Travel Lessons That Are Getting People Through Quarantine

From what to do with all that free time to dealing with stress and anxiety.

For many people accustomed to Sunday brunches, happy hour get-togethers, and talks over morning coffee, self-quarantining and social distancing are difficult. Even introverts can struggle with the government mandates to stay home to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the coronavirus. As the world is on pause, Travel + Leisure's Paula Froelich explains that many of the lessons she learned during crisscrossing the globe are helping her as she maneuvers the unique situation of hunkering down in her New York City apartment.

Use Free Time to Learn Something New

Froelich explains that during her trip to India, she did most of her travel by train. That meant hours between cities and plenty of time for her to learn how to play chess with some friendly (and patient) fellow passengers. Now, she's playing virtual chess with friends and suggests something like trying your hand at learning a new language now that some people have some free time. Apps such as Duolingo make learning playful and fun and there's no pressure if you decide it's not for you.

Don't Go Down Rabbit Holes

If you're prone to anxiety or worrying, Froelich says that staying away from the 24-hour news cycle is probably a good idea. Twitter, for all of its pluses, can be a rabbit hole of misinformation and biased reporting. Remember that social media platforms have their pros and cons, so be aware of what's going on when you log on. If you're not prepared for it, the sudden barrage of news can seem insurmountable. Sometimes, it's best to just stay away. Froelich says that she learned to tune out the negativity when she was on a "boat ride up the Niger River." When certain passengers rubbed her the wrong way, she just ignored them until the time was right.

Try Meditation

It's easier than ever to introduce yourself to meditation. Apps such as headspace and various YouTube videos will teach you the fundamentals without having to go to Japan, which is how Froelich was first exposed to meditation and mindfulness.

"I took a two-week hike across the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail in Japan. It was grueling and difficult. At times, the hike was endless — constant trudging up a seemingly never-ending mountain, just putting one foot in front of the other, hoping not to fall over," she said. "To get through it, I started what I call moving meditation — listening to a meditation on my iPhone and walking to the beat of my breath. At the end of the day, sitting in a hot onsen, I felt cleansed."

Stay Connected with Family and Friends

It's easy to get distracted by work-from-home duties and day-to-day minutiae, but it's also never been easier to video call a loved one or check in on various social media platforms. A quick Like, an impromptu FaceTime call, and even a sincere text message can brighten someone's day and mix up the monotony of your self-isolation.