You might say expectations to what we’re supposed to achieve during self-isolation are one of the least worrying things about coronavirus. But they nonetheless have the power to tear down our mental health.
Social media is currently overrun with ways to make your quarantine fulfilling. Many posts push the idea that if you don’t do anything valuable with all the time you have on your hands, you’re just wasting it. This ranges from things like how fit we’re going to be when we get out of quarantine to how many new skills we should have learned once this abnormal time is (hopefully) over. If you don’t come out of quarantine with a fitter body, a new skill or anything else to brag about, you’ve failed quarantine, by the looks of it.
For some people, yes, quarantine might be a great opportunity. For some, it’s easy to make the best out of this situation. If you are able to keep up with your schoolwork, learn new skills, get fresh air (while keeping yourself and others safe, of course) and work out multiple times a week, then well done. Really, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re not, then that’s fine too.
How much we worry about the situation we’re in differs from person to person. How we deal with being isolated from our friends and/or family differs too. For some, it’s taking a massive toll just having to stay inside for an extended period of time. We’re all different, and for many, it’s a struggle to just not spend the whole day in bed and to actually get dressed.
What is normal?
We have been told to keep life as normal as possible. But how can we when there’s absolutely nothing normal about this? It’s easy to put life away and let our worries consume us. I personally think it’s important to let yourself disconnect from what’s going on. It’s easy to let it become a part of you, to get obsessed with the number of infections and the number of deaths. For me, at least, that’s not going to do me any favours. I’m following the guidelines from the government and checking in on the news from time to time. However, there are no benefits to me being dragged down by the numbers. Maybe you too could benefit from it if you currently feel the numbers increasing your stress levels.
If surviving right now is all you can do, that’s okay. Or if you have one hobby you enjoy to get you through this and that’s all you do, that’s fine. If you need a quick walk outside to keep your mental health in place, fantastic. Quarantine isn’t a time for us to put more pressure on ourselves or each other. It is anything but a productivity competition. This situation is uncertain and stressful enough as it is. If you think someone is struggling, reach out to them. Let them know they’re doing okay. If you’re in a country where you’re allowed to take walks outside with other people, maybe offer to go for a walk together.
Quarantine will be over one day. One day life will be closer to what we remember as normal. If all you’ve done is stay alive and do your best to keep your mental health in check, you didn’t fail quarantine. You won.