Small second-quarantine joys

I start this post with a remembrance that for most people, this pandemic has brought immense grief and anxiety. Many people are hurting – some more than others, often compounding with racism, classism, and settler colonialism. Every day is filled with the news of people exploiting their wealth and access for impunity or gain. I have always approached this blog with fire, carried forward from other spaces. So when a space like this blog, does belong to me, I want to foster it as a place of comfort and healing. So this post is a restorative exercise.

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I am now in my second official quarantine of this pandemic. I say official because I have not left my home for any purpose otherwise even when I technically had the ability. But being in a required quarantine is much different from self-imposed isolation. Any sense of freedom is gone and you are even further disconnected from your neighbours. My last quarantine was at the start of medical school so it flew by with the excitement of entering the medical building for the first time and meeting a few classmates face to face. Now, with the novelty gone, quarantining has less in store. But it has also been better because of some small, new joys.

Here are some of those small quarantine joys:

Organizing

One thing you should know about me is that I love organizational systems. Digital, analog, minimalist, aesthetic – I love them all. During some extra time between work, I set up a new system on Notion. This platform has absolutely exploded over the past few months and I love that you can now easily find tons of templates from study YouTubers. I used this one from Alexandra (Twirling Pages) to set up my own system and it finally made Notion click for me. While before it felt like a complicated and sterile database, these templates have infused a lot of joy into the app. Now I love opening up my Workspace, checking out my dashboard and starting my day. I use it for both studying and long term projects that are rattling around in my Slack Notifications. One day I would love to do a full post on my entire organization system – it’s almost in its final form and cannot wait to share.

Home exercising

I have always felt really uncomfortable exercising in public and this is likely why I never meaningfully integrated regular exercise into my life. But after last semester’s Depths of Despair, I realized I needed to be proactive about my mental health. It was actually a couple of Family Medicine lectures that presented exercise as a treatment option for people with Depression and Anxiety that convinced me to “prescribe” myself exercise. I enrolled in a home exercise program for Muslim Women called Amanah Fitness which has truly helped me develop a love for exercise. It also did wonders for my mental health. If I was quarantining again without an exercise routine, I would definitely have crashed early. I will write a longer article one day about my experiences with fitness as a Muslim woman (I was a varsity athlete for a few years) and some of the barriers this program helped me overcome. For those of us in any speciality of medicine, prescribing exercise cannot be as simple as saying “go walk”. We need to understand the barriers our patients experience and have tools to help overcome them.

Dresses

Fashion has become a new creative outlet of mine (blame Instagram aesthetic tags) and as I have been growing in my hijab journey, I want to start wearing more skirts and dresses. Modest fashion has always been difficult for me in professional settings. Western business style feels quite restrictive and it’s harder to be confident when your outfit feels unflattering. Recently however, I found beautiful, professional dresses and cannot wait to wear them to clinical skills sessions. I know that Doctors in floor length dresses are uncommon (and select cuts are potentially unpractical) but I would love to be that Doctor who wears plaid circle skirts under my white coat. A Muslimah can dream right?

That’s it for my small joys – I hope you enjoyed reading about them. I would love to hear about what things bring you joy during this pandemic new year. Have you had to quarantine at all? How was it? Tell me in the comments below!

Till next time.

PS. This post is not sponsored by Notion, YouTube, or Amanah Fitness. I just like the specific resources I mentioned above. Thanks!

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