5 Things I learned from my 10 Day Quarantine

Setting the Scene

I wasn’t worried about COVID 19 when I first heard about it. It was only in China at the time, and I thought the government was controlled enough to keep it there.

That was an immensely ignorant assumption, but I didn’t have the information necessary to have a better opinion on it.

The first rumblings came when the Tel Aviv Marathon got cancelled for all foreigners. It was set for the end of February 2020. I remember walking into Dizengoff Center looking to get my bib (I was doing the half marathon, 13.1 miles or 22 kilometers), and they wouldn’t let me have it.

I was livid. I was supposed to run with classmates and other friends who were foreigners too. We felt that our time in Israel was precious and it was important that we had that experience. We didn’t want a virus from China to take that away from us.

Israel changed their mind, we ran, and it was awesome.

Tel Aviv Half Marathon 2020

Before quarantine everything was coming up roses in Israel. Classes at IDC were going well, I loved visiting family on the weekends, my friend-group was strong, and my comfort level grew immensely.

The Purim parties during March 2020 in Israel were reckless, but a lot of fun. The energy around the holiday is electric. It’s not just the parties themselves. People are celebrating everywhere you look. All the bars, all the clubs, all the streets, and all the apartments are packed with people in costume, dancing, and enjoying life.

After a crazy night in Tel Aviv, it was time for the IDC Purim party in Caesarea. It was the same venue as my uncle’s wedding, but it looked completely different in the daytime. I couldn’t believe it.

IDC Purim Party 2020

IDC may be an academic-focused school, but they sure know how to throw a party. I didn’t know it then, but that particular party would get me locked up for a while.

At least one of the thousands of people at the party tested positive for COVID 19 a few days later, and everyone who attended had to quarantine.


If you know me, you know I love rules.

It’s not really cool to say you like to follow rules but I don’t really care. I wear a seatbelt in the car and I do my best not to cheat or break the law.

So when the quarantine rules came out- I knew it was in my best interest to follow them- even if it was going to be difficult.

The rules were: don’t leave your apartment for any reason for 10 days. I could only open my door to pick up food that was delivered to my doorstep and I had to wait for the deliverer to walk away before picking it up.

For someone who loves being outside, this was a challenge beyond challenges, but I took quarantine seriously because I was scared I potentially had COVID and could give it to other people.

I didn’t know the effect COVID would have on the world at the time, but the quarantine assignment was a rude awakening.

Being stuck in my apartment was like solitary confinement but I had the creature comforts: technology access, kitchen, bathroom, and a WhatsApp group to help pick up my groceries and takeout.

Too much time alone is toxic, especially for an extrovert like me, but sometimes it can be good to rewire your thoughts and attitudes towards the world.

After much reflection on my time in quarantine, I came up with five important values.

1) The Value of Time

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Time is constantly moving. Depending on how your mind perceives it, it can either move really slow or really fast. Rarely something in-between.

When you’re alone for extended periods of time- it moves slow. Really slow, unless you really focus on finding distractions for idle time.

Spend enough time alone you will see all your flaws, fears, and emotions bubble to the surface.

The 10 days alone in my apartment felt like a blur. Since I wasn’t going outside it didn’t really matter what time of day it was. Sure, I could look out the window and see the sun shining or the moon gleaming in darkness, but neither had an effect on what I was able to do or not do.

I had to make my own schedule, but there was nothing holding me accountable except for myself to stick to it.

I am grateful I had class work, internship work, and personal work (music) to do or I might have really gone insane. Work and study are important ways to keep the mind focused and engaged, even when alone.

Considering I couldn’t walk more than a few feet, I felt like the lion I saw pacing back and forth at the San Diego Zoo.

Going back… Time is a valuable asset that is easily wasted because it is hard to understand. You can’t really own or hold time because it’s always moving.

Every moment you are sharing time with every living organism on earth. It is something everyone has, but no one truly knows for how long.

Time’s true value depends on how you spend it. We may all share 24 hours, but some are able to harness time more efficiently and effectively than others to live an extraordinary life, help others, and achieve what they desire.

I can’t say I’m the best at harnessing time to my advantage but it is a skill that I am actively working to improve and I believe everyone should.

That being said, sometimes it is important to slow time down too. Break away from any connection and listen to what you need. This can ground you and allow you to be open to new perspectives, thoughts, emotions, and ideas.

Time heals all wounds… More on that in a future post.

2) The Value of Connection

I never want to go into a true solitary confinement. Whether that’s in jail or in the wild somewhere.

Quarantine was more than enough for me.

Being alone and being comfortable alone has value, but connection to others provides a purpose deeper than ourselves.

Throughout the quarantine, I kept telling myself how lucky I felt to live in a time with a smartphone and an internet-connected laptop. Even though I was alone, I was so grateful to have the ability to connect with the world, on the phone, online, and even see people in real time on Zoom or Facetime. Big thank you to my friends and family for keeping me sane during the quarantine. Especially the friends going through it at the same time, the mutual experience was comforting.

Even though I enjoyed the digital connections, not having another alternative made me realize that there’s no substitute to the physical reality for true human connection. That’s why you can talk to someone who lives far away on the phone or on Facetime and still miss them dearly when the call is over.

Being around other people, in person, will always be an important part to any society. Even as more things are able to be done online. The connection is far greater when you can experience the same space and time with someone else.

