A little over a month ago, things looked very different. We could gather in groups larger than ten. There was traffic on the highways. Flying on a plane wasn’t seen as a health hazard.
Since then, life as we know it has drastically changed. The coronavirus has affected every corner of the world and every aspect of society, from hospitals, to the economy, to our daily routines. The way we live our lives looks a lot different today than it did merely weeks ago.
You may feel sad.
Sad that traditions such as prom or graduation are now cancelled. Sad that you cannot see your friends in person every day, that you cannot hang out at your favorite coffee shop. Sad that you cannot go to the gym, or to team meetings that you looked forward to.
You may feel angry.
Angry that the end of the school year was ripped from you without asking permission. Angry that events you eagerly anticipated for years cannot happen anymore. Angry that you lost your job that you were just getting the hang of. You can understand and support that it is necessary to quarantine, and you can still be mad about it.
You may feel anxious.
Anxious that you didn’t have time to plan for much of society shutting down. Anxious that these changes are out of your control, but you must respond to them. Anxious that your routine is disrupted, and that what you usually do for self-care is no longer possible.
You may feel happy.
Happy that external factors have allowed you to temporarily hit the “pause” button on some things that were causing you stress. Happy that you get to spend more time with family or friends with whom you are quarantined. Happy to catch up on relaxing, to start back on that hobby you started last break.
In addition to any of these feelings, you may feel guilty.
Guilty that you have Wi-Fi and can participate in online classes without much of a burden, but you still feel off. Guilty that you are relaxed during a world crisis. Guilty that people are dying, but you are sad that social events are cancelled.
Whatever you are feeling is okay. But there is no reason to feel guilty.
You can feel for the millions of people around the world experiencing this pandemic firsthand AND still be happy about your personal life. You can be COVID-19 negative AND still feel sad. Your life is just as important as everyone else’s, and the various ways you may be experiencing life during the pandemic are all valid.
Finally, because everyone’s quarantine experience is different, you don’t have to compare yours to others’.
You don’t need to come out of quarantine with an unofficial degree in the culinary arts, a green thumb, or rockin’ dance moves. Everyone adapts to changes differently, and there is no timeline on how long it “should” take to get used to this new normal. If the most you do is get out of bed each day, that is okay.
You are a hero no matter how much or how little you do, because you stayed home.