Challenges of Self-Quarantine

Now with more and more states going into lock-down the question of self-quarantine floats in all of our minds. In theory, it’s easy.

If I feel sick, I need to distance myself from everyone around me. If I travel to a previously enclosed community from the outside, I should quarantine myself for 14 days before having contact with those people. All pretty clear and logical.

But we are all humans and not perfect.

I lived at the Teaching Drum Outdoor School, a somewhat enclosed community, that is hosting a yearlong program for a group of people living closely connected with nature, without any contact with the outside. In order to not pose any risk to the people in the yearlong program, there are very clear and strict quarantine guidelines. They had them long before covid-19 came along. Even for non-life-threatening diseases.

Since they took any kind of sickness very seriously, I was very cautious with any minute health-related change. That however lead me into an emotionally challenging dilemma, when I showed first symptoms of a cold.


The protocol dictated, that with even the first suspition of an illness, Level 1 of the guidelines needed to be put in place. This included keeping my distance from everyone, not touching door knobs, not taking part in the dinner ritual of sending my bowl, and also not cooking at the same time as the others and not cooking for the community.

Already those small changes triggered my inner wound of not wanting to be a burden and create additional effort on the part of the others. Also I would feel ostracized, isolated, different, put on the spot. So naturally I wanted to avoid that feeling at almost any cost.

At the same, imagining the way I would feel if I were actually sick and contracted the disease to others who were then also sick, maybe even more than I was, and the shame and embarassment that would come with this situation, I could weigh my options, and managed to do the responsible thing:


And I was supported by the community, held and could experience what it felt to still be part of the community, even when in quarantine.

Culture as Basis

This was a very important learning for me, and it showed me, how important culture is in those situations. What kind of culture do we want to live? One that punishes people for stepping up and doing the right thing of self-quarantining, by ostracizing and ignoring them and leaving them out in the cold without any support? Or do we want to build a culture where we are appreciated and recognized for our responsible actions? Where there is a service – maybe even funded and supported by our government – that helps out those most in need of support in these trying times?

What is it that you need most right now? Where do you need support?

It shouldn’t create a feeling of shame to state your needs and ask for help. This time, your life or your sanity might be at stake!

And also it’s not about us showing how well we can handle everything on our own. That’s not a virtue! It’s simply the ego being afraid to show that we are human.


We are social animals, and even if the only truly preventative measure is social distancing, we can still find a way to have all our needs met. And especially in extraordinary situations, it’s important not to skimp on the quality of our lives.

“Z’tod gfircht is a gsturbn” is an Austrian saying that sums it up nicely: “to be deadly afraid is also deadly”. So let’s find a good balance, where in every situation – no matter what level of self- or forced quarantine we’re in, we can still make ourselves comfortable, and find the joy in the moment.

How are you dealing with hard topics? Can you start a conversation about shameful issues in your circle? If you need support, how to start, you can contact me at

Challenges of Self-Quarantine
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