How to make the best out of your quarantine - Part 1

The essentials

Written by Andrea Vushkova, edited by Lindsay Martin, photos by Ilias Iatropoulos and WHO.

Sure, it can be relaxing to chill at home for a few days, but when the days become weeks and the weeks (most likely) become months, we need to plan out this unexpected break from our everyday routine. Thankfully, we are not in the Middle Ages and are blessed with the miracles of the World Wide Web. Lots of our escape paths will lead to a virtual space. Let’s take a look at strategies and ideas of how you can use your time in these unprecedented circumstances. 

Stress can be almost as dangerous as the actual illness


  • First and foremost, KEEP CALM. Stress can be almost as dangerous as an actual illness. The World Health Organization gives suggestions on how to cope with the situation. Here are some of them:
  • Exercise regularly. There are a lot of videos on YouTube to help you find the motivation to keep working out. Yoga is recommended, even during work breaks. A great channel with different yoga practices is Many people are also organizing classes that broadcast live. You can browse our beloved Facebook group “Foreigners in Sofia and Friends” for more information.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Now is not the time for junk food. Focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and any other foods that make you feel well, both physically and psychologically. And if you are wondering where to get your supplies safely, check out our article on Grocery, meals, and other home delivery services in Sofia. And if you're not interested in cooking, here is a list of our favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants or restaurants just for everyone that deliver delicious food right now.

Work from home

If you are not used to working from the comfort of your own home, this can be quite a big change in your daily routine. And while it may sound awesome to get up and go to work in your PJs with a cup of coffee in your hand, you may find this approach to actually be counterproductive. Here are a few tips on how to make the best of this new set-up, a.k.a. the home office.
  • Maintain your routine. Get up at the same time you usually do, get dressed, make yourself a healthy breakfast, and plan out your snacks and lunch.
  • Set up a workstation (if possible). If you have enough space at your place, set up a designated workstation that is far from the kitchen and the living room. That way, you won’t be tempted to sneak to the fridge for a quick snack or to turn on the TV. If you want to be productive keep work separate from house chores and entertainment. 
  • Don’t become one with your chair. Force yourself to get up from your workstation for things you regularly need. Keep your food in the kitchen, put your phone away, and check it only if needed. Try to get up every hour and move around for a bit. Look out the window to rest your eyes. 
  • Listen to new music. It activates the center in our brain that makes us feel rewarded and excited, so feel free to browse Spotify and YouTube for inspiration. 

Taking care of your mental health during the quarantine with exercise and meditation


  • Set a goal for a new achievement each day. Now that we cannot go to the office, run errands, or pick up our children from kindergarten/school, we need something to keep us going. We need the motivation to spend yet another day at home without becoming a couch potato. Set small but achievable objectives with tangible results. It might be to finish 30 pages from your book, do a 15-minute set of physical exercises, learn 5 new words of a new language, or clean out your closet.  
  • Learn the Bulgarian language. A lot of foreigners decide to learn the language for a variety of reasons – because of a mate, opening a business, or just arguing with pesky clerks. Here are the best ways to learn Bulgarian, according to the Open Sofia team, with an emphasis on doing it virtually due to the ongoing situation. Even if learning the language is not on your mind – maybe you can make some friends hang out with for sweet summer drinks in Borisova. 
  • Start a diary or a blog. Who knows, maybe a hundred years from now someone will find your notes and use them in history class for a very special lesson on the “The 2020 Pandemic”. Joking aside, writing your thoughts down may be helpful to make peace with the situation and cope with your emotions if they are going a bit awry. 
  • Take an online course. Many Ivy League online courses are now available for free, and you can take this opportunity to learn something new. Here is a categorized list of the offered courses. Udemy is also offering a bunch of free online programs, from programming to photography to aromatherapy, which you can find here.
  • Try meditation. Since we don’t have much contact with the outside world now, our stress levels have hopefully decreased significantly. And why not reinforce that feeling of inner peace with some mindful meditation? Try this website for some advice on how to do it. A member of Open Sofia, Lina Jarad, is also offering free meditation and sound therapy classes live on Facebook, check out her page.
  • Education at home. If you have children at home, and you are assuming the role of a teacher among everything else, take a look at our tips for homeschooling.

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