Tips For Staying Productive And Sane During Quarantine

By Samantha Mei Topp
By Samantha Mei ToppJune 03, 2021
Gen.T’s digital editor Samantha Mei Topp is currently locked down in the world’s longest mandatory quarantine. Here, she shares what she’s learned on how to make the most of the experience.

At 21 days, Hong Kong has the world’s longest mandatory quarantine period. Travellers arriving into Hong Kong must also undergo the three-week quarantine period in a hotel room at their own expense, rather than at home.

Flying back from the United States, which is considered a high-risk country due to its high coronavirus infection rate, I knew I had no choice but to undertake the maximum quarantine of three weeks in a local hotel.

Thankfully I had some family members and friends who had gone through it too and were more than willing to share some tips and tricks to help make my time in quarantine go as quickly and smoothly as possible. As of writing this, I’ve finished two-thirds of my quarantine, so for those of you who are about to start day one of your ‘staycation’, here are some tried and tested tips you need to know.

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Set yourself a few realistic goals to achieve each day

I tried to see this time as an opportunity to finally get around to doing those things I’d always wanted to do, but never had time to do when I was working in the office. I packed a stack of books to read—which also served as some nice decor for my room—and set time almost everyday to get reading. I also set some time aside to use DuoLingo and practise my Spanish, and even set a goal to watch some Netflix shows in Portuguese to learn a few words for fun.

Keep in mind that these goals shouldn’t be incredibly hard or anxiety-inducing, they should be fun and somewhat relaxing. The purpose of doing this is to help you dedicate some time to yourself, while helping you feel like you accomplished something each day.


Try to establish a healthy routine that you can follow every day

This tip is very important. I’m sure most of us will fall into a routine naturally, but just make sure it is a healthy one—which means not staying up until 4am every night and waking up in the afternoon, unless that’s really what works best for you. I found doing basic things like making my bed, keeping my room fairly tidy and creating separate areas to work and relax really helped me mentally break up my day and feel relaxed in such a small space.

I made sure to try to eat at normal times and plan my day in sections: in the morning I’d wake up slowly, read, FaceTime my family and enjoy the morning sun. Then I’d start working, breaking up my day to have lunch and later, do a quick bout of exercise. In the evening, I’d watch some Netflix, have dinner and do any chores like hand-washing laundry and cleaning dishes.

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Think ahead about what will bring you joy in quarantine

Quarantine can get really boring, really fast—especially if you’re quarantining alone. So, be sure to plan ahead and think about what will bring you joy during your time. I found it helpful to plan some social activities like FaceTiming with friends, virtual hangouts with family and doing online workouts. Some background noise like a casual TV show on Netflix or an audiobook playing also helped to break up the boredom.

Some hotels will also have group chats and social hours to meet your fellow quarantine friends over Zoom, so be sure to ask if your hotel offers this when you arrive.

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