While quarantine definitely isn’t my idea of a good time, I’m grateful to be going through it with an internet connection and solid guidelines for how to reduce the risk of catching the virus or spreading it to someone I care about. It's taken some adjustment though.

For a lot of things I would usually be doing, I’ve had to find alternatives.

Game nights, movie nights and study sessions have all had to move to video calls. Running into each other has been replaced by “have a good day!” texts.

My friends and I made a Discord server to replace catching up quickly between classes. We have channels for just chatting, sharing memes and even keeping a big list of things we want to do when it’s safe again (hello thrift shopping and roller skating).

Keeping a list of what we’re going to do later helps me remember that physically distancing is temporary. When I’m feeling sad or alone, I like to scroll through and see all the things I have to look forward to.

Sometimes we do get together in person. We’ve been trying new things like hiking, volleyball and picnics with separate blankets to keep us outside and six feet apart when we hang out. It’s been an adjustment, but I’ve had a lot of fun doing things we wouldn’t have tried normally.

Young woman using a cell phone wearing a mask

Having a mask on is a little annoying, but I think keeping my friends and our families safe is worth a little inconvenience. I’m really glad that my friends care about each other enough to always wear masks when we’re together.

Physically distancing has been challenging though. When I’m feeling lonely or sad, I can get caught in a cycle of ignoring my needs and feeling bad.

When I’m stuck in that cycle, I pick one thing to start with. Drinking enough water, setting a consistent bedtime, taking walks — just one thing that feels doable. Then, when I’m ready, I pick another small thing. They seem minor, at first, but they really add up and help me feel better.

Remember to be kind to yourself and your friends. Even as we find a new normal, it’s okay to feel unsteady or like you need some help.

It takes time and practice to adjust to anything, especially as big a change as physically distancing.