When it turned out that we all must stay at home if possible due to the coronavirus epidemic, many people felt stressed. How will it be now? What about work? What about the economy? What about the kids? What about the world? Is it possible to function at all?
Of course, there were also concerns about the virus within me. I was worried about my loved ones. I took care to follow all precautions. At the same time, next to fear, I noticed a strange peace.
Excess baggage of expectations
The thought of being able to stay home and give up almost all my activities was a bit exotic, but also soothing. Why? Because I really won't have to run from point A to point B anymore to get to my classes or skip meetings when I prefer to lie at home and do absolutely nothing?
That is why I feel anxious when I hear information about the various possibilities of returning to school, kindergarten or work. And it's a much bigger fear than the one I had when it was announced that "the world is closed." When I hear that there may be more and more people in stores or churches, I start to think frantically about what will happen next?
I don't want to go back, and it's not a question of my convenience. It's just that all my life I have been subconsciously dreaming about a time when I would be released from most of the obligations, requirements or activities that this crazy world imposed on me.
Now, I finally breathed a breath, thought about myself, and found that my life in quarantine was the life I had always dreamed of: no expectations of myself or others.
I got used to the tutorials and virtual meetings at my work that I do not attend to; the limited contact with people and the fact that I am alone. When I was forced to give up meeting friends, cinema, theatre or going to a restaurant, I found out that I prefer to be at home and that there is nothing wrong with that.
Finally, I shed some unpleasant excess expectations that I was putting on my back. And I am petrified that these expectations will fall on me again. The spectre of pressure that I have to fulfil myself is back again. It applies to all spheres of my life: professional, personal, health, spiritual and mental.
I fear the thought that I will not live up to the expectations not only of myself but also of others. Anyway, I don't know which ones are mine and which are others. I am terrified of going to church and then having tea with my friends. I would still prefer to stay at home and feel the social consent that I am doing the right thing.
People who are not there
Quarantine is a real paradise for introverts. I feel dread when I think to myself that I will have to meet people again. And it's not that I don't miss normal functioning and meeting my loved ones. But it happens quite often that the longing is obscured by the anxiety that I will get tired again with people who are just around.
In the eyes of my imagination, I can see how they tire me with their mere presence, and I will not have time to rest again, because you have to go for meetings every second day, and twice a month for some specialised conferences. There will be activities that I would like to go to and an exhibition that I will have to see.
However, if I decide to stay at home, I will feel guilty that everyone is somewhere and I'm nowhere. It will turn out in a moment that during the epidemic, most of my friends did internships, read all overdue books, developed their interests and learned new skills, while I sat on my garden, looked at the trees and listened to the birds.
I don't want to say here that going back to normal is wrong, of course, it is inevitable, and it will happen sooner or later. I just wanted to point out that in such a situation, fear is justified, and each of us will probably experience it a bit differently.
But maybe it's an excellent opportunity to keep the quarantine vibe still and try to throw off unnecessary expectations? And most of all, to be understanding. Perhaps this approach will, at least to a small extent, eliminate the post-epidemic trauma of all returns.
Share your fears - let us get together and build the world again.
KJB International Aid Consulting & Coaching
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