Quarantine in Russia: Five tips on surviving Russian isolation
When I first began blogging here at Liden & Denz, you might remember that in my first post I talked about how I longed to come to Russia, and how I was studying online for the time being due to ongoing travel restrictions.
I’m pleased to say I have now finally made it to Saint Petersburg to continue my Russian studies in person! This comes with a catch, though – as a UK citizen, I am currently in isolation. All travellers from the UK must isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Russia (unlike most European citizens, who don’t have to quarantine!). I am staying with a host family here in Saint Petersburg, so luckily I’m not alone. But I’m now eight days into my isolation and it is beginning to get a little tiresome!
If you’ve just arrived in Russia and like me you do have to isolate for a few days, or perhaps you are isolating due to COVID-19 itself, the idea of spending so much time indoors in a new country can be a little daunting. To help you through it, I’ve put together five top tips to stay sane during what can otherwise be a very boring stint indoors.
1. Plan a routine and stick to it
You might not be leaving your flat but this doesn’t mean that you can’t have structure in your day! Making a routine has really helped me keep track of things and ensured that all the days don’t simply merge into one.
As I am enrolled in one of Liden & Denz’s group courses, I have lessons from about 10am-2pm. I get up at about 8.15, eat breakfast at 9, and then go into my lesson online at 10. This means that the morning has a really good structure and the day is off to a good start! Of course, it’s important to give yourself free, ‘unstructured’ time too – after lunch, I usually try to do my homework, before making dinner and giving myself the evening off work. This means that I always know I won’t be studying after about 8pm, and can spend the rest of the evening calling friends and family, or watching TV. Thanks to this routine, which is exactly the same Monday to Friday, time is going much more quickly than I expected!
It would be easy to presume that since you can’t go outside, you’re not going to be able to get any exercise for the duration of your quarantine. Yet doing a bit of exercise every day is really important, whether it’s a half hour yoga class or just a stretch in the morning – and being inside doesn’t have to hold you back. If you’re unsure where to start, just head to YouTube and search for a class. There’s plenty out there to choose from. Try and build exercise somewhere into your daily routine if you can. It will help you feel more energised and make sure you don’t get a shock when you’re allowed outside again!
3. Order groceries
When I arrived, I was naturally quite worried about how I was going to find food for the next fourteen days! Luckily, although I haven’t left my flat, I’ve been able to order all the comfort foods I wanted online. Any groceries you might need can be delivered right to your front door, and it’s a great idea to order ingredients instead of just takeaway food – cooking is a good way of passing the time in the evening.
Ordering food online is also really great from a language point of view. You’re not faced with the stress of having to quickly choose your shopping in a busy supermarket whilst having to work out what a label says – you can simply download an app and order in your own time (using an online dictionary if needed!).
My personal favourite is Samokat (Russian: Самокат), which can deliver all kinds of groceries to your door in pretty much guaranteed 15 minutes (tried and tested!). There is also VkusVille (Russian: ВкусВилл), and Yandex.Eats, both of which have a great selection, even for vegetarians and vegans.
4. Treat yourself to a takeaway from time to time
As I said previously, cooking is definitely a good way to pass the time in the evening – however, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to a takeaway now and again! If you’re isolating for a full two weeks, why not give yourself Friday and Saturday night off cooking and order something exciting? This makes a fun change and differentiates the weekend from the weekdays. Russia has lots of apps from which you can order tasty takeaway food (there’s no Deliveroo, a familiar favourite for those of us from Europe, but there are plenty of similar options). And just like with grocery shopping, the food will come right to the front door of your flat.
I recommend Yandex.Eats, which has a huge selection of restaurants. Another one of my favourites is the app YamiYami, which lets you order foods like pizza and sushi for a really reasonable price.
5. Do your studies!
It might seem like an obvious one, but keep studying hard! Whichever Liden & Denz course you’re taking, do all your homework, write up your notes after class, and generally be a really good student during your isolation. Not only is it beneficial for learning, but keeping busy with studying will really help your isolation go faster. There’s nothing worse than having a whole day ahead of you and feeling like you have nothing to do. Fill up your time with cracking those bits of Russian grammar you haven’t had time to learn properly before!
I hope these tips help you get through your isolation. I’m already over halfway through my quarantine, and it’s definitely gone faster than I thought it would!
Want to come to Russia but not sure how to travel there during the pandemic? Check out our video on FAQs about travel to Russia during COVID-19.