Rest. Relax. Allow yourself to do nothing, and allow yourself to be okay with it. There are quarantine expectations that many seem to have put on themselves. It’s as though because we are home, we feel as though there is pressure to do something more. It is not easy, and it’s been a massive shift for people to become accustomed to as the “new normal.” Some are working from home, many are doing so while now also up keeping their houses, cooking several meals a day, raising and now teaching their children. While many people are not working, are working decreased, often less structured hours, that we SHOULD be doing all the projects and tasks that we have been putting off, avoiding, or simply have been too busy to get too. There are even people preaching to others to stop being lazy, to do something with their time, and telling others to start a new hobby. The truth of the matter, is that there is no right or wrong way to quarantine – meaning that you can do as much or as little as you WANT to do while staying home, safe, while we muster through this pandemic together.
We so often work hard, and try to keep up by playing harder, and eventually burn out. Essentially, we hustle to the point of exhaustion until we have nothing left to give. A whole new wave and level of being exhausted, and burnout are being caused during this quarantine. Burnout isn’t just working to many hours, pushing our limits to get to the happy hour, spin class, and complete all your errands in a 24 hour period. Right now, many are experiencing quarantine fatigue, which partly comes from decisions we are making while in quarantine. No matter where we look, we are inundated with information. The media is sharing frightening information, it’s non-stop on all media platforms, including social media. We have no control over the information, how it’s distributed, the virus, or how it decides to run it’s course. We also have no control over when we can resume a more “normal” routine and life. Discussions about what we should be or could be doing with our time.
Here’s the thing, we are all trying to exist and get by in this new world we are living in. There is no right or wrong way to do it, and no right or wrong way to feel about what’s going on in the world. People posting about day drinking like it’s a party, showing off their latest DIY project, home projects, and other “positive” activities they are doing to fill their time, and urging the rest of us that we need to utilize this time. The pressure to make smart choices for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities is real. It’s expected that at some point we will all feel exhaustion and some level of anxiety due to the crisis. For many, coping mechanisms have been, for the meantime, diminished. Going to the gym, to an art class, a movie, meeting friends for coffee, temporarily, not an option. We are all trying to learn new ways to cope and manage this new reality. It’s going to be individualized, each one of us is going to cope and manage through this time in a different way. To avoid some of the burnout, stress, and anxiety, focus on the coping mechanisms you do have, and have access too. Whatever activity you are participating in, shouldn’t feel hard, dreaded, and exhausting. You are not a failure if you do nothing other than stay home during quarantine. You are not a failure if you don’t start a blog, finish a book, or learn something new.
Expectations need to be realistic right now, and lower than what we may expect of ourselves pre-quarantine and COVID. Don’t add stress onto yourself during these uncertain times. It’s completely and utterly unrealistic and unhelpful to believe that any of us can perform above and beyond right now. No matter how much time we may or may not have at home. We are all experiencing this shift in our lives, learning to manage, cope, and navigate it day to day. Be mindful, pay attention to your sanity, your emotional and mental wellbeing. Put yourself first, and don’t let the progress, or lack of progress on a project affect you. You are exactly where you need to be, and this too shall pass.
Each day of quarantine that comes, brings us that much closer to life out of quarantine. Make smart decisions, listen to your body, set lower expectations, and allow yourself the time to rest, recover, and process everything you are currently experiencing and feeling. Staying home, social distancing, that in itself is doing something, and it’s the best thing we can all be doing for a brighter, healthier future.