How Sangita Patel Hosts “ET Canada” in Quarantine

In our Day in the Quarantine Life series, we’re chatting with Canadians about their new normal, exploring how they organize their days and balance their home lives with work obligations. Here, Sangita Patel, ET Canada Entertainment Reporter, shares how she spends a day social distancing.

7:30 a.m.

One trick I started years ago is I never put my phone right next to my bed. So, I wake up in the morning to a 1984 clock next to my bed. It still works! It still buzzes at me when I need to wake up, around 7:30 a.m.

I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m so off because I’ve been sleeping late, so I’ve been waking up late. It used to be very important to me to sleep eight hours a day, it’s important for my health, and that’s fallen apart for me right now. I think I’m anxious, things get in your head, especially at a time like this. I think it’s the unknown, and I think that’s what a lot of people are feeling. There’s a lot of anxiety. My husband’s a radiologist and my sister’s a nurse, so knowing that they’re out there gets me emotional. You just say a prayer every night. I’ve become more religious, I’ve noticed. More spiritual through this experience.

When I wake up in the morning, I write down three things I am grateful for, what do I want throughout this day, how do I feel about myself. I started this in January, at a period I was learning that I need to get out of my head. I had my first anxiety attack last year, and I didn’t know what it was. I’ve always been a person who didn’t really speak about their emotions, and I’m finally learning to be able to do that. Growing up, my mom always used to say if someone else is happy then you’re happy. I lived by that mantra, and I still think it’s important, but now I’m learning that I need to be happy too, for other people to be happy. So, it’s been a lesson.

I make sure the kids are up, go down the stairs, and then I check my phone. I’m on Twitter way too much—I’m on social media way too much. I’m trying to limit my time on it. Even right before this all happened, I was finally able to go on Instagram at 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and not check it throughout the day. I changed the way I used social media and it was great. It was so good for my health, so good for me mentally. Now, I’ve never checked my phone this much. But I just want to know what’s happening and be on top of it.

My girls, they’re 13 and 10, are having their breakfast. They’ve come to the age that they know how to make certain foods for breakfast, so I let them do that on their own. My youngest daughter likes Pillsbury croissants. She puts chocolate chips in it, rolls it up, and puts it in the oven. The other one has cereal. I don’t eat with them—I like an empty stomach before I work out.

The kids get ready for online schooling at 9 a.m.

8 a.m.

I’m an Entertainment Reporter at ET Canada, and we have a Zoom meeting with our team each morning to connect.

Before quarantine, I would travel once a week somewhere to do interviews with ET Canada, watch a movie, do junkets—so travelling was a big part of my life. In a typical week, I would be on the road, and go into the studio three days a week. Now, we’re so lucky we can do a show from home. It’s so spectacular that ET Canada is still on the air through all this. We’re creating new content, and we’re able to create a show through our phones with ET Canada at Home.

10 a.m.

I drink lemon water in the morning, and I take my pre-workout drink—an energy drink called C4. It gives me enough energy to be able to carry heavy weights, because I try to do 95 to 100-pound squats, so I need a bit of a lift.

I still do my CrossFit workout, so I do a lot of heavy weights. My CrossFit gym gives us a workout to do. I don’t do all of it because of what I have at home right now—but I have a barbell, I do bar lifting, I do my dumbbells. I hate cardio, so a lot of weightlifting is happening in our basement. Most of the time I come up with what I want to do.

Working out at home is not the same as going to the gym. I drag my feet. I drag husband’s feet. He has to come down with me, and we start competing against each other to see who finishes first. We motivate each other for sure.

11 a.m.

After working out, I have my protein intake. I started drinking chicken broth—it’s pure protein. It’s like a hot tea, tastes like chicken noodle soup essentially.

