By: Dareen Shehab
We are bored sick of quarantine, pun totally intended.
As days pass us by we find ourselves in a constant battle with so much more than just the covid-19 virus. Yes, we are scared of being infected. We are scared of transmitting the virus to our immune-compromised loved ones. But we are also sick and tired of being in the company of the familiar faces of family members all day long, every day.
This was pointed out to me by a student very recently. She complained to me about the unbearable atmosphere she is enduring at home. Her family members were critical of her every action, and she felt overly scrutinized. What she described and is currently going through is nothing out of the ordinary. When forced to be in the company of a certain number of individuals for extended periods of time, we start noticing the finer details of their behaviors, mannerisms, ticks and idiosyncrasies.
Imagine yourself stuck in a room all by yourself, and facing you is a beautiful painting. Initially you will appreciate the overall beauty of the painting. As the hours pass by, you will start noticing the fine print and all the little details that irritate you. You will notice that splash of color that is not quite proportional with the color closest to it. You will notice that “not so straight” line of horizon in the painting. Little by little, you will lose your appreciation of the artwork. Your mind will zoom in on the irregularities. Your brain will look for the patterns within, as it is naturally programmed to do, and it will inherently reject any break in the patterns it tries to find.
That, ladies and gentlemen is human nature. That is what happens to us when we are suddenly forced to be in constant close proximity to anyone, even those we love most. In the aftermath of a lifestyle that keeps us too busy to notice the intimate details of those whose lives we share, we suddenly find ourselves overwhelmed with these previously overlooked ticks, mannerisms and habits. The formerly unseen becomes glaringly obvious, and more annoying for it. We get easily annoyed, offended, and even angered.
Now that we have diagnosed the malady, it is time for the remedy. Despite this being the result of the nature behind our current situation at the home front, it does not make it an incurable malady. The remedy is simple. Step away from the details and look at the overall picture. Take your eyes off that crooked line and start appreciating the overall painting.
Choose one family member a day and find something positive to compliment them for. Say something positive to break the cycle of negative actions and emotions you are stuck in. Look for actions that you are grateful to and say “thank you.” Be kind. Do an act of kindness. You will find that kindness goes a long way. It breeds goodwill and generates more positive feelings than you could ever imagine.
Give a compliment.
Stay safe and have a love filled quarantine
Dareen Shehab is an MYP English teacher at Al-Hayat International School. A Cambridge certified ESL instructor, she is also an active food blogger and recipe developer.