Stay at home tips from the American who was quarantined in Japan & the U.S

Stay at home tips from the American who was quarantined in Japan & the U.S

Sarah’s Story In Less Than 200 Words

When she first boarded her flight from Los Angeles to Toyko, Japan in January, little did she know the world would be in a global health crisis by the time she returned.

Sarah Arana, 52, a medical social worker from Santa Cruz, California, was one aboard the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked off the coast of Yokohama, Japan. After her cruise, on February 4th, one confirmed case of the coronavirus ignited over 700 infected patients, out of over 3,800 passengers. With quarantine measures at the time, two weeks of cruise ship lockdown were required. She spent her entire quarantine time in her cabin room.

Luckily Sarah was one of the tested passengers whose results came out negative.

On February 18th, the U.S Government sent evacuation flights to pick up any American passengers stranded on the ship, including Sarah. As she landed in California, she like several others were immediately transferred to a U.S Government quarantine centre at Travis Air Force Base in California. Sarah then underwent a further two weeks of quarantine, including her birthday.

In total, Sarah spend FOUR weeks in quarantine in two different countries, under two different environments.

Since March 2nd, out of both quarantine, Sarah has been deployed by CALMAT (California Medical Assistance Team), providing mental health services for health workers to handle the anticipated overflow of COVID patients, in Southern California.

Converted beds in a temporary hospital to deal with the overflow of COVID19 patients, California, USA.


Sarah told me her story whilst onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. I published this via the Telegraph newspaper in the UK. You can read that story here.


Sarah Arana, whilst quarantined on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, in Yokohama, Japan.


Sarah’s Tips on Quarantine, Self Isolation and Staying At Home

The coronavirus is now worldwide with the United States and Europe currently in the midst of the worst affected outside of China. With many residents on lockdown, finding real-time and experienced advice is key to get you through this. I contacted Sarah who happily sent me her thoughts, unedited, below.

1. First and foremost.

I would say if one has access to WIFI and the Internet, there’s a plethora of great things going on, virtual museum tours, concerts, the symphony, so many things being offered for free right now. A very simple search will reveal many special gems.

Also social media and chatting with friends. This is important because having contact and access to others greatly reduces feelings of isolation and provides that connection that we all need and crave. Definitely stay in touch with family and friends and know that you are not alone.

This one is probably the single most valuable thing when I was trapped on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, was having contact with so many others both on and off the ship so we could support each other, tell jokes, and just know that there were others going through the same thing.

2. Stay positive.

It’s easy to fall down a black hole of doom and despair if you let fear and anxiety take control of you. Meditate, do yoga, listen to uplifting music, turn off the news, read a good book, and make sure you take care of yourself, drink plenty of water, eat healthily and stay well. This is very important. If you start to feel negativity set in, reset your mood with something that makes you laugh, makes you smile, makes you happy and remind yourself this is only temporary, it will not last forever and this small sacrifice is for the greater good.

3. Do tap into some creative energy.

You can draw, paint, build something, plant nice things in your garden, colouring books, whatever you have access to and feel inspired to do, dive in. There’s a ton of skillshares and tutorials available online for practically anything you can imagine. Get your hands dirty and dive in.

4. Get outside.

Whether you live in an area where you can go for a walk, go in the back yard, go on a hike, sit on the front porch, get outside and get fresh air. If you live in an area with sun, let the sun hit your forehead and forearms for 5-15 minutes a day. This is helpful for reducing anxiety, depression and is uplifting. You will sleep better not to mention get a little bit of Vitamin D.

5. Get exercise.

Exercising during quarantine in Travis Air Base, California.

Whatever you can do; walk, hike, bike, yoga, Zumba, dance, anything, just move your body for at least 30 minutes a day. It helps keep the blood and air flowing and you truly feel better. Get some movement daily.

6. Reframe.

Think of this as a retreat, a sanctuary, a sabbatical, a time out, a break. This is not a bad thing, you are not being punished and if you approach this as a rare opportunity to slow down and do some things you wouldn’t otherwise have the time to do, you might find that you can be very productive. Also, keep in mind that resting and relaxing is productive. Give yourself permission to do nothing. That’s doing something valuable.

If you’re stuck inside, in self-isolation or quarantine, and want professional advice from Sarah during the coronavirus crisis, you can contact her at