So, we are now weeks and weeks into the Covid-19 (I had to add this word to my dictionary…weird) quarantine, and some very clear patterns have emerged…
- People are missing their people. People want to see their friends and family (that they don’t live with) in REAL life. People are missing that human connection and that human contact. And unfortunately, there is no really good solution other than waiting it out or breaking quarantine. Skype/Facetime/Zoom calls seem more effective than traditional phone calls, so if nothing else, this quarantine is most definitely a time to be grateful for technology and I simply cannot imagine what things would look like right now without the internet.
- People are missing their schedules. Sure, maybe not the 6am alarm clock, but many people are struggling to get things done because they don’t HAVE to get things done. Wandering aimlessly about the house (and often to the fridge) has become very commonplace. I mean, how many times can you organize your silverware drawer?
- People’s healthy eating habits are missing. Whether folks are eating out of boredom or comfort or to get a bump of dopamine and serotonin, crappy food simply seems to multiple on it’s own in many a pantry or cupboard. Plus, add in the fact that the only frozen veggies that seem readily available are ones that NOBODY is going to eat anyway, processed food just seems to makes sense. And many people are staying away from fresh stuff because they know it will just go bad since everyone’s filling up on junk anyway.
- People’s motivation is missing. I’ve talked to more people that had tons of amazing and creative ideas of super awesome things to do while on quarantine. You know, the things that they have “always wanted to do but never had the time.” (Cricut anyone?) Or how they would use this time to work out and get in shape. But these things just aren’t happening. People are sleeping more, watching Netflix more, playing Animal Crossing more, and doing nothing constructive more. At first it seemed relaxing, fun even. But now it seems boring. Yet, the cycle is there, it is sticky, and people are stuck. And are feeling badly about it.
- People are NOT missing their work clothes. It’s probably safe to say that many (most?) people have been changing out of pjs only to shower and then put on clean pjs. It’s comfy but it’s also kind of weird. Going back to a more professional attire may end up being a challenge for many people. Sweat pants are just so, so comfy.
Now, this stuff doesn’t hold true for everyone. But most people can identify and relate to at least some of them.
As the administrations begin to lift restrictions, it will be interesting to see what happens. Many people will still be afraid to go out and will continue to worry about getting themselves and/or loved ones sick. Because face it, the virus isn’t gone. It hasn’t taken a break. Yes, we have “flattened the curve” by staying away from one another but we haven’t eliminated Covid or any other infectious disease as a result of shutting down the world.
Many people will feel very anxious about re-engaging with others. Talking to coworkers virtually is one thing, but having to actually go to meetings in person may create a bunch of uncomfortable feelings. Social anxiety is a real thing and it may become even more of a thing in the coming weeks and months.
We are really in a no-win situation. We continue to quarantine, and people lose their minds. We reopen the world and people get sick. The whole thing just really sucks and everyone is going to need to find their own balance between living life and staying healthy and safe. And this will look different for everyone.
The really big learning opportunity from all of this though, may likely be the fact that it is essential to find healthy coping strategies that involve nobody but yourself. Sure you might get a monthly massage as a self-care tactic. But massage places may not always be open. Foam rolling is always there. Sure you might like to go out to lunch with your friend and use that time to vent. But restaurants may not always be open. A quiet meal with a book (or Animal Crossing) is always there. So is journaling. Sure you might like hit the gym multiple times a week to work off some of that stress. But gyms may not always be open. A set of lunges, squats, and pushups are always there.
We are all going to come back into the world, a world that will never look the same. It is important to honor that change and even grieve the loss. It is important to find some balance and move through your life in a way where you feel like you are still living while being safe. It is important to know that you are the only one responsible for your actions and you are the only one that will always be there to provide coping strategies and self-care. And it is important to remember that you, yes YOU deserve to live, to feel safe, and to feel cared for. And it is most important to remember that you, yes YOU have the power to do all of these things for yourself.