How has quarantine changed our relationships?

Cherry Chan
25 January, 2021

The word ‘COVID-19’ is inevitable when it comes to talking about 2020. Since the pandemic has taken the world by storm, not only has it put a halt to the whole world, but it has also put a halt to our own personal lives. There are so many things in life that we’re so used to doing, but now even the simplest of things like being in close physical contact or going to for a meal seem almost impossible to do nowadays with all of the endless safety restrictions.

Being named as the 2020 Word of the Year by the Cambridge Dictionary, the word ‘quarantine’ is one that you can’t really go anywhere without hearing. Although spending time alone to recharge yourself is good every once in a while, with COVID-19 being the thing that’s stopping us from going outside and doing the things we want to do, staying inside can suddenly seem a bit monotonous.

Whether if you were quarantining after returning to Hong Kong, distancing yourself after coming into contact with someone who was COVID-19 positive, or just staying home due to government restrictions; you can’t deny that staying inside for an extended period of time started to become routine to our lives.

Tough (and unprecedented) times?

Some of us quarantined in designated hotels, others may have stayed in their homes. However, while quarantining and getting to stay inside may have been a breeze for some of us, for some others it could have been suffocating.

Photo credits : freepik

On one hand, quarantining alone literally means you have to be apart from your loved ones. Whether your relationships were between your friends, family or your significant other, spending a prolonged period away from your loved ones can be tough. Regardless if you live close or far to your loved ones, not being able to visit them whenever you want can seem torturous to some of us.

Physical contact is another thing that we’ve had to learn to sacrifice for our own health and safety. We don’t even have to talk about more intimate things, but things as simple like shaking hands with someone have to be replaced with versions where minimal contact is made, so how can you expect to show your affection through physical contact when health and safety are on the line?

Photo credits: freepik

Then on the other hand, there are some of us who quarantined together with others. Whoever you chose to quarantine with, eventually when you spend so much time with them, we can’t deny that it can be a bit repetitive. For those of us who prefer to spend their quality time alone, having to be in a space with people constantly being around can get a bit annoying.

Quarantining can even reach relationships with things that aren’t physical, for example, your relationship with work could be thrown off since some of us have to work from home or more unfortunately, haven’t been able to work at all. It can be hard to do work from home if you’re not surrounded by your co-workers and not in your usual environment, making it hard to adapt to this new lifestyle for an indefinite period of time.

But it’s not all that bad…

While quarantining can be tough on us and interacting with the rest of the world, it doesn’t mean that we can’t work around it in order to maintain our relationships with others.

Like the quote goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. While quarantining means that you’re physically apart from your loved ones, it doesn’t mean that you’re emotionally apart from them. While it’s not the same as seeing them face to face, checking in on them through social media or a daily text can help you stay connected with the rest of the world.

Photo credits: freepik

Organising Zoom calls have also been a popular way for us to stay connected to the rest of the world. Even if it’s not a platonic or romantic relationship, Zoom calls have been helpful for many of us in the workplace and helping us stay connected to our co-workers, so we can all be on the same page as we work from home.

Photo credits: freepik

Even if quarantining does limit your physical interactions with people and the rest of the world, it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn to adapt to this pandemic and overcome it with alternatives. Instead of thinking about all the negatives that distancing can do for your relationships, we should learn to value the time that we have with our loved ones right now and to not take the time that we used to have for granted.

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