Surrender to the experience: 14 emotions during 14 days in quarantine

Quarantine is often an unpleasant experience for those who undergo it. Separation from loved ones, the loss of freedom, uncertainty over disease status, and boredom can, on occasion, create dramatic effects. Suicide has been reported, substantial anger generated, and lawsuits brought following the imposition of quarantine in previous outbreaks. The potential benefits of mandatory mass quarantine need to be weighed carefully against the possible psychological costs. Successful use of quarantine as a public health measure requires us to reduce, as far as possible, the negative effects associated with it.

Emotional toll of quarantine

People in quarantine will experience “the experience” in different ways. Some may have lost loved ones prior to quarantining; some may have mental health issues; some may struggle to find a routine; some may thrive on being isolated. Similar to how five fingers are not the same, each person going through the hotel quarantine experience will bring their own baggage and deal with the situation in different ways.

My experience

Having lived away from family for 24 years, having gone through the Melbourne lockdown in 2020, having been through far worse situations, and having recently done an emotionally challenging trip to India and back, the hotel quarantine experience for me was relatively easy. Both time and the 14 days flew. I sort of had a routine; 6:30am wake up; 6:45am coffee; 7am workout; 7:30 shower; 7:45 breakfast; 8-12 working with breaks in between; 12-1 lunch; 1-5 working with breaks in between; 5pm workout; 5:30pm shower; 6pm dinner; 6:30 phone calls with wife, friends and/or family; 7:30pm writing articles for my blog; 8pm TV time; 9pm sleep. This was on a typical weekday. Weekends involved more time on my blogs, exercise, chatting with my best half, and walking up and down the room for a step count goal! There were times, especially on Day 1, when I wondered if I was a caged animal, a prisoner etc. However, it’s about shifting the mindset and I believe I have 100% control over my mind. Conquering the mind and telling myself about the context, about the fact that the people working in the hotel are doing as they are told and what’s best for the community, and fully understanding my circle of influence, I made the best of what was a lukewarm situation.

14 emotions

Without generalising (as per my note above regarding different people with different baggage) I believe that there are generally 14 emotions, at a minimum, that people experience during their time in hotel quarantine. Without further adieu, here are 14 emotions I think people may collectively feel at any one point while undergoing hotel quarantine.

Confusion: 1st day of quarantine

The hotel quarantine can have you feeling overwhelmed so, it is normal to feel confused about your feeling in a situation like this. It is normal to not feel like yourself because of the pandemic so don’t be surprised if you’re feel different or a little off.

Annoyance: 2ndday of quarantine

It’s annoying to conform to quarantine protocols and being confined in a hotel room when life outside the hotel may seem to be “normal”!

Boredom: 3rd day of quarantine

“Are you bored?” was the question I got asked most often when people learnt about my hotel quarantine. No one is excited by the idea of hotel quarantine. Being stuck indoors for an extended stay isn’t fun no matter where you are. The first two may be out of your control, but you can at least decide on things to do in hotel quarantine that suit you.

Pensiveness: 4th day of quarantine

Research shows that boredom, isolation, and frustration are the most reported feelings in quarantine. See that person staring out the window who looks so sad and lost in thought? He or she is pensive, the opposite of cheery and carefree.

Acceptance: 5th day of quarantine

When life is not exactly as we want it to be, it can be helpful to turn our minds towards acceptance. No emotion lasts forever when it is fully accepted and experienced. Acceptance of our emotions, our thoughts, and our struggles is a powerful way to cope in the context of the pandemic. 

Calmness: 6th day of quarantine

It’s hard to keep calm and carry on, when at times you feel more like panicking and hiding under the blankets until it’s all over. But, you need to stay calm! Breathe…

Serenity: 7th day of quarantine

In today’s world of global pandemic, more than ever, we need a moment of tranquility in our daily life. I’ve found serenity in creation. Writing allows me to practice the art of introspection. Writing helps me to see beyond myself. Writing allows me to share an observation I make with someone else. Writing is what I have used to stay sane. Writing is where I meet with serenity.

Sympathy: 8th day of quarantine

We’re all struggling during this health crisis, but people mourning the deaths of their loved ones really need our support.

Tired: 9th day of quarantine

It’s easy to grow tired of the food you have already been eating the past week, with another week to go.

Impatient: 10th day of quarantine

If you are feeling incredibly stressed right now, you are not alone. If all that stress is making you cranky, irritable, and on edge, that, too, is understandable. Stress can make you feel short on patience as well. Your fuse may be shorter than usual. You may be angry. You may be losing your temper easily. You may be yelling more than you’d like to. You may even be having trouble controlling your anger.

While anger is an understandable emotional reaction to stress, it’s important that we don’t let it get the better of us.

