Here in Spain we’re on mandatory total lockdown – only essential services are open and the allowable reasons for leaving home are few.
Many countries are likely on their way to a similar situation, and if social media is any indicator of the general mood, there’s a lot of panic not only about the epidemic itself but also about the psychological and economic effects of being in quarantine for up to a month or more.
As someone who’s just nearing the first week of quarantine and with at least 3-4 more weeks to go, I’ve found comfort in the philosophical side of the Chinese Medicine that I practice.
Chinese Medicine is based on Daoist philosophy and has at its core the idea of balance.
Everything must be balanced: hot and cold, in and out, up and down, left and right.
Yin and Yang.
Most people have heard of Yin and Yang. But what does it mean, and how does it apply to COVID-19 quarantine?
Yang is active. It’s warm. It’s metabolic, it’s expansive.
Yin is still. It’s cool, moistening, contracting.
We live in a *very* Yang culture. Go, go, go. Work, work, work. A culture where rest and “self-care” become hashtags and trending topics because they’re something we’re striving for, not something we have built into our days.
Yin for the Western World can feel uncomfortable. It can feel “lazy”.
The number of people worrying about what they’re going to *do* all day in quarantine is indicative of the Yang habit of society.
Yet Yang can easily become overheated.
Like a car that’s running on all cylinders, the motor overheats, the fluids dry up, and eventually, the engine either explodes or grinds to a screeching halt of friction and heat.
What would you do to an engine in that state?
First, you’d turn it off. Then you’d add fluids, lubricants, oils.
These are all very yin substances. They cool, they diffuse heat, they smooth out the friction.
This is what quarantine can do for you if you’re like most people who are overheated, stressed, running on fumes.
Quarantine can do this for your head, for your body, for the earth.
No, you won’t disappear, and you won’t go crazy. You’ll just reset. You’ll cool off. You’ll look inward. You might even gain a few years of your life.
Don’t be afraid of Yin.
I encourage you to view this as a global cooling-off period, and as a very necessary and very natural part of life, something that WILL make itself present in one way or another. This is simply the form it’s chosen.
In comparison with some of the alternatives, quarantine at home isn’t so bad.