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A Mindful Quarantine: Being vs. Doing

| 3/26/2020 9:56:18 AM

Photo by Pixabay/Mabel Amber

As the prospect of an extended COVID-19 quarantine becomes a reality, social media feeds are now awash with ways to stay busy during the coming months of ‘social distancing’.  Take a coding course, ‘Marie Kondo’ your home, learn to play the ukulele, complete that Advanced French course with Rosetta Stone—the list seems endless. Despite the variety of activities on offer, there is one clear message driving it all: don’t miss this opportunity to do more! 

Of course the anxiety about COVID-19 is real and while “to-do lists” can be a useful distraction, they can also create stress in already stressful time. Modern life is inextricably associated with being busy, and not being ‘busy’ is seen as a sign of failure. When life is measured in Instagram updates, the pressure to show everyone that you are doing more can be intense. 

The universe has hit the PAUSE button and yet the pressure is on to DO even more. 


My husband is from the west coast of Ireland and I remember distinctly something he said to me over 20 years ago. We were newly dating and after gathering for a meal with friends on a Saturday evening I causally asked: “What did you all do today?” His response was one of exasperation as the Americans in the group had been busy listing out all the sites they had seen and things they had done. “Why do you Americans feel you have to do something all the time?” 

It’s taken some time but I think I finally have an answer. 

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