It’s been about 6 weeks now since staying at home has become a hashtag and a world way of life. When quarantine first happened, we all were in a state of denial. Then as the weeks progressed, we proceeded going through the other stages of grief such as anger, bargaining and depression. Around last week we should have started entering the acceptance phase which many are currently in right now (yes I know not everyone is in this phase, evident by the protesting… those people are stuck in a state of denial). Now that we are out of the denial phase we should be shifting our focus from distraction (a common technique used in denial) to reflection and action (an appropriate response to accepting our current environment).
As I’ve discussed before we live in a very accomplishment-based fast-paced stimulus driven world. Having to pause and reflect has been a huge lesson to learn….and many are still trying to cope with their delay in living. However, this period of time is not a delay or deterrent in our lives. It’s kind of a gift (which may be easier to see once we’ve progressed from the acceptance phase to gratitude). I am not discounting the difficulties and hardships encountered during this time. It has been a torrential period for many across the world and probably will be the subject of many history books yet to come. In spite of the pain and the hurt and the loss we are feeling (whether it be physical loss or loss of our liberties) we need to accept the conditions we are in and use the pause in time productively. It’s like when you are watching a movie and someone asks a question – you pause the movie, discuss it and continue the movie with greater understanding. Rather than deflect and distract, reflect and respond. We are out of distractions (sadly I’m pretty sure people have already gone through all of Netflix and you-tube) so let’s embrace it and use our time wisely. It’s quality, not quantity, time.
Home is where the heart is, and it’s time to find the love again for our homes and families. In this time what have you found out about your family relationships? Which boundaries have been crossed or weakened? Did you learn anything about yourself? About what do you truly miss in life and miss in yourself. Funny enough I’ve heard from many introverts that they arent fond of the social isolation and even though they can only take people in small quantities they miss them when they are completely gone. They’ve realized the importance and need of socialization and perhaps will be more balanced and social when re-entering normalcy. And extroverts whom thought that they couldn’t survive without people began to appreciate the necessity of “down time”.
How is your relationship with your partner? Once you take away the frivolous, the titles, the distractions, do you harmonize with your partner? I’ve heard divorce is on the rise during quarantine and I don’t think it’s due to the stress of social isolation. It’s more that once distractions were removed couples were faced with the harsh reality that their relationship was based more on convenience than quality. On the other end of the spectrum relationships may have deepened, providing assurance that the relationship is harmonious and any fear about it was due to the fear of commitment.
How do you feel about your job? Do you miss it or miss working? Is it the right job for you? If not, create the plans now to set yourself on the right career path that you can activate when the job market starts up.
How is your mood? How did you deal originally with your new environment? Once distractions were removed I think more people discovered they may have had a subclinical level of anxiety or depression which they previously ignored, then was intensified during lockdown and brought to the surface. Also those with pre-exisiting mood disorders may have learned they were more resilient than they thought.
Use the rest of your time to ask yourself these difficult questions and accept the answers you receive. Then use this honest information to plan how you are going to better yourself and improve your health. If you learned that you stress eat, aim to work on incorporating a healthier diet. If you learned that you are addicted to the blue screen, unplug. If you learned you have communication issues, have an honest conversation and ask what they need from you to feel heard. If you learned you haven’t properly saved for the future, create a financial plan to address these issues. In times of stress and absence of distractions it becomes clear what we are lacking and what we need to do…. we just need to enact the solution and also ask for help if we need it (you can’t be everything to everyone…. because then you are nothing to yourself).
So your task going into this next week of quarantine – in what aspect of your life do your weaknesses lie and how will you strengthen them? And if you need help, there are many people out there to assist you (if it’s health related, an ND or MD; financial a financial planner; mental-emotional a psychologist or psychotherapist; exercise a physiotherapist or trainer; and so on and so on).
Wishing you all a quality week in quarantine. Remember…..We are all in this together.