Sustaining Your Health and Sanity While Working in Quarantine

By Molly Barnes | Digital Nomad Life

Whether we like it or not, pandemic life has become our new normal: It continues to affect the way we live, work, educate our children, and more. With infection rates steadily rising nationwide and predictions of more viral outbreaks in the fall, it looks like quarantine measures are here to stay, at least for now. 

If you’re feeling the stress and strain of these uncertain times, take heart: You’re not alone (even if you can’t see anybody else). By taking precautions and adjusting your lifestyle, you can protect your health and sanity during quarantine and come out on top. 

Here are some tips to help you get started:  

Preventing Infection and Transmission 

As businesses reopen and people become more active in their communities, adhering to CDC guidelines is more important than ever. Don’t let your guard down. You still want to do everything you can to protect yourself from the virus and reduce the risk of transmitting it. 

Always wear a mask when in public and maintain social distancing, especially when visiting places frequented by others. Carry hand sanitizer wherever you go, and use as needed. Avoid crowds. In fact, if you don’t have to go out, protect your health by staying home.  

Handling Sickness in the Home

If a family or household member contracts coronavirus, you’ll need to take extra precautions to prevent transmission in and out of the home. Here are a few tips for caring for a sick loved one at home:

  • Quarantine the infected person in a separate room, preferably one with a connecting bathroom.
  • Designate a single caregiver to tend to the sick person’s needs. The caregiver should wear a mask and gloves anytime he or she is around the sick person, and should change clothes before interacting with the rest of the family.
  • Encourage everyone in the home to wash hands often and disinfect surfaces regularly to help prevent spread of the disease.
  • Separate dishes, silverware, and cups for your sick loved one’s use and wash them separately. Wash towels and bedding separately, as well.
  • Don’t allow visitors into your home during quarantine.
  • Monitor the sick person’s condition, and call 911 if symptoms worsen.

Monitoring Kids’ Education  

The new school year has been nothing short of chaotic in schools across the country. If your school system is still in limbo, prepare to educate your kids at home by taking advantage of online learning sites. You’ll have to experiment to see what works for you when it comes to balancing home care, remote work (if you’re working at home), and your kids’ education.

You might try splitting your time into morning and afternoon sessions, helping your kids in the morning and working remotely in the afternoon, if that’s possible. Household chores will have to come in between or after the kids are in bed. 

Strive for progress, not perfection, to avoid stress and pressure. Consider seeking advice from experienced homeschoolers in your area who have been educating their children at home for years.  

Whether your kids are educated at home or are attending their local school in person, they’ll need to learnpreventive behaviors and practices to keep them safe from the virus. Discuss these changes with them so they’ll know what to expect and be ready to comply with these protocols.

Addressing Loss of Income

Like millions of others, you may be suffering financially. Many people have lost their jobs or are working fewer hours as a result of the pandemic. Rather than worry and fret about your financial state, start tightening your belt and taking proactive steps toward keeping your finances healthy. 

Create a budget that aligns with your new income and prioritize your spending so you can cover necessities like rent, utilities, food, and household and medical needs. Cut excessive spending. Pay down your debts to build credit, and try to set aside funds for emergencies. Getting your finances under control will help relieve your stress and ease your fears of the future.  

Finding Essential Supplies

If a lack of income makes it hard to get essential supplies, check out nonprofit services, community relief efforts, or church programs in your area to see if they can help. Many communities are organizing drives and giveaways to help families in need. 

You also can stock up on basic goods gradually by buying them a little at a time, as your finances permit. Here’s a list of the basic quarantine supplies to search for

  • Toilet paper and toiletries
  • Hand soap/hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Laundry soap/dish soap/sponges
  • Cleaning products
  • Paper towels
  • Extra drinking water
  • Extra food staples
  • Medicines

Working Remotely

If, on the other hand, you’ve been lucky enough to continue your work remotely, do what you can to make it count. Working from home can offer significant benefits, if you can get all the elements in the right place.

If you’re looking to make a substantive change, start with a property-wide cleanout. Rent a dumpster and start clearing your home of all clutter to make room for a home office. Then plan how to structure your time and space at home.

Some suggestions: Invest in the hardware and software you need for your job. Avoid the distraction and stress of big-ticket appliance repairs by investing in a home warranty; this way, you can make sure your home keeps functioning, so you can, too. Create a work schedule that will enable you to get things done. 

Any steps you take to facilitate working at home will make it easier for you to retain your virtual job over the long haul. 

Coping with Helplessness

The longer the pandemic lasts, the more helpless you may feel because so much is beyond your control. You can overcome these negative feelings by reaching out to others in need. Contact family, friends, and neighbors to offer your help with shopping, errands, yard work, donation delivery, or other tasks. That way, you can stay connected and be of service, too.

When you’re at home, use your time wisely. Learn new skills, start new hobbies, or do handyman projects to upgrade your abode. Try to remember the last time you picked up a book. If you need a change of scenery, take a drive in the country, go for a hike, or schedule a camping trip at a nearby park. 

You might feel overwhelmed, but there’s plenty you can do. You just need to think creatively. That might mean adjusting your mindset about working from home, taking a different approach to your kids’ education, finding new avenues to obtain the essentials, or devising new ways to connect with your community, family, and friends. Whatever you do, stay positive, look for the good, and count your blessing—as there’s still much to be thankful for.  


Molly Barnes is a full-time digital nomad, exploring and working remotely in different cities in the US. She and her boyfriend Jacob created the website Digital Nomad Life to share their journey and help others to pursue a nomadic lifestyle.

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