Conquering quarantine

Daily routine captures spirit of normalcy during trying times

By Pauline DiGiorgio

Nowadays, it is very easy to fall into the trap of lazing around and getting addicted to the idiot box while we are hunkered down in the face of COVID-19.

Trust me, I’ve gotten sucked into “screen time” a little more then I would like to admit.

Hence creating a routine, finding projects that use your brain and exercise is essential. This is the most crucial time for you to stay on top of your health, wellness and mental state or you will be left with nothing but regret.

Here are some ideas that are simple but effective to kick start your day, keep your sanity and stay fit.

To break it down, let’s look at different times of the day.


I find it best to wake up around the same time every day even though it’s easy to sleep in, especially if you are locked down with no where to go.

This will help with your sleeping habits and increase your positive mood to optimal levels.

Instead of checking your phone and the news, go on YouTube and search “positive morning affirmations.”

Take five-to-10 minutes to listen to those and write down a few items you are grateful for in a notebook. I keep my headphones and journal with a pen on my nightstand.

Keeping exercise in your routine can start in the morning; that’s right, start. Don’t feel like that will be the only movement and exercise you will get throughout the day. I recommend splitting up exercise sessions so you can have movement throughout your entire day.

My morning routine includes a mix of walking outside and yoga in the morning, and some sort of strength training in the afternoon. With lockdown, I have just a 15-pound kettle ball.

I follow that up with another short walk as a cool down after dinner if the weather is cooperative.

Please, don’t think you must work out every single day. You deserve a rest day or two each week.

I also make a small list of activities that I need to do during the day, such as pay a bill, make a call or prep a meal, and stick it on the refrigerator.

Doing this will remind you that you do indeed have stuff to do and makes you feel productive.


To keep my day similar to the “before quarantine” life, my afternoon routine always includes going out or making a coffee. Since drive-thru coffee spots are still open, thank God, that is an opportunity for me to go for a little drive. I pop on some music or a podcast and treat myself.

If coffee isn’t your thing, maybe this is the time when you can make a special drink or snack of your choice and get outside for a midday break.

Brainstorm ways to help others as well. This will help lift your spirits during this trying time.

My family owns a small local cafe, so on my free time I decided to help with growing their brand awareness on social media, building out their website and social media platforms, and attending to online ordering.

My friend is using her time to online tutor neighborhood kids, and some parents are even paying her. Another idea is art. I love seeing the homemade signs in the windows of houses, thanking health care and essential workers.


While it seems like many things are out of our control right now, the way we nourish our bodies with food really isn’t.

Sure, this is a time that you probably want comfort food, but a well-balanced meal should also be part of the equation. If you’ve been ordering out a lot, give your wallet and dialing fingers a rest by creating some tasty creations in your kitchen.

Below is my grocery list. If you don’t feel comfortable going to the grocery store, use the app Instacart. It’s great because you can order groceries from your home and get them delivered to your door. Once you’re stocked, head to the blog at It’s a great one that includes something for everyone.

Here is a list of items — many of which are non-perishable — you should stock up on.

— Canned beans and lentils

— Frozen chicken

— Frozen ground turkey

— Frozen vegetables, including spinach

— Frozen berries

— Almond milk

— Brown rice or chickpea pasta

— Oatmeal

— Sweet potatoes, onions, squash, root vegetables

— Olive oil, garlic, rice vinegar, coconut aminos

— Peanut butter

— Bananas, apples

— Low-carb crackers

— Nuts

In the evening is when I allow myself to indulge in a show on Hulu or a movie.

I really truly try to limit it to only at night and one-to-two episodes. If I finish those and I’m not ready to sleep, I’ll read some pages of a book, or give a friend a call.

I’ve found peace and calmness in collaging. I cut out images from magazines and piece and glue them together on a large poster board.

I create images that are all sorts of colors, and photos of what I’m envisioning my future life is going to look like. Some call this activity vision boarding.

For example, one board has all cutouts of houses, furniture I like, cities, and decor. Another poster features vacations, travel, travel clothing and activities. You get the idea — I switch on a playlist and get lost in it.

Remember: Tough times don’t last; tough people do.

Visit me on Instagram at PaulineePocket and say hello.