Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Self-Quarantine and Getting Over Our Differences in Close Quarters

The Coronavirus outbreak has been an unprecedented experience for us all. We may find ourselves juggling our roles all at once and under one roof—parent, spouse, employee, ad-hoc teacher, and more. 

Getting along in self-quarantine is a big challenge. Even if we get along well in normal circumstances, close quarters can be difficult.


It’s no wonder many of us are feeling overwhelmed, out-of-sorts, and at odds with each other in our households. None of us have lived through this kind of global pandemic before, and no playbook tells us how to cope—moreover, how to thrive—in these circumstances.

But the skills we use to thrive in our “regular” lives can be successfully employed and used as tools in our brave new world as well.

How to Deal with All These Guidelines (Even When They’re Frustrating)

Even the closest people have personality differences. Even though I am the one who drives us toward order, in the time of Corona, Judith is way more fastidious than I am. In fact, sometimes, it drives me nuts! Sure I keep distance, but I’m not as extreme on distance as Judith. I don’t worry at the level she does. She says I am like a puppy dog around other people, and she is not wrong.

But when I reframe the way I’m looking at Judith’s feelings right now, I realize that her health challenges put her more at risk for the virus and illness in general. She has to be careful to stay safe. It helps her feel secure and eases her sense of fear.

I may find washing my hands thirty times a day or donning a mask a bit stupid at first, but the truth is, I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it for Judith because I love her. I’m also doing it to protect others who I don’t even know. I’m wearing the mask to avoid bringing my germs into a setting, and it’s actually an act of love and compassion for all the people I may affect.

When we reframe our situation not as restrictive, but as an act of kindness, solidarity, and caring for those around us, the restrictions and guidelines don’t seem as annoying, ridiculous, or frustrating. We may find we want to take action to protect others, even more urgently than before.

What a beautiful act of kindness it is when we wear a mask to protect a stranger’s health. What a sign of caring for our fellow man when we see empty parks, quiet streets, and shuttered buildings. It’s a thing of beauty to see everyone coming together with care, concern, and appreciation for each other.

Those who are teaching their children may realize a greater appreciation for the role that teachers play in our lives. When we pick up a food order to go, we may feel our hearts swell with gratitude for those who cooked and prepared the food. We may think of the supply chain workers—all those who contributed to getting food to our plate.

A few years ago, author A.J. Jacobs set out to thank everyone who contributed to his morning cup of coffee. What initially began as an opportunity to thank a few people turned into a journey of gratitude where he thanked over 1,000 people who had contributed in some way to the coffee. From the farmer who grew the beans, to the manufacturer of the paper cup, to those who roasted, shipped, and poured the coffee, it was a staggering number of people.

Many of us don’t find those moments of appreciation as often when life is moving along like usual. We forget all the contribution that goes into the details of our lives. We may forget the incredible influence that each of us has and the profound ways each action impacts another.

People are frightened right now. They see loved ones face illness; they may face illness themselves, not to mention the economic toil and impact of the situation. We may feel helpless, but this allows us to realize how each little action creates a ripple effect. When we hold empathy and gratitude, we start viewing all these micro-actions as kind and generous. This reframing helps us realize why we’re showing caring by being careful right now.

Unsettled at Home

With the social distancing guidelines and encouragement to shelter in place, our homes may feel like less of a sanctuary and more like a punishment. During this time, it’s essential to focus on self-compassion and care for others as well. Find ways to reach out with our hearts instead of with our arms.

Since we can’t connect physically with those outside of our house, we can find impactful ways to engage and be present through technology. Scheduling Facetime or Zoom with coworkers, friends, and others can help us feel connected. Enjoy a dinner party with friends over video conferencing, for example.

We can also shift our intention to using this time to connect more deeply with our partner or children. It’s hard when we’re working from home and managing schoolwork.  Our schedule may feel like a blur and there are no date nights or playdates.

What if we shift the idea of a date night to staying in and spending intentional and purpose-driven time together? Rather than watching another TV show (as we scroll through our phone), what if we sat together over dinner with no distractions and talked? Or what if we read a book with our partner? What if we used this time to discover new aspects of each other and our relationship?

What if we sat up play dates with our own kids? What if we made time to enjoy a game together, to have a conversation about something important, or to explore a topic together as we learn? Our children are still engaging with their schools online, talking to teachers and classmates over email. What if we help them to connect with their friends and family members? We can use this time to spend one-on-one time with our kids and learn something new about them as well.

If we look at ways to nourish and help each other, we can reframe the schooling and even the cleaning and cooking as opportunities to serve our loved ones. How can we form a partnership in purpose? What can we do to come out of our time in isolation, stronger, more connected, and more deeply engaged than ever before?

