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The Quarantine Blues

By: Nicole Nourian
     The past couple of months have been filled with fear and anxiety. With the vast amount of hyper vigilance on our physical health right now, our brains are in panic mode. What was once a seasonal allergy, every day sneeze, or just plain tiredness, has now been carved into what potentially may or may not be what we all fear most, Covid-19. We’ve become addicted to maintaining our physical state so much that perhaps the most important aspect of all is being denied, our mental health. So what’s with the social contagion of anxiety? Well, for many people, the lack of control over one’s life, others, or the world in general is coming to light.
     Anxiety is driven by fear of the unknown, and the current pandemic goes hand and hand. The truth is, we don’t, and never have full certainty of anything. We don’t know what will happen later in the day, tomorrow, or even next week, coronavirus or not. The only reason we may be noticing just how much uncertainty there is in our day to day lives, is because many of us now lack a routine. Our routine was what made us feel stable. We knew that on Monday-Friday we’d be at work or school. We knew that on the weekends, we’d be seeing family or friends. We knew which days we planned to go the gym, and which days we planned to skip it and give ourselves a break. This new lack of stability has convinced us that we were once in control of what would happen in the very next moment, and now we’re not. In addition to this, the amount of time that we now have has forced us to ask the question many of us have been avoiding…are we happy? I mean, are we really happy? Without the luxurious trips, without the Saturday night outings, without the new clothes we want to show off, without the fancy food we can buy, without our Instagram feeds having content…are we really happy with just ourselves? This may be the first time we have to ask ourselves this.
     The main reason why so many people are suffering mentally during this pandemic is because they have the time to. When we’re not living our usual fast paced lives, we’re forced to deal with things that we may have been putting off. We have come face to face with the parts of ourselves that we try to avoid. We notice our flaws, our mistakes, and our imperfect nature. Things that were always there, but easy to push aside with many distractions. We have more time to focus on and overthink certain events, others’ actions, and even our own lives. Many of us have also complained that there’s just “Nothing to look forward to.” But is this really true? Or have we just adjusted our expectations to higher points of what we deem as worthy of being excited about?
     For many, quarantine may bring up feelings of loneliness, despair, and anguish. So, what’re we supposed to do? We have to readjust our routine along with our expectations. We have the time now, more than ever, to come out of this better than we were coming into it. It’s true that this time is giving us more opportunity to dwell on things that may not bring us happiness, but the silver lining is that we can use this time to focus on what does. Is there a skill you want to learn? A new skin routine you want to try? A new friendship you want to gain? A new habit you want to implement? Now is the time. And don’t tell yourself there’s “Nothing to look forward to.” You have plenty to look forward to, if you just adjust your expectations. You can look forward to drinking your favorite latte in the morning; You can look forward to the weather this week; You can look forward to wearing your favorite workout gear and going on a walk; You can look forward to spending quality time with your family and friends, the ones you actually want to be around; and you can look forward to opening your eyes in the morning because you are alive. To deny the beauty of that…Well, you’d be your own worst enemy.
     If you can take anything from this pandemic, it should be the notion of being grateful for the things you once took for granted. I mean, how many times did you tell yourself you are so tired of the things you only wish you could do now. In life, we’re always wanting to go the next step. We’ve become so obsessed with consuming everything in our sight, that we never get the chance to enjoy the moment. We’re hardly present anymore. For the first time in what seems like forever, we’re granted the chance to live every moment in the present. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling down during these past couple of months. Every emotion you’re experiencing and will experience is valid and holds truth. What’s important to recognize is that you have the capability of making the best of this time that you possibly can. Work on yourself. Find out what really matters to you, and what doesn’t. Learn who you are aside from all the material things you once affiliated with your life. Know that everyday will be okay…and if it’s not, there’s always tomorrow.
Here are a few affirmations you can say to yourself daily to get you through this time…
I believe in myself and my abilities.
I am capable of creating a safe environment for myself and others.
I am strong, independent, and determined.
I can achieve my goals no matter the circumstance.
I trust myself and the universe, even in times of crisis.
I will remain centered throughout this challenge.
I am loved and cherished.
I may not be able to control what happens to me, but I can control how I respond to it.
I know that everything is temporary, and time will always heal.
I am safe. I am healthy. I am resilient.
Love and Light,
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