socialise. Quarantine happy hour!
Have someone bring something from your home that makes your hotel stay feel a little homier. For me, that was my comfy loungewear and my meditation cushion. Switch out your kindle for an actual book. It’s surprising how much time you can spend on digital devices in quarantine, as all of your usual face-to-face interactions will also be on your phone.
Finally, how often do we get an extended period of alone time? Ok, I’m sure we would all prefer that time to be spent on a beach in Bali, but when life gives you lemons…kick your feet up, sit back with a good book, enjoy the quiet…and sip some lemonade!