The Learning Experience of Our Situation

Dealing with a global pandemic isn’t something any of us have a playbook to handle. We haven’t been through these circumstances before. We may be spending more time at home than we have in years. Our routines are altered; we’re adapting our work and juggling multiple tasks to get through this time.

In addition to thinking of the Coronavirus outbreak as a chance to learn about family and loved ones, we can also learn more about ourselves. How are we finding ways to be more conscious and find fulfillment during this time? How are we finding ways to emerge from this experience with new insights and ideas about who we are and how we rise to the occasion?

We are more influential and powerful than we may realize. Our fears and feelings of inadequacy during this time may paralyze us. Still, we can also find the opportunity to embrace our sense of aliveness and tap into our personal power.

Those of us who are sheltering at home alone have an excellent opportunity to stay in contact with ourselves. Tap into a sense of self-efficacy—set the intention we will make it through this situation. We can handle this situation and get through it. We can use this time to learn and grow and work toward a better world. We will persevere.

If you’re looking for learning opportunities we have many of our courses available online for FREE during this time. Please visit Wright Now to explore the options. We will also be offering a series of web-based events. I hope you consider joining us to learn more about yourself and your world!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Harnessing the Transformative Power of Disruption

To say that change is difficult is a huge understatement. Disruption, uncertainty, and chaos make us feel insecure. We may feel disoriented, unsure of ourselves, and clueless as to what we should do next.

With the outbreak of Coronavirus, we're experiencing a time of rapid change as we all cope with the disruption of norms.


“Never waste a good crisis.” — Michael Bernard Beckwith

We’re all in this together. We’re all experiencing and coping with the disruption of norms due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Our days are drastically different from what they were.

Parents find themselves moonlighting as teachers from their living rooms as they try to meet with coworkers on Zoom. Many of us have been furloughed or laid off, many of our businesses are threatened, we’re losing clients or customers, events have disappeared, our livelihoods are endangered. And many of us are trying to adjust to working from home, juggling our lives, relationships, priorities, time…

Worst of all, many of us are facing uncertainty about our health and the health and protection of our loved ones. These concerns attack the very heart of our sense of security and safety.

It’s chaotic and unsettling. But change, no matter how uncomfortable or frustrating, is also a normal part of life—even in these seemingly abnormal circumstances.

Change is difficult. It’s also possible that we can learn to harness change as a force for transformation–but only if we can ride the change and learn its lessons.

Why Change is So Difficult–and So Powerful

We all know change is tough. We’re starting to see that life as we knew it will never be the same. These times call for not just getting through them, but for transforming—to become who we are capable of becoming. Transforming is more than learning and growing.

Learning is knowing something today we didn’t know before; growing is doing something we haven’t done before. Transforming is becoming someone we’ve never been before. However, as Bob likes to say, “transformation is a real bitch.” Frankly, he’s right. When we’re changing, growing, and transforming, it’s uncomfortable at best and painful at worst.

Change and growth don’t always happen in a soft, comfortable, nurturing environment. Sometimes change happens in a crucible, where we are forged and molded by fire—change can be painful, frightening, and really difficult.

Yet, change is constant and necessary to our social-emotional intelligence and wellbeing. Change is part of being human. Each day, each moment, thousands of our cells are turning over. We’re always changing, as is the world around us. Our bodies are constantly transforming into something new and different than they were yesterday. Tomorrow, they will be different yet again.

Our minds, too, can undergo constant transformation. There have been many studies about how we adapt to changing environments and how these changes help shape and even strengthen our brain.

As we learn and adapt to different situations, we form new neuropathways. Our brains make different connections they grow, or as scientists say, we have neuroplasticity. Activating this quality of neuroplasticity actually keeps our brains sharp and functioning at peak capacity. Neuroplasticity–and the possibility of transforming–doesn’t just happen; we have to activate our neuroplasticity with our intention, attention, novelty, and stretching just at the edge of our comfort zone. (Merzenich)

Now, of course, our brains are also built with a strong sense of self-protection. The primitive part of our brain—our amygdala—is our survival center. It tells us when we feel fear when we should be alarmed. In unfamiliar circumstances, our fear center may be telling us to tread lightly, and move forward with caution. Right now in this unparalleled global crisis, many of us may feel like our amygdala is in overdrive.

We’re afraid, and to balance our fear, we’re seeking security. We may not be focusing on or even considering the new neuropathways that our brains are building from this experience because we’re just trying to get through these strange circumstances.

But if we focus on the growth that’s happening—the way we’re learning to cope and even address adversity during these challenges—it may help us reframe some of our fear. We can activate our neuroplasticity to build new beliefs, behaviors, and ways to deal with our emotions.

