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March 27, 2020

Quick Guide to Finding Happiness During the Covid-19 Quarantine

By Mitzi Salgado

Finding joy while you’re cooped up in your house can be difficult. Seeing the same people and doing the same set of things can get exhausting, no offense. It is entirely normal that you may be feeling under the weather during this uncertain and wrestles time, and it is especially tricky for people battling depression.

It is times like these when you realize that you don’t know how good we have it until we can’t have the life we normally have.

Covid-19 came to remind us of how PRIVILEGED many of us are and to be grateful of our lives.

But this doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard to be faced with isolation, especially for people who already live lonely lives. For folks with depression and anxiety, hearing other people struggle with being quarantined is almost a validation of how hard it is to live in isolation on a normal basis. How lucky those people are, who live near friends and family, to be able to fulfill their social routines under normal circumstances. This is by no means a justification to undermine people’s experiences, but It is especially important to respect and validate the emotions of people whose depression and anxiety are acute due to Covid-19, The good news is that sometimes the ability to work remote, be with pets, and personal belongings can feel less lonely for people who have depression. Also, now more than ever, therapists are offering remote counseling services. We see an increasing number of mental health services provided virtually for better prices. Such access can bring hope to this circumstance.

In the meantime, we can all use some guidelines to find joy at home during the quarantine.

  1. Start by asking yourself, “how can I make my situation a little better today?” This question allows you to check-in with yourself and thinks outside of the box. Perhaps you want to have Champagne while you take a bath? Or you can decorate your walls to give yourself a refreshing feeling. Whatever it is, you must ask yourself this question, ideally every morning, to check in with yourself on what would make you happy that day, at the moment.
  2. How about we do try this at home? Have you ever wanted to do something while you were at home, but you were always too busy to do it? For example, you’ve always wanted to knit, bake a special kind of cake, make a DIY activity, or repair/alter a piece of clothing? Crossing something off from the bottom of your to-do list that you’ve wanted to do for a while may seem trivial, but it can spark a feeling of relief, and that can spark joy.
  3. Do it for the sake of happiness, not for the sake of being productive. Whatever you do, doesn’t have to be urgent or extraordinarily “productive” because this is the time to exist if that is what makes you happy.  
  4. Stay as present as possible and use your breadth to live in the moment. This may seem cliché and overrated, but we don’t use our breadth enough. Right when you are about to do an activity, take deep breaths, deep and slow breaths. It is useful to count to ten, close your eyes, and imagine a clear, white cloud with a refreshing breeze passing you. Inhale… exhale… close your eyes and feel the air slowly leaving your lungs and let go of anything keeping you clenched in places.
  5. Take mental notes of when you notice you’re happy. If you notice that you are smiling naturally from something, or you’re randomly enjoying yourself doing a trivial task, lean into that feeling and feed into it. It is a common habit to feel joy and quickly dismiss it or walk away from it. Why is it hard to lean into happiness sometimes? It takes practice even, but leaning into the simple joys of life will help develop a routine of gratitude and inherit happiness.
  6. Even at home, step outside your comfort zone. One way of finding happiness is by doing things a little different, and by doing so, you are stepping outside your comfort zone. Use your left hand instead of your right hand, for example. Or play the food guessing game with family by blindfolding yourself and guessing what type of food you’re eating. Sound weird? Yes, it should, and that is the point.

You won’t know what makes you happy if you are not trying to find it by stepping outside your comfort zone.

Our society is conditioned to believe that happiness is a destination, but we know in practice that it is simply not true. If people’s happiness was measured in the stock market, we’d be able to see how volatile it can be because of our misconceptions of joy. Experts have confirmed that happiness is a daily choice and a practice. This doesn’t mean that humans aren’t capable of being inherently happy people, it means that we must notice our own joy and let it all in when it is there. When it is not there, we must actively look for it and find it. You’d be surprised that it’s not always found in the places we think of. Many times, happiness is found in the simplest things.  


Mitzi Salgado