Vigilance: 11th day of quarantine

Caution fatigue can result from a decreased sensitivity to repeated warnings. You can combat quarantine fatigue with self-care, conversations with loved ones and shifting your mindset so following guidelines seems rewarding instead of dreadful.

Sadness: 12th day of quarantine

You may still be feeling sad but be okay with it. Allow yourself to sit and feel this sadness.

Interest: 13th day of quarantine

It’s easy to lose interest in doing simple things that you once loved doing.

Anticipation: 14th day of quarantine

Remember the anticipation of the build up prior to date night? That’s what Day 14 in quarantine is all about! Not matter what you have to look forward to upon exiting the hotel, savour that moment. It’s priceless!

One of the lessons this pandemic has taught me is that it’s up to all of us to care enough about one another, so our fear does not dictate what we become as a society. Those of us not in quarantine should be compassionate enough to care how we treat those going through this experience purely to protect the general population.

Self-care may mean different things to each of us, but the basics are universal. To care for your mental health, good nutrition, sleep and exercise are vital. Try to keep as much of your routines as possible. Resist the urge to escape or calm your fears by obsessively reading virus updates.

So, what’s my survival guide to hotel quarantine?

  1. Be positive from the start, having the right mindset from the get-go really does make a difference.
  2. Have a routine.
  3. Your phone is your lifeline.
  4. Set up Woolworths, Coles or Uber Eats accounts to supplement the food you are given.
  5. Stay in touch with family and friends
  6. Do whatever exercise you can
  7. Keep it tidy when opening and eating food: whatever gets dropped on the floor stays there to mock you for two weeks
  8. Be kind to yourself – if you work online, you may not be quite as productive as usual Be kind to the hotel staff, Police and other services looking after you.

What makes you valuable?

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, so I feel prepared to tackle it. Here we go!

What makes my life valuable, in a basic sense, is the same thing that makes every life valuable: that we are such enigmatic creatures, full of thoughts and emotions, participating in interesting journies full of conflict, risk, and reward. In this, we are all exactly the same.

But what makes my life valuable to me are the things I have managed to learn; who I have succeeded in becoming; what I am now capable of doing that seemed like a dream, before. It is the peace of mind I’ve achieved, the relationships I’ve formed, and the artistic expressions I’ve birthed. I love these things! And so, I love myself as well. That seems like such an arrogant thing to say, but it’s actually nothing to do with pride or ego. It’s the ability to take joy in one’s very being. It’s feeling very satisfied that you simply exist, and have made it this far.

There doesn’t need to be any deep, philosophical analysis. It isn’t as much about cold, calculating logical formulae that have determined “I am worth something”, nor about the power and wealth one commands or does not. It’s about being at peace with the state of things, and learning to accept the self, with all its triumphs and its flaws.

In this mindset, though, there is a single demand: if you value yourself, truly, you will protect yourself against those whose character is malicious. You will not allow them to gain control, with their cunning traps and cajoling seductions. They may trick you at first, but you will not linger with them once they have revealed their nature as a destructive, toxic agent. To do so is to allow your beloved castle of self to be overrun with bandits. Who can hide in its walls for shelter then? How can it stand, as an example of strength?

Think also of an old, antique car. Certainly, it is not optimal in many ways, and it never will be. It can either be a meaningless piece in someone’s investment portfolio, or it can be a treasured reminder of experiences past, with which its owner would never part for any amount of money. Which type of car would you rather be, to yourself?

I am sentimentally attached to this body—this self. It means a great deal to me, regardless of who else values it and to what degree.

As the saying goes:

“No matter where or how far you flee from the world, you must always take yourself with you.”

Be your own valued companion. In that, you have true worth.

How to embed sustainability across a business effectively

Companies usually take on and achieve sustainability goals in three stages:

  1. Complying with regulations – Companies have no choice in this area; they must obey the law. Regulations are often the impetus behind sustainability initiatives.
  2. Achieving competitive advantage – This is necessary if you want your business operations to make a profit.
  3. Social, economic and environmental integration of sustainability practices – Embrace the responsibility of sustainable operations as a best practice beyond the mandates of government or competition.

Four main reasons why sustainability demands our urgent attention include regulations, community relations, cost and revenue imperatives, and societal and moral obligations.

Stakeholders (including shareholders, consumers, vendors, workers, “regulators and communities”) care about a company’s sustainability practices. To meet their expectations, the company must make business decisions that account for the current and future environmental impact of your products, services, processes and activities. Their leadership challenge is to integrate sustainable environmental practices profitably into your firm’s daily decision making – from the factory to the boardroom.

