5 things I learned in self-isolation

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that I had caught Covid. Once I had tested positive, I was required to self-isolate for at least seven days. Since the duck and I do not live alone (as in just the two of us), self-isolation for me meant spending virtually all day in my bedroom. The duck isolated with me in solidarity for the most part. Fortunately, I could convince the duck to go on occasional solo outside walks. Since there are no duck-specific Covid regulations, we decided that as long as the duck kept a safe distance from other strollers, it would be okay. Just because I was stuck in a room – at some point, I had resorted to counting the wood fibers in my sand-colored ingrain wallpaper (that was beginning to look like a delicious oatmeal waterfall) – didn’t mean the duck shouldn’t get some fresh air from time to time.

Whenever the duck came back from a solo outdoor adventure, we had a lot to talk about. The duck told me about the first heralds of spring. In return, I shared some of my most interesting isolation-induced insights:

Isolation realizations

  1. There is a thing as “too lazy.
    The duck and I have been proud members of the self-professed laziness movement for a while now. Instead of seeking ways to perfect our laziness, I should have mentally prepared for a laziness overload. As a professional procrastinator, it’s hard for me to get bored in my free time. Catching Covid, however, put me in the ambivalent situation of being too sick for my brain to focus on anything productive but not sick enough to simply sleep through the day. As a result, I spent a good portion of my time in isolation questioning the truthfulness of my laziness. I still am.
  2. Fresh air is particularly fabulous if you’re surrounded by it.
    Like many fellow lazy homebodies, the duck and I had little trouble adapting to the new social distancing rules in the early months of the pandemic. We did, however, go on a few more neighborhood walks than usual to counteract the self-imposed cutback of our beloved grocery shopping trips. Now I wasn’t even allowed to go for a walk. So, my craving for fresh air became intense. I aired my bedroom a lot and spent long stretches of time standing at the open window, blankly staring at the outside world through the mesh of my insect screen. My appreciation for the outdoors had become greater than I could have ever imagined. Once I was allowed to leave the house again, I went on lots of slow recovery walks to catch up on all that 360º fresh air I had been missing out on.
  3. Even a sleep pro can have bad weeks.
    When I, a self-professed sleep-pro who can usually sleep anywhere, anytime, for a long time, suddenly had trouble falling asleep at night, I knew that something was off. I am lucky to experience so little insomnia that I can usually recount each instance for months. Even when I have a cold, a lack of sleep is rarely a problem. Feeling sleepless for several days in a row was the first clue I might have contracted Covid even though I was still testing negative. What I would have given to share the duck’s peaceful cookie-filled dreams!
  4. Some Covid cases are more equal than others.
    I spent most of my sleepless nights going down the internet rabbit hole of Covid information and recommendations (now that I think of it, this might have been the main contributor to #3). These searches made me realize just how differently individual Covid cases can play out. I learned that, through a combination of booster shots, new variants, and individual reactions to the virus, it could take days until a rapid test can detect an infection (if the viral load is ever high enough). Therefore, I half-expected a positive result, even after repeatedly testing negative when my symptoms were at their worst. In comparison, some friends and family tested positive right away or not at all. Not for nothing does official Covid advice usually contain words like “may” and “likely.”
    At least I wasn’t entirely unproductive during those weeks of quarantine and self-isolation!
  5. Some people have crazy routines.
    I’m “some people.” Before Covid entered the duck and my home, and we subsequently began to wear a mask in the kitchen, I wasn’t aware of how many ingredients end up in my stomach before they make it into the meal I’m preparing. But that’s not what I mean by “crazy.” Once I had tested positive, my time in the kitchen was limited. Only then did I fully realize how complicated and time-consuming some of my food preparation routines are. Because I couldn’t assemble my meals the way I usually do, I spent a big chunk of my days in self-isolation eating not the healthiest snacks, (seeing oatmeal in my wallpaper,) and contemplating the craziness of my mostly improvised food making (meaning: no recipe, no guaranteed edibleness, no way to simply explain how I prepare any of my standard meals and why it takes me so long).

Tl;dr: Self-isolation gave me insights I didn’t know I was missing and a new appreciation for things I had taken for granted. Even though my insights are likely useless to anyone who isn’t me, they may inspire you to create your own list of (non-)isolation realizations (ideally, without having to catch Covid first). After all, you don’t need to get sick to appreciate the little (and weird) things in life 🙂

4 thoughts on “5 things I learned in self-isolation

  1. Nope, Not Pam says:

    A very interesting post, I’ve not had Covid, so I’ll keep these in mind for when it does occur. PS – I hope duck behaved on his treks 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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