What Your Fears About Quarantine Might Be Trying to Tell You

Our new reality of social distancing is such a departure from how we typically live our lives—to work, dropping kids off, picking kids up, running errands. The thought of staying home all day, every day, for an undetermined amount of time can be tough to wrap your mind around simply because it’s such a deviation from what we consider to be ‘normal.’

And yet, there might be something deeper going on that’s triggering our anxieties about being quarantined, too. I’m willing to bet that there’s something about staying at home that triggers a deeper resistance in your mind that you may or may not be aware of.

Look, I’d never wish for a deadly global pandemic but there’s opportunity in everything. In addition to giving our climate a chance to recover and helping us remember what else is important to us aside from being productive and making money, being forced to spend time at home can help us see some places in your thinking and in your life that could benefit from some awareness and acceptance.

For instance, what scares me about the thought of being home for a few weeks with my family is being on a hamster wheel of making food, cleaning up, and nagging others to help me. If I look a little deeper at that, I see a fear of not being in control of my environment (um, welcome to planet Earth, Kate) and in feeling like a martyr (as in, ‘I’m the only one who does things around here! Waaah.’).

For me, the opportunity is to lower my bar of what constitutes a ‘clean enough’ environment, and to enroll/invite others to do their part. Things might get worse before they get better on the ‘everybody pitch in’ front, but that might be good for everyone.

Some other things you might be feeling right now, and the opportunities they present are:

  • I’ll go crazy cooped up home alone.
    Great time to challenge yourself to see the connections you do have, even though you can’t experience them in real time in the same space.
  • I’ll go crazy cooped up with my family.
    There’s an opportunity to find new ways to spend time together, and get creative about finding ways to set boundaries, too so that your together time is more fulfilling and less draining.
  • I don’t know what I’ll do for that many days.
    Sounds like it could be time to re-assess how much self-worth you’re deriving from accomplishing things. You’re not valuable simply because of how much you do; you have value just because of who you are and the unique perspective you bring. Do your best to take care of what needs taking care of, and otherwise lean in to the opportunity of having more unstructured time than you’ve had in years. There’s something cool in it that’s just waiting for you to discover it.
  • What if I run out of toilet paper? (Or food, or wine, or what have you.)
    There’s an opportunity here to get creative, even a little wily, about finding and using resources, and to develop your trust muscles around having enough, even when the cupboards are running low.
  • This was fun for a little while, but now I’m losing it.
    That is called ‘hitting the wall,’ and it is to be expected. You will make it through to the other side. You’ll probably have to sacrifice a little short-term sanity to do it, but you’ll come out more resilient on the other side.

What thoughts and/or fears did I miss? Would love to hear them in the comments below.

For more support in dealing with our current, socially distant reality, be sure to tune in to the How to Be a Better Person podcast for Happy at Home week. Each day during the week of March 23, I’ll cover one thing that can help you find your groove in our new era of staying home. It is possible! Even if (read: when) you hit the wall. Be sure to tune in, and if you know someone you think might be freaking out right about now, send them this link and invite them to listen in.

Take care. We’ll get through this, together!

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2 thoughts on “What Your Fears About Quarantine Might Be Trying to Tell You

  1. This is my every day since I work from home. My biggest fear is in going out, my hisnand who has an essential job, or if we have to go for supplies, that I will bring sickness into the home. Otherwise, like I said, I am used to being here. Now I just have more company! Kate, thanks for all you do. I hope everyone stays happy and healthy!

  2. That’s a totally rational concern, Melissa. I try to focus on minimizing rather than eliminating risk…so long as you’re doing everything within reason to slash the number of people you’re in contact with, you’re doing good. Thinking of you and yours!

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