Have you heard the phrase “quarantine fatigue?” Have you been feeling more frustrated following the stay-at-home orders? Do you dream of being able to come and go without thinking about community contagion? Do you tire of cleaning and wearing face masks? Do you long to get a hug, see your grandchildren? If so, you might be experiencing this like so many of us.
I won’t lie. It has been a tough week. Standing in between the quarantine and the opening of things, I’ve felt overwhelmed and thoroughly sad. So when we discovered a young mama cat and her three babies under our back porch this weekend, it was a burst of much needed excitement. We had just said good bye to our only cat when my daughter moved herself and her cat out. My nest was empty both of children and cats. I was trying to not get another cat but I miss having one. So when it appeared the answer was right under our porch, we started making plans on bringing one or two of these sweet things into our home.
It was a moment of hope in the midst of a life that was full of a lot of the same. It was a bit of hope in the middle of quarantine fatigue. My spirit felt lighter and I looked forward to preparing for a kitten or two. Ah, something to look forward to!
As of today, Mama cat moved her babies from our porch and we cannot find them. My hope is gone. We can still hope for another opportunity to add a kitty or two to our home. After all, it’s kitty season. But when I think about it, do I need another animal to care for. We have two small dogs that we love. Perhaps I need to find something else to offer me hope in the midst of quarantine fatigue. Something that isn’t resting on the desires of a Mama cat.
What are you doing to get through this time of quarantine fatigue? Here are some suggestions that I have found.
- Plant things that produce fruit in days to come – I have planted a garden in several pots in the backyard. I am hopeful that my efforts now will grow into tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and cabbage. They will provide a distraction as I water them and nurture their growth.
- Stay connected – I have connected with my kids and my friends through Zoom. It’s not the same but it’s nice to see them and talk to them. We have got to know our neighbors better. The ones that moved in a year ago but we hadn’t spoke to much. We can safely talk across a fence for a little while. I work in a job where I’m surrounded by people, I miss people. Even the briefest of interactions can bring a moment of brightness to my world.
- Create beautiful things – Once again, I’ve found solace in crochet projects. A couple of cute hedgehogs, some lacy angel bookmarks and some snowflakes. Learn a new skill, paint a wall, paint a picture, write a poem, sing a song It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece or beautiful or perfect. Creation is a messy task.
But the one thing we can’t afford to do, is let our guard down. This article talks about why quarantine fatigue can lead to reckless behavior. It’s easy to forget about the danger when we are weary of staying away from others. But the threat hasn’t gone away. We need to continue to be wise about how we move forward into the world again. Wear a mask, practice social distancing, limit gatherings, wash your hands often. The new normal doesn’t have to mean isolation but it does mean clean hands, fewer hugs and diligent action to protect the at-risk in our community. We can’t stop doing the safe things just because we are tired.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give upGalatians 6:9 (NIV)
Quarantine fatigue is a real thing. It is hard. There are ways to help us get through and there is one thing we can’t afford to do. Don’t give up! Keep the faith! Find the hope! Find the joy! We are going to get through this time.
What are you doing to cope? Where do you need help?