No matter how great technology gets, it’s important to spend as much time in person with the people you love, there’s nothing better.

3) The Value of Solitude

Photo by Tony Detroit on Unsplash

I always considered myself a bit of an extroverted introvert. I love being around people, but I can also be happy on my own. Quarantine really tested that theory, and made me realize that I am happier around people, but feel safer when I’m alone. This could be in part due to some social anxiety I experience from time to time, or just the reality that being alone is where I am in a state of rest.

If you pay attention, time alone can teach you a lot about yourself.

What inner dialogues are you having? What do you do when people aren’t around, and wont be for a while? What matters most to you? What are the things you only do because it’s what others want?

Looking internally is something everyone can benefit from, no matter how secure or insecure they are in themselves. No one is perfect, and therefore we all have something to improve, and often those improvements happen when no one is watching. Sure you can post your workouts on social media, or talk about how to do better with friends and family, but only you can hold yourself accountable to actually make real changes to better yourself.

Even during the quarantine I had trouble fully being alone with my thoughts/ with my inner dialogue.

I would make sure to have a distraction at every point of the day because I felt that I would go insane if I didn’t. The distractions could be music, podcasts, social media, phone calls, TV, guided exercise, or some other form of entertainment. Basically anything to keep me away from my inner dialogue. I guess I was afraid of what I might find if I spent too much time alone with my own thoughts.

At some point though, the distractions and work aren’t enough. Having those conversations was inescapable.

This is great however, because you can use those conversations to figure out what you truly want / need and how to get there.

I wasn’t always happy with with what I had to say or the direction/ path I felt I was headed on. How did I get here? I wondered internally… But those conversations, though difficult, made me stronger and more in tune with myself and how I feel in any given situation- good or bad.

While I don’t recommend spending 10 days without seeing other people, I do recommend taking time out of each day to listen to how you’re feeling. Whether that’s through meditation, exercising alone, or driving without the radio, it’s important to check in.

Let your intuition guide you, if you really listen, you will learn a lot.

4) The Value of the Unnoticed

Photo by Yancy Min on Unsplash

The entire time I lived in Herzliya there was an identical building being constructed in front of my window.

I would wake up to the sound of construction and it would go on in the distance throughout most of the day. Thankfully I was able to tune it out- I would shut my blinds often for privacy- as I could see everything they did and they could see everything I did.

Most of the time, I would pay the construction workers minimal attention. After all they have a job to do and I had my own life to live.

During quarantine however, they were the only people I saw physically for days. At some points I felt like L.B. in Rear Window. I would open my window- letting the fresh air and construction dust fly in, and just watch them work. I don’t think they really noticed me or cared, but it made me appreciate them much more.

I grew up in California in neighborhoods with well-manicured lawns. It’s ironic because of how little it rains in Southern California, but they’re there because of the hardworking landscapers and gardeners who shuffle through neighborhoods at the crack of dawn and work tirelessly to make gardens beautiful. It’s funny how little they are appreciated or even acknowledged, even though they work so hard to make entire neighborhoods look better.

Since my quarantine, it’s impossible for me not to notice construction workers and landscapers. I have gained a deeper appreciation for what they do and do my best to either acknowledge them or strike up conversations with them when appropriate.

As easy as it is to notice people, it is just as easy not to- and that can be a large problem not just for individuals, but for society as a whole.

Everyone contributes and has value. It’s important to recognize that and behave accordingly.

No individual is above the group regardless of who they are.

5) The Value of Freedom

Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

My favorite memory from the quarantine experience was it ending and me walking outside for the first time in almost 2 weeks. The crisp spring night air was glorious and I couldn’t stop smiling. It was pure bliss.

I don’t feel that way every time I walk outside and I’m not really sure that I should. But it is amazing how much you appreciate the value of things only after they’re taken away from you.

Having the freedom to do what you want, to express yourself, and to be who you are is a tremendous privilege, and one we should appreciate.

I feel so lucky to have grown up in the USA, and had the opportunity to spend time in other free countries like Israel because I know that in many places I wouldn’t even be free to talk about my experiences openly.

Gratefulness is a gift that keeps on giving. Whenever you feel negative energy start to creep in, which it often does for me, it is best to reset our minds by appreciating the freedoms we have.

While it is often easier to focus on the things we don’t have, always remember your gifts, your light, your community, your experiences, and your talents. Express accordingly and happiness will find its way back into your life.

As I have mentioned before, I am not perfect, nor am I always happy or positive. I can lay in negative energy the same way that one finds comfort lying on a bed of nails. But it is so much better and brighter not to, and it is important to always let light in- even when things feel dark.

Freedom is a gift- appreciate it, respect it, and express yourself through it.

Final Thoughts

While the quarantine was a big mental challenge, I know it wasn’t unique to me. At no point did I feel scared for my life or truly threatened by COVID. I realize that that wasn’t everyone’s experience.

I want to take the time to acknowledge the amazing healthcare workers who continuously work hard to save lives. We are greatly indebted to you all.

I remember when the COVID counter was under 1 Million cases, now there’s been 175 + Million and close to 4 Million deaths.

Even though I love to focus on the positive, there’s no way to truly describe or comprehend the kind of pain this virus has caused.

Always do your best to spread love, light, kindness, and positivity in this incredible world we call home.




This blog is sponsored by Nursh.Me. Use the code ARIEL25 to get 25% off your online order.

About the author


View all posts