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May 3, 2020

Moving Through the Quarantine Doldrums: Embracing Your Inner Sloth 

Today was the first day in a long time that I wore pants with a waistband. It was a little nerve-wracking, wrapped up with the self-judgment of my expanded waistline. With the novelty of sheltering in place long gone, the reality of life as we know it has sunk in. Am I ever going to feel good again? 


Extreme emotional rollercoasters are the expected norm now. One day everything seems ok. I’m in a routine, then BAM, I’m on the couch staring at the walls being smothered by the biggest lack of motivation ever, crying as I stare at the carefree squirrels hanging out with their squirrel friends. By now, most people have heard some semblance of the things you are supposed to do to help with depression and the concept of being stuck at home: i.e. move your body, eat healthy, get outside, meditate, stretch, connect with your friends virtually, start a craft, learn a new skill, and so on. 


These are all well and good, but what about the already depressed and downtrodden who are struggling to do anything? What’s not being talked about are the people who have hit such a point of low that it takes every ounce of imaginable effort and energy just to move from the couch to the kitchen to eat yet another sugary snack. Then, a little more energy to silently judge yourself. Sometimes there is nothing left in the motivational tank to do the things that you KNOW will make you feel better. To make matters worse, there are endless posts on social media of people sharing all of the wonderful meals they are cooking, or how creative they have been during their time. For some this does not create a sense of inspiration, but only increases the sense of shame.


I am here to tell you that it’s ok to be in your depression and embrace the sloth-like behavior. Do you want to be here forever? Of course not. But judging yourself for it only sends you down the deeper rabbit hole. If you can do one thing, it would be to let go of even the tiniest ounce of shame and negative self-talk. There are no “shoulds” right now. Yes, it may appear that some people are crushing their quarantine life, but really, how different is that from social media during “normal” time? Look at my cute family and how happy we are on vacation. Ooo, here we are making a family TikTok because we are all getting along in perfect harmony (insert barf emoji). 


What if your goal for today was just to accomplish one thing? And that one thing was as simple as recognizing that this time sucks and you are doing your best, which may look different during any given second of the day or sleepless night. What if your celebration was to give yourself a free-pass and moment of grace? Be in your depression, but with compassion, because there is nothing easy about this right now. I see you, and I’m here with you. And maybe a little recognition can go a long way. 

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Julie Ratinoff  |  Contribution: 595