Comparing quarantine activities creates new problem during pandemic

Social media is now riddled with glamorous quarantine lives, and thousands are finding themselves at a loss for what to do.

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A few months ago, I never thought I’d worry about what would happen when I went to the grocery store. Everyone is worried — well, everyone should be. There is so much to be concerned about. Our relatives, our friends, our grades. Every day we open Twitter and are bombarded with the next thing we need to add to our list of precautions to take. The one thing we should not need to worry about, though, is how good our quarantine looks.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve scrolled past an incredible amount of quarantine schedules on Instagram. It is fantastic that people are scheduling their days; it’s a proven way to reduce stress and ease anxiety in uncertain times, which is exactly what we’re going through. What is unnecessary though, is making others feel like they have to do it too.

Comparing your life to those on social media is already something that happens way too often, but now, we’re comparing our quarantines. Daily walks, meditation sessions, workout challenges, new diets, craft-a-day schedules — there’s an endless amount of activities now online that offer the opportunity of saying, “Wow, I should be doing that.”

What someone else is doing should be the least of your concerns, even if that’s simply what they’re posting on social media. Getting inspiration from others is fantastic and we clearly thrive off of it, but at a time like this, priority number one is the health and safety of those around us. Priority number two: probably sanity; after that, it’s up for grabs. Running three miles a day because Karen said she did should not be what you’re aiming for. Do what works for you and go from there.

As if simple schedules and artsy photos weren’t enough to make you feel inferior, the internet invented the “COVID-19 pounds,” similar to the infamous “Freshman 15.” At a certain point, self-improvement during a pandemic becomes disrespectful to those working to stop it when you take it upon yourself to edit the name of the disease in order to create a weight-loss craze. This is serious, and not something to make a joke and a few cute workout videos out of. I don’t think the nurse working 15 hours a day wants to hear from her husband that he’s worried about gaining the “COVID-19.”

This attitude of “my quarantine isn't as good as yours” is a distraction from what’s going on in the real world. It makes sense that people are scared, and it’s okay to alter your daily life to make up from that. But, for those of us who would rather lay on the couch for three-quarters of the day, it’s okay. Just wash your hands.

Edited by George Frey | gfrey@themaneater.com

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