• Daniella Alejandra

Guilt in Times of Quarantine

I've been feeling a lot of guilt.


South Africa went on a 21 day national lockdown. Meaning we can only go out to buy groceries, medicine, or go to the hospital (if you're not an essential worker). Piece of cake I thought. I've been working from home for about six months, so I was already used to being home most of the day, creating my own schedule, and effectively managing my time (or at least that's what it says on my CV).


The first few days were fine. I was able to work like normal, live life like normal. I was used to spending a few days without leaving home. But around Day 5, things started to feel rather apocalyptic. Not to mention I kept thinking I was infected and freaking out. For reference, I'd been to a visa office mid March and I was convinced there had to be some Rona in that small room of people from all over the world renewing visas in Johannesburg. I digress, but my point is that fear was starting to settle in. Was my visa going to be denied because of the virus? Was I going to get sick? Was I going to DIE?


And after fear came guilt. I kept thinking You have the privilege of being able to work from home. You have the privilege of being able to stock up on food. You have the privilege of living close to a supermarket. You have the privilege of talking to your family every day. Why are you feeling this way?


So then came the countless hours scrolling, to get a little distraction. I was not expecting all of the guilt that came after. After hours of scrolling, I felt like shit. Every other post is about the coronavirus and the posts about anything else are about being productive during this time. It started with all the workout challenges. We get it. You workout. But some of them seemed like Look how productive I'm being! Which left a bad taste in my mouth. (don't get me wrong, I love a good home workout and I'm so grateful for them in this time).


Then, the actual memes and tweets literally shaming people for not being productive during this time. I mean, what the fuck? This isn't a vacation. A break from the world at home. Nah, this is a global pandemic. And to be honest, if all you have the energy to do right now is watch Netflix, then that's totally okay. (Holla at me with those Netflix recommendations, though. I think I reached the end of it).


Of course, I have no problem writing this and helping empower y'all, but when it comes to me, I'm a monster to myself. I've been so hard on myself for not having the mental capacity to work. I sit down to write and my mind wanders all. over. the. place. I write one paragraph and then I spend an hour searching for recipes of things I can't even bake because I don't know how to bake. Then I write another paragraph and I stop to paint my nails. It's like my mind can't fathom thinking about one more thing, or it'll explode.


Then, the snacks. Oh god, the snacks. Not to mention I'm also on my period, so the cravings are real REAL. But every time I reach for food, snack or not, I question myself. Like Daniella, should you be eating this? Should you be eating right now? Why are you hungry? I've never felt actual freedom with food (something I'm working on while on my path to self-love). So, lockdown has made that even worse for me.


Anyway, all of this to say that you're not alone. If you're feeling guilty about all the things you could be doing, don't. Instead, try to change your mentality of things. Make a list of what you want to accomplish. Even if it's as small as making your bed, it will help. For a lot of us, just getting out of bed is a huge accomplishment. You're doing the best you can.


You're gonna get through this. I'm gonna get through this. And we're gonna shake what our mamas gave us once this is all over. Love you.

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