This time tells us a lot about our resilience, our spirit, and our sense of courage as we forge ahead throughout these challenges.

Choosing to Reframe Disruption as a Positive Force

Each of us has a choice right now. We can decide that this current disruption of our norms that’s leaving us feeling so insecure and unsettled is really frightening and terrible and we should shut down. Or we can choose to use our fear to fuel our actions and see this as an opportunity to change and grow. (And it’s perfectly okay and normal to choose growth and still feel discomfort, grief, and fear!)

There are a lot of uplifting stories emerging from this outbreak that show people discovering their strengths and using this time to connect with others. Instead of choosing to isolate themselves during social distancing, they’re finding new, creative ways to connect and engage.

I’ve been moved to tears hearing about the kindness of strangers, stories of selfless service, watching and listening to Italian students creating beautiful harmonies in isolation as they sing, “They are one person…they are for each other” (lyrics from Helplessly Hoping by Crosby, Stills & Nash). They might still be frightened (of course), but they’re taking steps to reach out and engage.

Instead of fighting upstream to stop change (something impossible, even in the best circumstances), some people are finding the opportunity in this situation to learn something new about themselves and about others in their world.

People are seeing what they are capable of doing, finding love and compassion in their hearts, finding creative solutions to problems, learning new skills, and more.

While I have been frightened in this time, I have been stretching into new territory and have been so moved to see our whole company turn on a dime, with Bob’s strong visionary leadership.

We are converting all of our coaching and training to powerful, interactive online experiences. All our staff have new duties as we develop creative ways to serve–not only providing the services we’ve always provided but also designing and offering many free webinars, trainings, and conversations to provide support for people during this time.

We’re providing innovative curriculum, webinars, and workshops to support many different audiences on various topics: entrepreneurs, salespeople, leaders, parents, singles, couples, seminars on living with purpose during this time, emotional intelligence and harnessing fear, meditation, couples conflict, networking in this new world, dealing with soft addictions…

All of this is happening while we’re creating innovative ways to bring high touch to high tech. I am stretching into new territory, scared of the unknown, yet thrilled at the creativity and proud of what we are creating, the people we have the privilege to serve, and who we, and I, our staff, and our foundation are becoming.

What if we all used this time to learn a new skill? Or what if we channeled our energy into self-compassion, kindness, and activities that brought us a sense of calm and purpose? What if we took on the challenge to realize that we can learn and grow through this time, we can develop ourselves, we can transform? Might we then emerge from this experience stronger, more confident, and more powerful than when we began

Set Your Intention to Transform!

Transformation doesn’t just happen. Making positive change and building new neural pathways in our brains doesn’t just happen without our intent, focus, and attention. Creating an intention for this time, for each activity we engage in, and focusing on what we want to get out of our experiences makes a monumental difference in the quality of our experience–and the results. Rather than waiting to just “get through this,” what if we intended to learn, grow, transform?

Any time we go into an unfamiliar experience, our intention can a powerful guide.

Maybe your intention during your shelter-at-home time is to really connect with your child by engaging in play each day—read stories, pretend, and use opportunity to connect with your family.

Maybe a nourishing intention for you is to find ways to strengthen your bond with your spouse as you figure out how to navigate the unfamiliar together. Have deeper conversations, play a game, or read a book together.

Perhaps your intention is to learn something new each day, create something, or find ways to connect with loved ones by writing them a letter of appreciation.

Maybe you intend to look for new possibilities, learn a new skill, try things you’ve never done before. Consider taking a course. (You can visit WrightNow to access our great courses for FREE for the next three months.) Or, maybe use this time of job insecurity or loss or furlough to develop more skills for the future, go back to school or get a graduate certificate or degree. Check out Wright Graduate University or our non-credit courses.

 How will you share your talents and foster personal growth and learning during your time at home?

Some people may want to set the intention to connect with family or friends (even from a distance). Can you enjoy dinner over video conferencing? Could you Facetime with your friends? What if you watched the same film or read the same book and then set aside time for an in-depth discussion?

Find ways to bring more intention and meaning into each interaction. It may feel like staying home right now is a challenge—even a punishment. But we can find ways to bring a sense of purpose to this situation. What if we looked at our “shelter in place” as an opportunity to really savor some juicy, in-depth connections with important people in our lives? To develop deeper relationships? To focus on what really matters? To stretch ourselves into new territory, learning new things, becoming more of what we wish to be? What if it is a time for transformation?

This global challenge will test us. It will be difficult and even painful as we experience loss. We don’t know what will come, but we will get to a better world on the other side–and a better us. We are innovating, we’re growing, we’re changing, and we will learn how to support each other through this time.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.