Quarantine Habits Are Hard to Break


By Gianna Montalbano, Staff Writer

Due to the Covid pandemic social distancing guidelines, people have taken up old or new hobbies to pass the time while they are stuck at home. Living in quarantine for months has given all ages a rare chance to find what they really enjoy spending their time. People around the world are finding things to do and finally getting a break to relax or hang out with family.  Its no different for students and teachers at WHHS who are also spending this newly found free time productively.  

“I bought the diamond painting off of Amazon and I do puzzles in my free time. Obviously watched Netflix, played with my cats, and went on drives just to get out of the house. I also went on walks around the neighborhood,” says Jessica Smith, a 10th grader.

Other students have turned to fitness including John Syyvertsen, a sophomore who said he has “… been exercising like lifting weights and I’ve been getting into fishing recently.”

“ I guess color guard from when I joined last year for the winter show and now I’m in the marching band. I also like singing at home or when I’m alone” said Ryan Newman, a sophomore. 

“The two things that I have been doing are: working on remodeling projects at my house, and spending time on my collector cars. I have a few of them, so something always needs to be fixed or polished. Then I can take them out to a car show or just go for a drive,” says Steve Hopper, the auto teacher at WHHS.

“I am spending more time cooking and organizing my house. I am trying new recipes, and my family is very happy with the variety of the meals that I am cooking” says Dulce Lopez, the Spanish ll teacher. 

“My wife and I have a one-year-old running around the house so we have our hands full but we were incredibly fortunate enough to spend so much time with her and be there for her to achieve some really cool milestones that ordinarily with work and my wife and I working 2nd jobs usually would have been something that would have been missed.  So spending time with our daughter was tremendous.  I took up some reading as well, well let me be more specific, audiobooks.  These things are the best! Would go for a walk and listen to a few chapters, listen in the car while driving.  Atomic Habits by James Clear was a book that I really enjoyed.” said Brian Gelalia, one of the Driver’s Ed teachers. 

In the world outside of WHHS, past-times are not much different.  “Mostly just drawing and scrapbooking in my free time,” said Lisa Prestipino, a sophomore at North Rockland High School. 

“I have been learning French and how to sew! Well, sewing pillows and stuff like that. I think it’s relaxing! It does make the time pass really fast, especially when listening to a podcast,” said my 21-year-old step-sister, Sarah. 

In an article, published by the journalism group Vex, titled “The Coronavirus has changed us – and it’s not all bad” , writers examine the habits their readers would like to keep once things return to “normal.” 

One of the biggest habits people responded about was reducing consumerism. Many people said they want to spend less money shopping for new material goods like gadgets and clothes. A long period of being shut in and not spending as much has led to the realization that so much of our consumer behavior is about instant gratification, not lasting happiness. 

“I think I will be more inclined to direct my consumption toward small local businesses,” said Nora Zeid, a 23-year-old illustrator and designer in the United Arab Emirates. “It breaks my heart how much they have suffered lately and how, unlike big corporations, they are less likely to survive.” 

There were other people that also noted that they plan to eat out less often at restaurants. Eating in during the lockdown has enabled them to save money, and some have discovered a taste for home-cooked meals. 

The second most response was putting less pressure on his or herself; “Quarantine has forced me to slow down in ways I haven’t since I was a kid. From high school and college, through my 20s and a master’s program, I have been on the go constantly for half my life. I always said I was one who liked to be busy, but the last two months of forced slowdown has really called on me to think about what I want my life to look like moving forward,” said one Vox reader in the US. “I’m trying to figure out what it would look like to intentionally build in space in my life to breathe, reflect, and focus on the most important aspects of life — the people around you who make it all worth it.”

There were some younger responders who said they wanted to put less career pressure on themselves because they now realize work is not what matters most in life.

Post-pandemic, the goal will be to “not fill every waking moment with a commitment of some kind,” said Patricia Murray, who lives in Savannah, Georgia. “Even retired persons, like myself, need leisure time. I seem to work as much as a volunteer as I did in paid jobs; slowing down is the biggest change I’ve made and it feels good.”