Keeping Busy

Paisha Watkins, Staff Writer

On March 24, the state of Washington was met with a decisive action against the coronavirus pandemic; the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. For months now, Washingtonians have been urged to stay home, unsure of its official end. As this stay-at-home order and social distancing has taken over the lives of everyone in the Washington state area, people have had to adapt to these changes. 

Teenagers have taken a hit to their social lives and their mental and physical health. IHS junior Julia David-Smith has been utilizing this quarantine to spend more time with her family, going on runs, and working on school work. However, she says, “I don’t like quarantine because I didn’t get to have track season, which is my favorite part of the year, and I’m just sad that school was cancelled in general.” Many are upset with the stay-at home-order, but some people have been surprisingly okay with this newfound time. IHS freshman Rayesa Chouhan says, “I actually don’t really mind quarantine. I Facetime with my friends a lot and I really like spending the time at home just to chill. I also like that I get to sleep in because there’s no school.” 

One thing many teenagers decided to do with their time is get a job. IHS senior Michael Shipley recently got a job at QFC, where he is able to work flexible hours due to no school. He says, “I spend most of my time now at work, talking with friends, or working on school[work]. I don’t really have a strict routine, but I really hate quarantine because I miss seeing people.” IHS junior Malik Chouhan also got a job over quarantine where he works with fellow junior Jonah Frederick at Subway.  They explained that “business is really slow so we are making money to hang out and have less than five customers an hour.” Both Chouhan and Frederick are planning on using their income to get new cars to fix up after quarantine. If you are bored and want something productive to do with your time, try applying for a job.

With so much spare time, many students have begun trying out new hobbies. Camila David-Smith, a student at University of Washington, has picked up gardening. She says that once this school year ends, she wants to start a garden in her spare time to keep her occupied and start something new. One popular activity many students have begun trying out is painting. Central Washington University sophomore Priscilla Tran says she has started painting for fun on top of hiking and exploring. IHS junior Mimi Takemura said, “There isn’t a lot of stuff to do to keep busy but I started painting and it’s actually really fun and relaxing in a way.” Another hobby to start during quarantine is cooking or baking. IHS junior Sydney Sharrers says she started cooking for fun and learning more about nutrition. She says, “My routine is basically waking up, doing school work, working out, and then making a big meal.”  Another IHS junior, McKenna Minnoch, said, “I have started baking a lot and delivering them to family and close friends as a way to let them know that I’m here for them and I miss them! Baking has been really relaxing and time consuming so I’m not bored and I feel productive.” Your Teen Mag has a list of ‘83 Non-Screen Activities’ to try out. On that list, they recommend taking a walk in your neighbourhood, calling a grandparent, doing a crossword, reading a book, writing in a journal, painting your room, teaching yourself calligraphy, and so much more. So, if you are looking for something to try out during this quarantine, try one of these activities!

Another thing students have begun doing is sticking to a pretty strict routine. Normally, most students are used to waking up at a certain time everyday, going to school, maybe a sport or club, and then going home. Now, they have had to readjust to new schedules and changes. IHS junior Omar Sayoud said, “Everyday, I wake up at nine, shower and get ready for class, [and] check mail after class,” before continuing the rest of his day. IHS junior Sarah Hendrick says she “wakes up, does online school, [has] breakfast at 12, plays lacrosse or watches tik toks, eats dinner, watches tv, and sleeps.” This is a common schedule as Sammamish High School sophomore Emmy DL also says she “sleeps, eats, does school, works out, and repeats.” According to the Irish Examiner, “Routine is hugely important, not just to get tasks completed, but for our wellbeing – and that of those we live with, too.” Although spontaneity can be exciting, it is important to have a routine during this time to develop healthy habits. 

This time can be incredibly stressful for students away from friends and school. On an Instagram poll of 50 people, 80 percent said that their mental health has been suffering in quarantine. Unicef has recognized how teenagers have been affected and posted an article on how to help teens protect their mental health. They recommend staying distracted. “Dr. Damour suggests doing homework, watching a favourite movie or getting in bed with a novel as ways to seek relief and find balance in the day-to-day.” Dr Damour expands in saying that this quarantine is a good opportunity to focus on yourself and you should take the time to take care of your body and your mind during this lockdown. 

Throughout all the stress that quarantine has caused, it is important to stay busy. Try out a new hobby or activity, call your friends and family and check in on them, stick to a routine that works for you, and most importantly, take care of yourself.