Suffering quarantine envy? Area therapist says it’s perfectly normal

Are you suffering from Quarantine Envy?

If you’re an essential worker, you may have found yourself feeling a little jealous seeing friends and family enjoying time together or getting projects done during quarantine while you’re busy working.

That feeling is perfectly normal, according to D.C.-area therapist Esther Boykin, CEO of Group Therapy Associates.

“I think if you are an essential worker, it’s hard to hard to watch other people cleaning out their closets or leaning how to make sourdough bread and not feel a twinge of envy or resentment,” Boykin said.

She said for many they are feeling, on some level, they may not be experiencing the pandemic like they’re supposed to.

“We have a drive or desire to make sure we are ‘doing it right.’ Am I having this pandemic experience right?” she said. “Whatever experience you’re having — ‘are my feelings valid?’ is a question for everybody whether they’re conscious of it or not.”

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The answer, according to Boykin, is yes. Your feelings, no matter what they are, are valid. But, she said, you need to come to terms with them.

“To simply acknowledge that while part of me logically knows that person, whose got all this free time to bake bread and hang out with their kid, may very well also be struggling financially because they’re not working,” She said, “And, its OK that part of me is also envious and jealous of that down time because I’m tired and I feel overworked.”

She also said it’s important to realize we are going through an ongoing traumatic event. This traumatic event is not like a car accident or a fire, where it happens, then is over and you can rebuild. We’re still in the middle of this one. It’s still unfolding and chronic uncertainty is frightening.

“Our brains really like to explain things and so when we’re constantly feeling anxious and uncertain and trying to navigate something that’s completely unfamiliar, we look for a way to make sense of it and sometimes that means either blaming other people, whether that’s directly blaming somebody or through kind of jealousy of their experience or blaming ourselves and often times we do a little bit of both,” she said.

She said the best thing we can do to deal with it is to remember to be more compassionate with ourselves and also with other people as we all move through this time together.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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