I take a shower and get dressed—my pants are always my pajama pants, and then I wear something nice on top. If I’m on air, I’ll do my hair and makeup. It just takes me five minutes. It’s a very casual look! I’m home, right? I don’t have full makeup at home! I’m part of the COVERGIRL family, so I have access to a lot of good makeup. There are just three basic makeup products I need in my life—mascara, lipstick, and powder. My eyebrows are out of control, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I start doing some work on my YouTube channel.

12:30 p.m.

Today is my first day filming our ET Canada Live series at home! It’s a daily digital series, on ET Canada‘s Youtube and Facebook platforms. It’s so much fun to do because I love doing live TV. We talk about the top headlines of the day and people can tell us what they think, and we do interviews using Skype or Zoom.

1 p.m.

Before I started isolation, I was teaching myself how to do fasting during the day. I got IBS about two years ago and fasting really did help with the stomach problems. It keeps my stomach from bloating and getting hard.

I’m trying to stick to fasting, but it’s not working as well at home because I’ll start snacking in the middle of it! So, lunch is that broth, it’s really heavy so it’s really great. But by 1 p.m. I’m having cookies and coffee! In isolation, I’ve been making everything and anything. I’ve been inspired to cook again and let me tell you—I’m eating a lot of food right now. We snack so much. My daughter made chocolate cake with her own icing now. The other day I made cornbread because we had Mexican food. All these snacks that I just pick at when I’m not even hungry! It’s so not me.

I interview Drew and Linda Scott over Skype. (Drew’s one of the Property Brothers.) He and his brother Scott are in the middle of releasing a new show called Celebrity IOU. It’s great to talk to Drew and Linda. We talk about what they’re doing in isolation. They take on my #FitnessTuesday challenges, which is so much fun to watch them do it! It’s good to hear they’re doing well, and we’re all working on the same thing. We just want to continue life the way we know but at the same time stay calm and be together.

I prep for future interviews. Doing interviews is my passion. I don’t even call it “interviews”—I call it chatting with people. When I sit down with someone, I always think of them as my best friend for the next four minutes. I do research on my own. I spend two to three hours getting to know this person in so many different ways. When you do an interview, they may say something that can take you to a different conversation, and you want to be ready to go there.

6:30 p.m.

For dinner, I’m making biryani–it’s a chicken and rice dish, infused. You have to put it in layers, and flavouring in between and you have to grill some onion—I don’t know what I’m doing! It took me almost four years to perfect it, so I only make it on special occasions—or in isolation.

Sometimes dinner’s just sandwiches. One night was just cereal. You have those moments.

After I cook dinner, we sit down at the dinner table, and no one is allowed to touch their phone. Its’ very important that we all sit together, and we have a conversation about what the girls are doing in school.

8 p.m.

We clean up the kitchen and plop down together on the couch. We play a game called Phase Ten and watch TV. They’re really hooked on Friends right now, so we watch it with them. We’re going through all the old school shows with our kids. We’re thinking about Saved by the Bell or The Wonder Years next.

11 p.m.

I wash my face, put my creams on and go to bed. But last night I went to sleep with my makeup on. And two nights ago, too. I’ve been off of my nighttime ritual. I should get back on it.

What I’m realizing now is that the amount of time I wasn’t able to spend with my family before quarantine. Now that I am, it’s become very precious to me, to be able to be there for the girls when they need me. Before, it was all that guilt that built on me when I was travelling and not being here. I feel like the older they get the more they need to speak to mom, so in that way, this time has been really great. In the last two or three weeks, I’ve spent more time with my girls than I have in a year, because I’m always on the road. I am truly grateful for the time we have. I mean, we drive each other crazy once in a while, but that’s expected. To see them grow at this age is just spectacular.

I cant wait to hug my friends, my family. I love hugging, I used to have a hashtag called #SangiSqueeze, because I squeeze people all the time! I miss the connection with people, and I hope people don’t forget to make that connection. We walk down the sidewalk now and people don’t even look at you anymore, or we cross the street to be two metres away because we have to. But I hope people don’t forget what it means to have a connection and physical contact, and I hope we can get back to that spot.

As told to Renée Reardin.