Dear Lois, How do I stay sane when I’m confined to my house all day?


Quarantine hasn’t been easy for anyone, and everyone is crazy in their own way.

Is it normal to water your plants with your period blood? I don’t know. Is that something a crazy person does? Maybe.

This time of isolation has been brutal. Humans are meant for connection, and after all the therapy, long walks in the woods, telephone calls and Zoom meetings, I have seen something in myself that I can’t unsee: I want to be held in a safe space—physically, emotionally and spiritually.

When my safety is threatened and there is no one to hold me, I feel an enormous amount of instability at the thought of losing anything else. The pandemic is forcing me to isolate, and it taps on deeply rooted childhood insecurities, failures and loss that I have to process in the moment. I’ve seen myself through this time in some of the darkest places I have ever been, and yet I feel like one of the lucky ones who still, at the moment, has a home and food on the table. I don’t take these things for granted.

I take a type of solace when I cry, knowing that I am not the only person that’s been crying all day. I have the feeling of mourning with those who mourn, even if it’s from a distance. It also makes the laughter, love and connection all the sweeter. I laugh with those who laugh, and joy brings tears, too. Everything feels more meaningful in the fog.

I have to let this time be healing and let the solitude force me to look at problems, strategize and come up with solutions that were not accessible before. Every time I take my heart and eyes off of the healing process, I find myself surrounded by the fog and I feel hopeless.

The healing has to start in ourselves, and we are most ourselves in our homes, where we now feel trapped. Healing is also properly maintaining ourselves daily. Examining how we are living, how we relate to ourselves, roommates and family is where we need to put our focus. We need to know what brings us together, how to cooperate and aid in each other’s healing.

We need to be willing to speak into someone else’s darkness with compassion and love because it is healing for us as well. When we do this, we give ourselves access to speak into our own dark places. We push away the fog, one encouraging word and action at a time. If society reflects the people, how we live, act and treat each other and ourselves is too important to ignore.

Illustration by Lois Volta.

Illustration by Lois Volta.

I know that I act out of pain, and I am not righteous by any means. I see how this time in history has brought out the worst in me. It is hard to face that my fangs have left puncture wounds and lingering poison in the people who I love the most. I have to recognize that my pain has caused pain for others and I must be part of cleaning that up, even when I feel like I have nothing left to give.

I find myself in this place where I can see how trauma and fear have shaped my responses and I am confronted with my patterns. This is where I find a bizarre type of strength that comes from lifestyle and habit—a gift in strange wrapping.

I am exercising, cooking healthy meals, and the house is in order and clean; without these things, I would feel untethered. If after all the self-discovery I realize that I just want a safe space and to feel held, well, then I have to start ticking off the boxes one at a time. Step one, create a safe space.

Right now, my home, the place where I am confined, is holding me and I am giving back by taking care of it. I wake up, relight the fire in the wood-burning stove, let the chickens out, reflect and plan out my day over coffee. These small, mundane acts of routine and discipline ground and hold me. I am not a leaf lost in the wind; I am a woman, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I push my roots into the deep darkness and weather the storm without falling over. From my home I find strength and courage to take it one day at a time.

We all know that we are staying home to protect each other so we can stop the spread of this virus. Let’s keep caring for each other in this way—but let us also ground ourselves as we understand our own darkness in our hearts and homes. Weathering our growing pains will help us emerge with a sense of healing and purpose for not just ourselves, but for everyone.

Room by room, create spaces that feel safe. Establish your roots so you don’t fall over when life delivers its next blow. Let the way you live be the arms that hold you.

Lois Volta is a home consultant, musician and founder of Volta Naturals. loisvolta.com. Send questions to thevoltaway@gmail.com.

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Latest from #141 February 2021