While there’s no blueprint for how to spend two weeks in a hotel room, there are ways you can prepare to make it easier to cope, particularly in terms of your mental wellbeing. Here are some helpful tips.
Granted, you’re not exactly going on holiday, but it’s still important to nail what you pack for your two-week stint in hotel quarantine.
Aside from the standard things (such as clothes, toiletries and medications, masks and electronic devices), consider packing:
Cleaning materials – think antibacterial spray and wipes, tea towels, a few sponges, dishwashing liquid, garbage bags, laundry power, a portable clothes rack and natural air freshener. Keeping your room clean may help manage feelings of health anxiety and concerns about contracting the virus.
Exercise equipment – resistance bands, a yoga mat and a skipping rope will help mix up your exercise routine (after all, there’s only so many push ups you can do). Physical exercise plays a significant role in helping us stay mentally well.
Anything to keep you entertained and occupied – books, jigsaws, cards, board games, a journal. The list goes on. A HDMI cable or casting device for projecting movies and TV shows from a laptop to the TV could be of huge benefit. Set up streaming service subscriptions like Netflix (try a free trial if you don’t want to commit long-term).
Chargers – make sure you’re able to keep everything working. In addition to your phone, laptops, tablets and wireless headphones, make sure to consider any other electric devices that will need charging too.
Eating utensils – you may choose to take your own crockery and cutlery to avoid having to eat out of plastic containers with plastic cutlery. (If you do, make sure you have a way to clean them)
Plan to establish some routines
It will be beneficial for your mental health to try to establish some routines or rituals for the time you’re in quarantine, and even tailor some of your usual daily routines if possible. This might be as simple as having a cup of tea at the same time each morning.
Although originally created to assist people through lockdown at home, the following articles contain some good advice that can be adopted during a stay in hotel quarantine too.
Embrace the me-time
There’s no doubt that quarantining for a fortnight will be challenging, however, try and think of the unexpected benefits. This might be the only time in your life that you’ll get two whole weeks to switch off from the usual daily grind.
And although routine is important, be prepared to be kind to yourself if things don’t go to plan. Try to embrace the lack of responsibility for the next 14 days – and if that means enjoying a few lie-ins, working in your pjs and bingeing box-sets, go for it.
Set some goals
If you’re feeling okay about going into quarantine, this could be the perfect opportunity to achieve some personal goals. This doesn’t mean you should try to be fluent in French within a fortnight but maybe you’ve got some smaller tasks you’ve been meaning to tick off for ages. It could be an ideal time to consider what’s on your to-do list that is possible, even if it’s just making a start.
Thinking about starting your own side hustle? Get a pen and paper out and begin brainstorming. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give meditation a go, but you’ve been too busy. Go here for mindfulness and meditation tips.
Usually too busy to commit to daily exercise? Not only will doing some daily exercise help combat feelings of boredom, it will help boost your mood.
One big tick off your to-do list could be as simple as reaching out to people you haven’t spoken to for a while. List five friends you’ve been meaning to touch base with and get in touch with them. This article looks at why staying connected is so important for mental health.
Recognise that it might get tough
Once you’re in hotel quarantine, if you’re finding it harder than you thought, firstly, remember that you’re in a very unusual situation. Go easy on yourself and remember that this is temporary, and you’ll be back home soon.
Meanwhile, rest assured that, given the uncommon position you’re in, it’s natural to feel lonely, bored, helpless, stressed, anxious, and concerned about your health while in hotel quarantine. For expert advice on managing these feelings go here.
What if I’ve got kids in tow?
If you have children with you, you’re not going to get the same amount of ‘alone time’ (if any), try and enjoy as much quality time with your children as possible. If you’re not sure how to go about it, try to do the following:
Try and retain a positive attitude. Your children won’t have anything to compare the experience with, so encourage them to think of it as an adventure, rather than chore.
Stick to your usual routines as best possible, as children tend to thrive more and feel more secure when things remain reasonably structured.
Go in armed with plenty of fun things to do – think books, games, puzzles, mini craft projects, paper pads, crayons and listening stories.
Go easy on yourself if your kids end up having more screen time than you’d ordinarily allow while you’re in quarantine. Now’s not the time to worry about that. Instead, watch the family movies and series you haven’t got around to and enjoy the escapism.
Reach out virtually to family members and friends, particularly when things are getting a bit much, and remember to prioritise self-care and relaxation as much as you can.
With all this in mind, remember
That it’s okay if you’re nervous about going into quarantine. These are all simply suggestions, and you shouldn’t feel any pressure to accomplish any great feats while you’re in your hotel room. Take it one day at a time and reach out to friends, family or professional support if you need to.
The Department of Health’s Getting ready for quarantine guide provides helpful advice on preparing for, and undertaking, mandatory hotel quarantine. The information is split into two downloadable pdfs:
If you’d like to speak with a counsellor, you can contact Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service at any time of day on 1800 512 348.