The Confinement Paradox

By Annick Gendron – on in Health
March 2020. A dangerous pandemic rages. Everyone only talks about Covid-19. Every other news are now practically ignored. We're attacked by the unknown, the world is paralysed, and emergency measures have been deployed.

It all results in everyone practicing physical distancing. Schools are closed, all non-essential stores are closed, people must work from home, etc. Rarely in history has society been put on hold in this way. For the good of everyone, and for an undetermined amount of time, the rules are crystal clear: stay home and wait. That’s exactly where the paradox starts.

Except for COVID-19, one phrase we all hear daily is “I’m running out of time”. I’m running out of time to do this thing or to think about that other thing. Everyone is stuck in their daily frenzy, and don’t take time to look at their inner compass to confirm whether or not they’re still going in the right direction. We live in the moment, day by day, minute by minute. The humdrum daily routine. In fact, we try hard to keep our heads above the water every day. And now, with the current circumstances, time is offered to us on a silver platter. We’re asked to stay home and wait. As simple as that. Allow me to say that we were all dreaming about that day. Free time at will! However, it only took a few hours before articles multiplied on the Internet: How to stay busy during quarantine? What to do to kill time? Original activities to survive isolation, etc. We’re so used to be constantly busy, day in day out, that when life gives us free timea pretty scarce commodity—we all get lost. We’re on the verge of panic. “Free time, what will we do? How will we get over this? Please, someone give me something to do!” Paradox.

The Confinement Paradox
Freestocks l Unsplash

Of course, some unrealized projects we have always postponed because of a lack of time still can’t be done at the moment since almost everything is now closed. And yes, we can take advantage of all this time at home to cook, clean, learn to play an instrument, get fit, do anything we procrastinated for weeks, etc. I don’t say that this kind of activities you can find on the internet are bad, on the contrary. We surely have to stay a little busy, especially if we have a family at home, but I think we must also appreciate all that time off. This current situation, I saw it as a break that life has imposed on us. A break that we really needed as a society who takes so much things for granted.


A break to realize that:

  • The health care workers have an inestimable value. I talk about doctors and nurses, of course, but also about secretaries, janitors and cooks that all work relentlessly at the forefront. THANK YOU so much!
  • All jobs are essential. The grocery store clerks that many people were looking down on recently have now a crucial importance. If it wasn’t for them and many others, nobody would go that far, really. A huge THANK YOU to you all, especially those who continue working during the pandemic to provide for us;
  • Teachers, who do an amazing job with kids every day, are doing a lot. 180 days a year. Parents who are at home with you kids for almost a month now, stay strong! If it wasn’t for the teachers, you would only have about 165 days left;
  • Working from home, partially or totally, is doable for a lot of us. Can you imagine all the commuting that could be spared in the future, and the impact on the pollution rate, on the money and time saving, on rural areas development, etc.?
  • We appreciate our loved ones so much that we greatly miss spending time with them, even if it only have been a month or so. We definitively take for granted all the little joys of life. Losing these little joys really makes us realize the value of them;
  • Nature is so good for us! Personally, I’m a daily outdoor person, and nevertheless, during the past few weeks, I’ve never appreciated that much breathing fresh air, and feeling the warmth of spring sunshine on my skin and the soft wind on my face. A beautiful lesson, here. We can’t take our beautiful planet for granted. She’s good to us. Already, she thanks us for the recent reprieve we give her. That’s a well-deserved breath of purity we are giving her. We should learn of this experience and be better to her in the future.
The Confinement Paradox
Jakub Kriz l Unsplash

Without forgetting that:

Unfortunately, there’s still too many insensitive (not to say selfish) people among us. Yes, I’m speaking about those who don’t follow the instructions, risking to mercilessly contaminate, and of those who buy everything they can find at the grocery store to fill their bunker, ready to survive the next three years without setting foot outside. I thought I already saw all of human folly in the past, but now, it’s a whole new level of stupidity. Here it is, I said it. I had to mention it somewhere.


And while we’re here, a break to think about:

  • Your life plan: are you still going in the right direction?
  • Your happiness: are you happy in your personal life? In your professional one? What could you do to be happier?
  • Your dreams: do you still have some? What are they? How can you achieve them?

When do we actually think about all that stuff? Never. We question nothing, we only execute. The humdrum daily routine. And yet, if we do take the time to think about all of this, our heads feel like its spinning. Who knows? Maybe our life could completely change. In that case, what luck we could have the opportunity to do it!

The Confinement Paradox
Glenn Carstens-Peters l Unsplash

The bottom line is, why don’t we use this period to take time for ourselves, to create quality moments with our relatives who live with us, to be thankful, to appreciate where we are in our life, and to make some changes if needed? Simply take the time. It’s there. And above all, don’t forget: even if COVID-19 can still sound abstract for some people, it still is dangerous. It will hurt people, and not only others, some you may know, too. It’s certainly not a joke. So, we can only wish for enough strength to live through this. Help each other. Love each other. #everythingwillbeok

The Confinement Paradox
Alex Jackman l Unsplash


An article by Annick Gendron, originally published in french on

Cover photo credit: Aron Visuals | Unsplash