My Quarantine Routine: Samantha, a 32-year-old furloughed marketing manager

Despite a beautiful bank holiday weekend, we’re all staying at home during lockdown.

Everyone can head outside for exercise but this year, we can’t enjoy picnics at the park or afternoons in beer gardens.

For some, not having any outside space can be tough as they are only able to go outside for some exercise every day.

Today for My Quarantine Routine, we’re with Samantha Shillabeer, who lives in a one-bedroom flat in Hertfordshire with her boyfriend.

She is furloughed from her job as a marketing manager and is also struggling with keeping a routine and finding things to do when she is unable to work.

This is how she spent Thursday 9 April.

8 am

I wake up naturally, without an alarm clock. I was furloughed from my job as a marketing manager at an online gift company a week ago, so there’s no rush to get out of bed.

I’m keen to maintain some semblance of routine during these unusual times though, so I try to make sure I’m showered and dressed by 9 am every day.

I’ve all but given up with makeup and hair straightening by this point, so I’m embracing the natural look!

9 am

Breakfast time. I tuck into a coffee and a hot cross bun while flicking through the BBC News app and sending coronavirus memes to my friends (the main way we seem to communicate these days).

Although I miss work, these slow, leisurely mornings are a nice change of pace from normal life. 

10 am

The sun is streaming through my windows. I don’t have a garden or a balcony, but I’m lucky enough to have a bright and sunny south-facing lounge. I open up all the windows to get a bit of fresh air in.

Temperatures in the South East are forecast to reach the mid-20s today. Under normal circumstances, I’d be spending a free sunny day in the park or a pub garden, or taking advantage of my parents’ large garden. 

11 am

I’m still adjusting to not working and to having so much free time on my hands. I’m taking the opportunity to spring clean my flat for the first time in… ever.

Today’s job: clear out and organise the five years’ worth of junk in my hallway cupboards. I feel a ridiculous sense of satisfaction when I’m done and reward my efforts by cracking open an Easter Egg. 

12 pm

I find myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, and then wishing I hadn’t. It’s tough seeing pictures of friends sunbathing in their gardens when I’m stuck inside.

I know I’m in an incredibly privileged position compared to a lot of people, so I try not to complain too much, but the lack of outside space is definitely starting to get me down.

I decide to attempt a social media detox over the Easter weekend. 

1 pm

Time for lunch. I made a big batch of soup yesterday, to use up some tired-looking vegetables in my fridge. I always try my best to limit food waste, but I’m making even more of an effort at the moment.

I only have a small under-counter fridge freezer, so it’s taking a bit of planning and organisation to go food shopping as infrequently as possible.

2 pm

More de-cluttering. I’m renowned for my messiness, so this is completely out of character. I decide to capitalise on my new-found motivation, and create a little window seat in my bedroom (this corner is usually home to piles of laundry).

If I stick my head out of the window far enough, I might even get a tan! I recently bought some houseplants online, and I’m loving having a bit of greenery around the flat.

3 pm

I make the most of the hottest part of the day by heading out for my daily walk. This little freedom is a lifesaver for people living in flats, and I’m terrified of a stricter lockdown where exercise is banned.

I find a quiet route through local fields, and give my sister a call as I walk. We both lead busy lives and can often go weeks without chatting to each other properly, so it’s lovely having more time to connect.

4 pm

Back home. Open Instagram. Quickly remember my detox. Close Instagram.

5 pm

I watch the government’s press conferences every day without fail.

I like to stay up-to-date with everything that’s going on and, even though I’m not working at the moment, these 5pm briefings still mark the transition from ‘day’ to ‘evening’ for me. 

6 pm

Have a debate with myself over whether or not it’s too early to make a gin and tonic. Decide it’s not. Is anyone else finding themselves drinking a lot more than usual at the moment?

7 pm

My boyfriend is on dinner duty tonight. We’re both enjoying having more time to cook, and are currently working our way through Made in India, a vegetarian cookbook by Meera Sodha. 

8 pm

For the third week in a row, I join in with the Thursday night Clap for Carers. From my lounge window, I can see all the neighbours clapping on their doorsteps.

Even though I don’t know any of them, this little ritual is really helping to build a sense of community. It’s quickly becoming my favourite part of the week.

I clap for everyone risking their lives to keep us all safe and healthy, but especially for my mum who’s an NHS nurse on a COVID-19 ward.

9 pm

My boyfriend and I spend a good 10 minutes trying to find something we’d both like to watch on Netflix.

We’ve already raced through Tiger King, so opt to give the first episode of Ozark a go.

10 pm

Decide Ozark is worthy of a second episode.

11 pm

Bedtime. Tomorrow is Good Friday, and I can’t help but feel a bit sad that I won’t be seeing my family over the Easter weekend.

But I’m trying to stay positive, and I’m looking forward to lots of barbecues and beer gardens when life is back to normal!

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