Former PDN Lifestyle editors Lalaine Estella and Therese Padua Howe recently traveled from Hawaii to Guam for their mothers. As required by local law, they spent the first six days under quarantine at the government designated facility, the Dusit Beach Resort, and the rest of the 14 days at their respective family homes. Lalaine shares her quarantine workout routine while Therese provides a Quarantine Meal Diary as well as tips on How to Stay Busy During Quarantine. These stories are meant to reflect their particular experiences during the six-day quarantine so that others have an idea of what to expect — they’re not meant to encourage leisure travel to Guam. And while the meal diary is expressed in a casual fashion, it’s not meant to downplay or disregard the food insecurity that many people on island face due to the pandemic’s effects on the economy.
Aren’t you going stir crazy? That’s the most frequent question I was asked when I told people I couldn’t leave my hotel room during the six-day quarantine required of travelers visiting Guam.
The answer was always no. I had prepared myself mentally and physically for the stay, and I knew I needed to break up the days in increments of activities — a schedule that my ADHD personality is well suited to.
On the first day, I was still so tired and groggy from the flight that I mostly napped in between meals. When I was awake and lucid enough, I’d catch up with family and friends on social media. The enforced isolation is a good time to connect with them, and perhaps have longer and more meaningful conversations than you normally would.
After that first day, I’d wake up early — like Oh Dark Thirty early — to work on marketing projects for clients on the East Coast. In between working on my laptop, I’d have breakfast, brush my teeth, read the newspapers delivered to my door, chat with friends on social media, catch up on industry newsletters and other media online, and try to get some exercise in before lunch.
Midday to 3 o’clock is usually the lowest point of my circadian cycle, and I’d either nap or engage in some other activity that didn’t require much mental or physical exertion. Another round of exercise would get the blood flowing enough to return to work before dinner arrived.
If I ended up eating to the point I was too full, I’d try to exercise enough to work up a sweat before showering and brushing my teeth. Then it was time to relax in bed, reading or watching TV before crashing for the evening.
The days sped by and I was shocked to realize that I was in my sixth day of quarantine, when I’d be tested and allowed to go home to isolate for the rest of the time.
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It’s not an ideal situation, but much of the world isn’t these days. If you have to come home, here are some tips and other ideas on how you can stay occupied during the first half of your quarantine.
Catch up on work projects. The lack of distractions during quarantine provides the perfect opportunity to focus on a work project that you’ve put on the back burner. Be sure to download all the necessary files and resources you’ll need on your laptop, and bring any paper files that you might require for background or reference.
Pamper yourself. I meant to bring a set of face masks, but forgot. I should have made time for a nice long soak in the bathtub with the blue bath crystals, but I didn’t. They do have a masculine, musky scent, so if you prefer a floral or more foamy experience, you should bring your own bath bombs. Scented Epsom salt is another way to ease away muscle strains from sitting on the plane for so long.
If you’ve refrained from visiting the salon and have been coloring your own hair, be sure to bring your color kit as well as plastic trash bags to cover the bathroom so that you don’t stain anything. A manicure and pedicure kit that includes a variety of polishes is another great way to while away the time.
Entertain yourself. I’ve always been a bookworm, so I made sure to bring a couple of books with me for the plane. But if you’re a fast reader, a mobile device is going to be your best bet for literary entertainment rather than weighing your luggage down with books. You can download them to your device or access them online. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, be sure to take advantage of the free magazines and books you get each month.
For digital entertainment, free options include the room’s large TV with 31 channels, including several foreign ones. The movies are all older, however, so if you want recent ones you’ll have to turn to your mobile device. This is the perfect time to binge that Netflix series you’ve been waiting to watch.
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If you’re a serious gamer, though, you’re gonna be hurting. It doesn’t appear that the hotel’s Wi-Fi system was set up for the amount of traffic being used by people staying in their rooms 24/7, so unless you’ve brought a hot spot, expect some lag.
Exercise your body. I don’t have the attention span or patience for exercise, so multiple short circuits that break up my day worked best for me. The hotel offers online yoga and meditation classes twice daily. You’ll need a Zoom account to access them, according to the instructions on the table. Otherwise, YouTube is going to be your best bet for workouts.
You can bring your own resistance bands and other smaller accessories, or use what’s already in the room. For weights, I’d lift my carry-on filled with the gifts I brought for family and friends.
Educate your mind. Six days isn’t enough time to learn a new language but in that time you could learn the basics of Google analytics or create a blog to chronicle your adventures in quarantine. Expand your horizons by watching a TEDx talk or catching a free webinar on Eventbrite. You could also download free cognitive games like Lumosity that train your brain and help improve memory, concentration and thinking speed.
Soothe your soul. Catholic and Protestant services are offered online through the hotel, or you can check with your own church to find out when they livestream services. Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica streams Mass daily on its website and Facebook page. And don’t forget to bring your rosary for a daily or occasional prayer break.
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In the end, what’s going to save your sanity is taking each day as it comes. Focus on what you’re doing at the moment and don’t watch the clock. I also tried to avoid staring out the window too long at the beach and water — that’s just gonna end up as an exercise in frustration. And if you do find yourself going stir crazy, I encourage you to repeat this mantra: This too shall pass.
Therese Padua Howe is a former Pacific Daily News Lifestyle editor. She currently resides with her family in Hawaii. You can send her questions or comments at email@example.com.