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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nelson

7 Tips from The Circle on Surviving Quarantine

First of all, we’ve never had a national emergency that literally required us to avoid human interaction. To most introverts, this is a blessing, perhaps. For the first week, it was cute. The second week, it was comforting. The third week was mostly manageable. The fourth week things started getting out of hand. The fifth week was caustic anxiety of never leaving your home. And now the sixth week is all about just surviving in a time when you only interact with your phone, computer, or tablet.

When we all watched Netflix’s The Circle, the first thing I imagine we all said was “what Reality-British-Television hell is this?” People kept inside and only forced to hang out in their apartment alone for an extended period of time? Yeah, right. This is not Big Brother and this is not an Amazing Race. But watching it, I imagine the producers had to actively combat the isolation their players were going to face. Otherwise, I’m sure the players would lose their cool. (I think most reality TV actually thrives on those random doses of inadequate thinking, but bear with me.) Here are tips on how to survive isolation as told by The Circle.

NOTE: If you haven’t finished watching the first season, I recommend returning to this article afterword. I refer to people who were voted off and the person who won.

EAT GOOD FOOD. Every player, I imagine, has a chance to order what they want to eat, because they get to make some great looking food. But I imagine the food being prepackaged by the producers and left at the door for the contestant with all the proper ingredients. I like to think they were properly chosen to keep the body engaged, while not being too terribly bad for their somewhat sedentary lifestyle until the game concludes. But a perfectly cooked chicken is the difference between going to bed sad and waking up like you wanna sing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Quality food is essential during this time. Eating the proper food is going to keep your mind and body active even if you’re just sitting around. I’ve also been trying a new cookbook to get my mind moving and challenge my culinary expertise (non-existent). It’s so much fun to get in there and nom on some weird zucchini noodles that taste great, at first!

PLAY GAMES. Why is it they always play games with each other via The Circle? Perhaps they didn’t want to lose their minds? Also, everyone loves games. (Unless you got something wrong. obvi.) And the best way to interact with one another is to experience fun together. It’s like going on a journey with friends and it’s the only way to interact and have fun. The current platform that made some traction in my friend group about a month ago, HouseParty, has a great system to play games with various people while on a video call. I think it’s kind of the same deal. If you don’t like trivia or Apple to Apples, then you fresh outta luck. But get together with your friends and have a time to play virtually over your Nintendo Switch accounts and play Smash Bros together or race each other on Mario Kart. I don’t care what it is. It’s just important to stay connected with your friends during this time. (I have to admit, this one has been hard to do, but I’m just doing my best and trying to get better at it every day.)

MESSAGE THAT GROUP CHAT. It’s always fun to keep in contact with those closest to you. Although not seeing them is very hard to cope with right now, getting to interact with them is the best way to keep them close and to help them keep their heads on straight. We’re all going through the same motions. Maybe message them to play a game virtually or ask them to go on a socially-distanced run with you next week. Message that group chat to get them on board with how you’re doing. Maybe they’re struggling and need your help. Maybe you’re struggling and you need their help. We’re all in this together.

DON’T LIE TO YOURSELF. Listen. Everyone hates liars. Like Karyn did a great job at being Mercedez, but lying can only get you so far. Yes, it got her Chris, but that’s beside the point. I’m not exactly sure on how this connects back to isolation. Maybe just, like, don’t do it? Honestly, just be yourself and don’t try to be someone else during this time. You get this time to connect with yourself, manage your own emotions, and get a chance to truly get your career/relationship/friendship/project on the track you want it to be. Do take this time to map it out. Don’t make a fake map. Don’t catfish yourself. lol

PLAY THE GAME. Just like Joey said the episode before he won, “We have to play the game. I’m sorry.” At a certain point, in order to survive, we all have to just play the game. Don’t do it with malice. No one likes that. But play isolation like it was a game. Do what you need to do in order to get by. Don’t try to go above and beyond during this time because it might just burn you out. Don’t be risky trying to make connections and getting to the top, just play the game to keep yourself afloat. Joey did it. He knew how to win it and he just followed those rules. Don’t step on anyone’s toes and watch what your missteps might cause. Play the game.

(IF YOU CAN) GO WORK OUT. As available, certain players are allowed to enter the work-out facility in the apartment building. They go alone, of course, but are allowed to be there for however long they want, assumingly. The producers made sure to have Circle interactions in the facility because they wanted to show it; it was gorgeous with great equipment (says a person who barely works out). But getting outside and staying active is one of the smartest ways to keep your body awake and alert, considering we can’t just walk across the street to Starbucks anymore on our fifteen minutes breaks to keep active. Get out. Stay active. Your body and your mind will thank you.

(IF YOU CAN) GET OUT AND GO RELAX. Many players had a chance to visit the rooftop hot tub. Not a ton of fun when you’re alone, but it gave the players a chance to escape for a bit. Getting out of their apartment is key. Just like taking a trip to the gym (which I would NOT recommend doing during the pandemic), going to the rooftop hot tub is a chance to escape the energy in the apartment. Getting a new feel for the world around you just from the rooftop. Relaxing with a beer or a book and a hot tub is key to keeping your mind and body in balance during this unprecedented time. Get outside for a walk. Take your dog (or don’t). Practice proper social distancing and have some outdoor fun.

I am adhering to Stay at Home and proper social distancing to save my roommate who is high risk. My parents and grandparents are also in a high-risk group and I don’t wish to put them in any harm. I’m practicing social distancing to keep my neighborhood and community safe, just in the off chance I do contract the disease while grocery shopping and don’t realize it for two weeks.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay watching Netflix.

Also, make sure you check out the newest versions of the Circle available now on Netflix, The Circle Brazil and The Circle France. Although the entire program is hosted in their native languages, I can only imagine they’re just as fun!

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