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Thoughts on Mindfulness During Quarantine

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The COVID-19 quarantine has been long and frustrating. I found myself wondering today how it has affected me. My car inspection sticker is out of date. The microwave is on the fritz and the repair man can't come to fix it. The rabbits are eating my garden. The zoom call I was counting on this afternoon couldn't transmit any audio. Oh well.

I am struck by the neutral tone in my reactions to these frustrations. I meditate every day, sure. But the tragedy of our current times eclipses the petty concerns of my life. I don't know personally anyone who has been hospitalized because of the virus. I don't know anyone who is trapped at the Mexican border seeking asylum. I don't know anyone who has been killed by police. I have it easy.

But there are lots of people for whom this isolation and lack of income has been very cruel. My job is to talk to many of them (virtually) every day. I see their bravery, their creativity, their resourcefulness.

Many cope by playing music, making art, gardening, baking, or just hanging out with family. We can tap into this open, creative part of our mind and find sanctuary from the 24-hour news cycle.

Whether it's mindfulness or some other avenue into our mind, a little sanctuary every day is absolutely essential to our mental health and well-being.

A teenage girl I talked to today has taken up embroidery. She says it relaxes her. She showed me (virtually) some of her art. There is a PacMan theme. I could see the little figures gobbling virus.

An eleven year old boy has been forbidden by his mom from spending so much time gaming so he has taken to reading - and has read all the Marvel graphic novels he can find. Don't we all crave a hero just about now?

Families have discovered cooperative games, building houses of playing cards, infinity ping pong (how many volleys without a miss?) or volleyball, corn-hole for total points in ten turns, etc.

How long has it been since you roasted marshmallows?

I hope all that read this find the love and sanctuary that you need.

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Bart Main

Bart is a child/adolescent Psychiatrist based on Cape Cod. He has dedicated his 30 year professional life to the wellbeing of children and families in Minnesota and Massachusetts.

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