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The past few days have felt like weeks with how rapid change in our everyday lives is happening. Just two weeks ago I was at school taking my midterms making plans for spring break and looking forward to school events the following week. Now I’m taking online classes without access to my campus till further notice and making no plans to see my friends any time soon. Its intense, frightful, and foreign to most of us. I’ve lived through swine flu and ebola and never saw intense preventative actions being taken as the ones I’m seeing now.

This isn’t a post to scare you or make you feel a strong urge to buy everything in the grocery store and hide in hysteria in your house. It's to make you feel at ease with the measures being taken now and help you understand why social distancing is vital to Americans right now, especially my fellow New Yorkers.

The day before I decided to start social distancing I was outside with my friend and brother enjoying the spring weather I’ve been longing for like most people my age. I was washing my hands regularly and sanitizing any time I touched public surfaces like the door handles to my Ubers or money at a coffee shop.

Some of you may be thinking, why the sudden change? I am an overthinker and a hypochondriac (quite the mix right). As much as I want to be outside enjoying the fact that I don’t have to be at school anymore and enjoy all the fun things in my city, I cant. I can’t because my mind always wanders back to “there’s a REASON for this” there’s a reason I’m not in school, why I don’t want my niece and nephew in school, why I get uneasy about still going to work, why the grocery stores are wiped clean of products, and why most of New York City looks like a ghost town right now. It's because people are aware of the dangers that are out there and don’t want to risk it.

There were a lot of posts on my social media encouraging social distancing and the one that really changed my opinion entirely was an Instagram story Q&A. someone had asked a blogger I follow why were she and her boyfriend staying home for two weeks and asked if they were involuntarily quarantined. She answered that it was voluntary and that its something people in our area should be taking more seriously. That there are many people in NYC outside right now showing no symptoms and that within two weeks we’ll see the difference in cases in NYC.

Stepping back and thinking about her words still flare up my anxiety. As a social teenager in NYC, I can easily cover hundreds of surfaces and interactions on any given day. And as a healthy teenager, I can easily contract and spread any virus without symptoms for days or at all. Aside from the responsibility I owe as a citizen to keep myself healthy I owe my immunocompromised family members and my immunocompromised friends and their family member the common sense and respect to stay home in efforts to keep them safe.

So to the people on social media pissed off because every social setting in the city is closed and you feel like everyone is making a big deal out of nothing. Take the time to find warnings from people in Italy and other countries that we are only days away from being like as well.

And to those who cringe at the thought of staying in a New York City apartment for an unknown amount of weeks, I feel you. Most of us don’t have the privilege to sit on a balcony or chill in our backyard for some fresh air when we feel like the walls are caving in. boredom hits hard at times like this so here are a few ways I’ve been keeping myself entertained.

1. Settling into “Da Crib University”

Truly most of my time is going to consumed by school. I am definitely the kind of student who procrastinates when their home but this has given me an opportunity to create the productive at home workspace I’ve always talked about having. Being at home all day not only cuts out a lot of social distractions but also gives you the opportunity to create a school schedule that works for you.

Heres some that I’ve heard some of my friends are doing:

Dedicating Monday through Friday as school days from 9-5

Dedicating 3 hours a day to school work

Doing it all in one day

2. An at-home gym

The day I’m writing this post all gym from NYC were actually shut down till further notice. Don’t take this as a sign to throw in the towel with your workout progress. Take this time to find a great workout routine app or influencer on Instagram to do at home.

*most equipment in this photo was purchased at models sporting good since they were having a going out of business sale. I recommend ordering online if you want to make the investment or using items you already have at home for weights*

Don’t forget, social distancing doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to leave your house under any circumstances. Human beings were never made to live in confined spaces. Taking a walk around your neighborhood or riding a bike is fine as long as you’re not in very public or crowded places.

3. Connecting to digital groups

For most this can feel like an isolation sentence where all human interactions are limited to people you live with. But at times like this is when we need each other the most. We have the privilege to live in the social media age and can still connect with people in real-time. Take advantage of social groups online. Call your friends. And if you can, see if groups or clubs you used to see in person can start meeting on video calls.

4. Self-reflection

Being home gives you a lot of time to think about yourself. What goals have I set? How much progress have I made in my goals? How much growth have I made to become a better version of myself? If you like the answers to those questions, great now you are in a setting that allows you to plan how to make that growth even better. If you don’t? That’s okay. You know are now entirely consumed by yourself. The world around you has taken a pause and this is the time to catch up. Plan out and execute that project you wanted to start. Network online with people that will help you become your ideal self. Evaluate your friendships since you now can take a physical step back and look.

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