I keep calling it the Quarantine Cave. I’ve retreated into my house and am waiting till COVID19 passes to “emerge” again. Like a bear hibernating for winter who is waiting for spring. Fortunately, I’m not in the medical field and I’m apparently non-essential (doesn’t that make you feel great…what a term!) I don’t really have a reason I have to leave my house. I’ve decided the single best way I can support our medical workers and those “essential works” who have to leave their homes, is for me to stay home. There’s really no reason for me to be out unnecessarily if I don’t need to be.
So here I am two months into quarantine, and I have completely lost track of time. Days, hours and weeks all meld together. I had a virtual event this week that I actually got showered, dressed, and even did make up for. Just as I was about to go “live” someone from y team texted me asking, “Isn’t the event on Wednesday?” I quickly responded, “Yes!” only to realized it was Tuesday. I was a full 24 hours early. That’s how disorienting the cave is.
For many of us this is an opportunity to hibernate. We are hibernating at home, each in our own attempt to help “flatten the curve.” To keep ourselves healthy and out of the hospitals that are already overcrowded and running low on PPE (personal protection equipment) for their staff. So, we do our part, stay home, and hibernate. The hard part is, unlike a bear that knows when spring comes, we don’t know how long this hibernation will last.
If you know me at all you will know I love words. I especially love the root meaning of words, and the energy behind its original intent. (I was the President of my high school’s Latin Club after all!) So, I looked up what the word “hibernate” actually means, and it’s really interesting! It’s from the 1600s and it means, “an action of passing winter”. I find this interesting for a couple of reasons. One, because it’s an action. Hibernating isn’t something that’s passive, it’s something that’s active. Plus, just like the idea of passing the winter, we’re hibernating to pass Coronavirus. We are all trying to pass this season.
I have found myself thinking a few times, “Can we just wake up and have it be Christmas? I would like to just pass this season.” What’s interesting about hibernation though, is that it’s an active passing. We actually have a choice of what we’re going to do during this season of passing when we’re quarantined. We can be active in quarantine.
For the sake of true transparency, there have been days where I have been on point with this and then there have been just as many days where I feel think, “It’s four o’clock in the afternoon? Where did this day go?” because I’m still in my pajamas.
I’m not going to sit here on a soapbox and say, “I’ve got this” and “I’m doing this great”. Instead, it’s to share how I am processing this quarantine cave in a hope it will help you process it to. I find myself thinking, “Okay Tara, who do you want to be when you leave this cave? How do you want to actively pass this season?”
The phrase that keeps coming to my mind is, “difficult times create determined people”. We can choose to be determined this season or not. We can choose to be watching the news constantly, stressed out, lowering our immune system or not. We can choose not.
Let’s be clear. This will be a mental challenge. As a global community we are more connected now than ever before. Being this connected (especially on social media) means that our newsfeeds may become flooded with posts and pictures from friends (and friends of friends) who are in the hospital, people who unfortunately will be fighting for their lives in ICU.
I remember when my daughter was in the hospital going through cancer and I felt like every family I knew was losing their child. I remember finally asking one of our doctors in fear, “Is there anyone who survives?!?” I confided how painful it was for me to watch my child suffer through cancer treatment. If she wasn’t going to survive I didn’t want to continue treatment. It seemed like every child I met was dying. If she was going to live it would be worth the horrific treatment. If she wasn’t, well, it wasn’t worth it was it?
Her doctor quietly said back to me, “We don’t know. That’s the problem. We just don’t know.”
So, I chose to become very “mentally cautious”. My heart was broken for friends who were losing their children. However, I had to put blinders on, I couldn’t let fear overtake me. I had to stay focused on my child. Her victory.
Ten years later, I’m finding myself in that same position now. I can log into Facebook and see post after post of who’s in the hospital, who’s got family in the hospital, and who’s lost family members. Yet, each post reminds me, “Tara, you’ve got to put your blinders on. You can feel sadness for these families, and sympathetic towards their pain, but you can’t let fear overtake you.”
Our world is small and with technology we are all interconnected. It can feel like everyone is vulnerable, everyone is sick and everyone dying. Yet that’s just not true. The medical stats show us that most people will survive. Most people will have mild symptoms. Most people will be ok. Even some of those in critical care will still survive. That is the hope. That is the light we need to stay focused on. Because what you focus on gets bigger, so I’m keeping my blinders on.
During this season of hibernation, I need to be extra cautious as to what I’m feeding my mind. I also need to decide how I want to actively hibernate, and so I’ll share with you, five different ways I’m choosing to actively hibernate and what you can choose too.
Check back soon (or subscribe!) because we’ll start with #1 – The Emotional Cave ….