Using the “Corporate Sustainability Model”

Social and environmental impacts must be included in ROI calculations and managerial decision making at all levels. Identifying, evaluating and improving your firm’s social, environmental and economic impact call for accountability in every area of your operations – from product design and cost to capitalization, information management and execution. Accountability begins with each person and department. Every staffer should be proactive about carrying out the firm’s commitment to sustainability as a core value. And each department should assess its contribution in every area. To that end, this model analyzes four areas of business practices necessary to “implement a successful sustainability strategy”:

  1. “Inputs” – What does your company contribute to sustainability in terms of staff and financial resources? Is your business environment conducive to meeting environmental goals? Maintain open communication across hierarchies and departmental silos to foster the information flow needed to make and execute critical sustainability decisions.
  2. “Processes” – Corporate leaders should establish principles and practices that “institutionalize the concept of sustainability.” The board and CEO must develop a sustainability strategy, allocate the necessary resources, and steer appropriate programs and initiatives through the organization. Along with its leaders’ commitment, a company needs the right “structures, systems, performance measures, rewards, culture and people” to execute its sustainability strategies.
  3.  “Outputs” – This category of business practices covers the “corporate cost/benefit of actions” for sustainability. It includes stakeholder reactions and sustainability performance (which “may be both an output and an outcome”). When focusing your sustainability activities, consider your organization’s culture, your competitive position and your environmental performance. Factor in regulations, market considerations and geographic conditions. Global businesses must align their overall sustainability strategies with the realities of their operating structure, be it centralized – with less local autonomy – or decentralized – with more local autonomy. Seriously consider all the associated risks and benefits before outsourcing sustainability functions to external providers.
  4. “Outcomes” – What feedback do you receive on sustainability issues? What are your marketplace results? Strong sustainability leads to better product design, production efficiency and good customer service, all of which result in higher profits, increased customer and employee retention, and greater social and environmental benefits. Help your company understand the direct connection between improved sustainability performance and improved financial performance.

Costing, Capital Investments and the Integration of Social Risk

The management tools that can help you assess the way you incorporate sustainability programming into your overall strategy include:

  • Capital investment decision systems – Some 84% of companies fail to consider social and political risk when they make spending decisions related to sustainability, though such risks affect many areas, including product quality, workload capacity, productivity, innovation, cost and revenue.
  • Costing systems – Rather than using traditional discounted cash flow analysis, some companies achieve better social and environmental cost accounting by using activity-based or life-cycle costing. Firms that use full-cost accounting to evaluate sustainability projects can make simple changes to identify and eliminate environmental expenses and to develop better pricing and customer value.
  • Risk assessment systems – Identify and quantify background sources of risk. What is the possibility of environmentally related social and political risks actually coming to fruition?

Keep this concern in mind as you make decisions.

Performance Evaluation

Building a culture of sustainability requires the right corporate setup, from your leaders’ commitment to your “organizational structure and rules, systems, communications, performance measurement, and incentive structure.” As you coordinate these factors, measure your firm’s individual and group sustainability performance with tools like these:

  • Performance evaluations – Appraise your sustainability program’s results at the corporate, business unit and individual levels.
  • Incentives and rewards – Recognize excellence, and offer incentives for reporting potential violations of the law or of corporate environmental policy.
  • Accountability for “internal waste” – Make each business unit responsible for its own discards.
  • “Emissions trading” – Corporate options include leasing emissions allowances, making offset agreements or balancing pollution against positive environmental contributions.
  • “Strategic management systems” – Institute administrative structures, such as a balanced scorecard, that provide genuine accountability and managerial control.

Social, Environmental and Economic Impacts

As you collect information about each phase of your sustainability activities, analyze it in financial terms so you have the information to align your corporate financial goals to your sustainability goals. Assess the factors that drive your sustainability performance, including potential risks and benefits, and appraise your social and environmental results. Advances in technology allow improved identification, collection and interpretation of data to help you make better decisions and perform more thorough assessments of sustainability-related issues. Proper evaluation will reveal the links between your firm’s activities and its performance in environmental, social and financial matters.

Strategy Adjustment

All your company’s activities – not just sustainability – benefit when managers adjust their strategies based on concrete performance indicators. Your measurement systems must include appropriate mechanisms to give feedback to managers, so they can promote knowledge sharing and continuous learning. Feedback allows managers to check their assumptions about earlier plans and to modify them for the long term. Your company can improve its sustainability performance by redesigning products, re-engineering processes, involving the members of its supply chain, rethinking markets, and using organizational learning and life-cycle analysis. Enhance your internal reporting to boost decision making and strategic planning. Use your data to show staffers the value of their contributions.

Success in sustainability and profitability occurs when leaders, strategy, structure,  management systems, performance and continuous learning align. Even if your current efforts may not seem to affect your finances or market performance immediately, your company will feel a positive impact in the future.