Furious woman and friend ignoring her sitting on a couch in the living room at home

The world is on fire. For the first time in history, our planet is on lockdown, and we are quarantined to our homes and are advised to leave only if necessary. Businesses big and small are going bankrupt, jobs are lost and many people are going broke, people are dying at a rapid rate of an unfamiliar virus, and it’s challenging to comprehend that this is happening all at once. We have zero control or say regarding what’s going on and are given limited information daily, so we can only do as instructed if we want to survive.

Mandatory quarantine is a testament to a lot of things: curing boredom by getting creative with what we have at home, testing patience, what solidarity means in this world, and, most importantly, how much trust we give our higher-ups, who are allegedly working around the clock to find a cure and discovering new ways to understand the coronavirus and how to avoid, control, and destroy it. (God bless all the health workers who are doing the actual work. These are the real heroes we should applaud and shower with profound love.)

COVID-19 currently has no cure. This is an airborne virus that you can catch just from touching the wrong surface, and we know only a few ways to try to avoid infection. The number of virus-positives and deaths are growing at a staggering rate. Fear, panic, and anxiety are high. (Will this package just delivered give me COVID-19? What about the stuff at the bottom of my shoe that drags through my home?) There’s nothing more terrifying than not knowing every day if the person who delivered your groceries or the doorknob you touched has the virus, or even if the person you live with has it, as they have their own daily routine. Most people who have COVID-19 show symptoms. Many don’t. If you’re a germaphobic hypochondriac with OCD like me, this is a nightmare, but it’s essential to remain calm and not Jerry Maguire flip out.


Some silver lining. There are ways we can combat this little jerk that’s raising a lot of hell on Earth. I’ve written a list.

Below is an unofficial how-to guide to surviving with others in your quarantined home. (Roommates = family, friends, spouse, partner, and yes, you, the one who’s always in his/her head.) I hope the attempted humor gives you a chuckle and lightens the mood during a frightening time. *fist bump*


1.) Clean up your mess. Your laundry, dishes, and things piling up. Pick up after yourself and clean daily. It’s important to keep all areas clean. Clutter could possibly be contaminated, especially if it’s clothes worn when you went out for that toilet paper and stood in line behind someone with the virus who didn’t have the common courtesy (or sense! or care!) to cover their cough.  


2.) Hand-wash your dishes after you eat and put them away immediately. Don’t wait. Skip the dishwasher because this eliminates clutter and arguments on who just did the dishes and who needs to put them up. Plus, you just saved some on your electricity bill. You’re welcome. 


3.) Share the television. Make a schedule or let your roommate know in advance, “Hey, at 7:30, I’m going to watch Gigli.” Accept that you’re not going to be able to use the TV at all times. You’ll probably be on your phone, anyway.


4.) Communicate and set boundaries with the people you’re stuck with. Self-quarantine may be a long ride, and nobody knows when we will arrive at our destination.


5.) We all go a little mad sometimes. If you get angry and lash out, apologize. It’s admirable to fall on your sword when necessary. 


6.) If you get into an argument, go to your room and give it time, breathe, think the situation over, and cool down. 


7.) Since texts and social media posts are often misunderstood, make sure to be careful with how you structure your sentence. Ask a friend to read it before you text or post. 


8.) Praise one another for small things cleaned around your home.


9.) Make a schedule of who needs to do what and stick to it. This is not the time to be lazy.


10.) Don’t be passive-aggressive. (See rules 4, 6, and 7.)


11.) If you take some of your roommate’s toilet paper, frozen milk, or anything, tell them immediately and replace it with the same item.


12.) Give each other space. Build a makeshift area if you need to. Do your own thing. Alone time is healthy, and we all need it.


Disclaimer: This list was not written by a licensed professional. It was written by a writer who’s in the thick of it with you and is offering ideas. Pay attention to the news, wash your hands, avoid online gossip unless confirmed by a reliable source, and don’t watch Contagion.  l