What Is Quarantine Nostalgia, And Why Do We Low Key Miss Lockdown?

Staying in quarantine in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic led to many negative side effects. In fact, according to the National Library of Medicine, our mental health was greatly affected due to the lack of social interaction and the decrease in physical movement. During quarantine, many of us experienced increased stress and anxiety, and living through the pandemic has created even more issues. And while we can bet that no one wishes for those days again, there were some positives to the lockdowns.

Many families reported having positive experiences bonding more with their children who once spent their days at school and activities. And introverts could all rejoice in the fact that they had the ultimate excuse to not leave their couch. So it may not be too surprising that now, with the lockdowns are behind us, many people are experiencing a new phenomenon: quarantine nostalgia. 

Here's what is and why you may find yourself actually missing the days of quarantine.

Quarantine nostalgia is very real

We can all agree that 2020 was not a good time. Whether you rejoiced in the idea of getting to stay home or missed your social life, there was a sense of doom among all of us that definitely made it hard to enjoy life. We often miss things only after they are gone, though, and that seems to be very true for quarantine. In short, quarantine nostalgia is missing the times of lockdown. No, it doesn't mean you miss the fear and grief of those days, but more that people miss their slow-paced lifestyle and lack of responsibility.

It might feel strange to long for what was a painful time for the world, especially considering the millions of people who have died from COVID. According to Micheline Maalouf, a trauma-informed counselor, having these feelings is completely normal and even expected, though. She told Bustle that during lockdown, it was the very first time that many of us felt okay doing nothing, and it is probably a moment in time we will never get back. 

If you are feeling a bit guilty for missing quarantine, you aren't alone — just take a look at the many people experiencing quarantine nostalgia.

TikTok feels a sense of sentimentality for lockdown

Years after lockdown, the TikTok community is reminiscing about those times in a positive light. According to Bustle, many people downloaded TikTok for the first time during lockdown, making the app a key factor in our quarantine memories. Now, users are looking back at those times making videos like this that actually make the entire thing seem, well, kind of nice.

In fact, some of the most well-known viral TikTok sounds occurred during lockdown — remember "Bored in the House?" But even if you weren't attached to your phone like many of us, you likely still feel a sense of nostalgia for the days of lockdown when you could focus on yourself and ignore things like unwanted party invites, working in the office, and forcing yourself to put on pants. 

If thinking back on those days is making you sad, Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, told Bustle that it's important to let yourself feel those feelings and to not feel guilty for them — quarantine was an unusual time and it will take all of us many, many years to fully get over it.