Two weeks ago, many Times of Malta readers began 14 days of self-isolation for various reasons. Now - as they get a small portion of their freedom back - three of them tell us how they spent their time at home and what they learned from the experience.

Martin Dyring, 28, Birkirkara

Martin went into self-imposed quarantine after a person at his company tested positive for coronavirus. Martin suffers from a chronic illness, which can affect his immune system. He spent the time doing home improvements, as well as gardening and exercising with his partner on the roof. But how does he feel now that he can finally leave his apartment again?

"I was glad I missed seeing people in long queues, panic buying everything from toilet paper to milk and leaving empty shelves behind them. I experienced this before when I lived in Greenland, where no two cities are connected by roads and you depend on the next shipment of food from Denmark. Sometimes supplies were delayed by days or weeks because of bad weather. This taught me to always have a stash of high-calorie food in the cupboard."

"What I found the hardest, was how much I love walking. I walk around five to 10km every day, including to and from work and grocery shopping. Not being able to go out and enjoy the weather affected me a lot and I began to feel lazy and moody."

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"I tried to stay creative and keep to a structure by reading, writing or working out at home. This gave me a sense of control and kept my body and mind healthy."

"I also made use of the abundant delivery services in Malta, including food supplies. I tried to support local farmers and small businesses and artists when ordering online. They are having a rough time and it would be a shame to see their passion crumble between their hands."

Alenka Kreideweiss, 37, Msida

Alenka had to self-quarantine after returning from Germany. As well as spending two weeks alone in her 12m2 studio, she had the added stress of not earning an income while in self-isolation as she is a freelancer. Challenges included how to get food and how to move her scooter when construction was taking place on her street. Despite all of this, she's feeling positive about getting outside again.

Alenka worried about how to move her scooter while trapped insideAlenka worried about how to move her scooter while trapped inside

She and her friend used WhatsApp voice messages to read stories to each other. 

"It was lovely to listen to the tone of another person's voice," she said.  

"Being trapped only emphasised on how much I value nature and my friends. It also made me realise how lucky we all are to have the internet and electricity to use all our computers and phones to stay in contact."

"I hope that during this experience we all start to rethink what we really need in life. I want to be free to move again and do what I did before, to live in this world while respecting others and nature."

The experience of being isolated for 14 days has also made her more mindful of what really matters.

"While I do want to travel and buy nice things for myself sometimes, I want to now keep in mind 'Do I really need it?'

"I always want to save energy where I can and reduce my waste. I hope that everyone feels more mindful about how we treat our home planet after this."

Lara Aguis, 23, Xemxija

Lara is a teacher and decided to self-quarantine as she's a teacher. She was sick a week before schools shut and didn't want to infect anyone in case she was carrying COVID-19.

"I've been trying to stay positive while being in self-isolation so I made a short bucket list of things I always want to do but never find time for. I learned how to shave my own head, made a workout plan, organised my books, began doodling every day and made bread from scratch. All of these things take time. For example, the bread itself took around eight hours to make, but all of the activities brought some much-needed light into my life. I've also worked on a podcast and began writing a new script. If not now then when?"

Lara learned to make bread during her 14 days in self-isolationLara learned to make bread during her 14 days in self-isolation

"The only challenge was that my income was slashed because of the school and theatre industry shut down, but I'm lucky enough to still live with my mum so it hasn't slowed me down much. I'm also am a bit of a homebody so I've been enjoying some quiet time with my animals and books."

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