Anyone who experiences quarantine nostalgia — a topic that has over 84 billion views on TikTok — admits that it’s strange to look back on such a stressful, traumatizing time in human history and kind of… miss it?
March 2020 was one long scramble to buy toilet paper while you worried about family and friends. But then everyone fell into a rhythm as the lockdown went into place: We baked sourdough bread, learned TikTok dances, and took naps. We wore sweatpants, cheered for nurses, and waved to loved ones via Zoom. Of course, staying home also felt boring and bizarre — but when you look back, you might realize that so many things about it were actually kind of sweet.
Now that it’s three whole years later, all those memories from March 2020 quarantine hit different. We’ve had time to process and realize how unique it was, and thus it’s absolutely OK to feel a weird sense of nostalgia. “I have even felt it myself,” says Micheline Maalouf, LMHC, NCC, a trauma-informed counselor and founder of Serein Counseling. “We miss the break, we miss being left alone, and we miss having time to ourselves to do nothing and just be.”
On TikTok, videos about quarantine nostalgia focus on the simplicity of lockdown life — staying home, taking walks, and passing the time with cozy indoor hobbies. But they also mention how we all came together and how we didn’t know at the time that quarantine would continue and things would get so much worse. March 2020 almost felt like a cozy bubble. We really didn’t know what we had. If that isn’t a recipe for nostalgia, what is?
Here, therapists share their thoughts on TikTok’s nostalgia for quarantine 2020, plus what to do with all those feels.
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