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One Year Into Quarantine: 3 Things I’ve Learned About Myself

I’ll start by saying this quarantine thing hasn’t been easy…at all. I have enjoyed some aspects of it and I’ve downright despised other parts. But I try to look on the positive side of things and think about what I’ve learned about myself from this experience.

Who knew when the country shut down on March 11, 2020 that many of us would spend weeks, months or maybe even years in quarantine? I knew it was bad and I knew my family would be on the extreme end of things. We needed to protect our immune-compromised daughter. But I don’t think I really grasped that we would still be isolated a year (and counting) later.

When you spend this much time mostly isolated from the world, a lot of things inside your world change. You learn new skills, new coping mechanisms, new ways to entertain yourself and your children. And you learn a lot of things about yourself. I know I did. So, here are a few of the things I learned about myself this past year.

Even Homebodies Get Bored, Lonely & Stir Crazy

When I was in school and took the Myers-Briggs test so many years ago, I found out I’m an Introvert. For many years I didn’t really understand what that meant. As I got older, I learned that doesn’t mean I don’t like other people. It just means that I recharge my batteries by having time to myself rather than spending time around others. I love my friends dearly and truly enjoy spending time with them. But I always feel tired afterward. And sometimes I have to force myself to get ready and leave the house to see them (even when I’m really looking forward to it).

Thanks to my introverted nature, I’m generally okay with the isolation we’ve experienced over the last year. But I’ve certainly experienced moments (days or weeks) of feeling depressed and lonely in this quarantine. There’s only so much one can do to entertain themselves and while the children keep me busy, it’s not always in a good way. I miss seeing my friends. I miss going out and just being around other people. And I feel like when I do talk to or see my friends virtually, I don’t have much to talk about because there’s nothing going on in my life.

Being Around Children All Day Is Exhausting (Teachers are Amazing)

I’ve always been impressed with teachers. It seems like an impossible job to me. I have a hard enough time wrangling my own 2 children, let alone a classroom full of them. And maybe my perspective on teaching is also influenced by my personality type. There’s that introvert thing again – being around a crowd of children all day is simply exhausting! I’m so thankful for the wonderful people in the world who love teaching my children. I don’t know what I would do without them. And I’ve discovered the true meaning of that this past year in quarantine.

Since March 2020, I’ve tried to learn how to be a preschool teacher, a special ed teacher, a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and hearing therapist. I’m so very thankful for all the support the real teachers and therapists have provided to me in this effort. But I know no matter how hard I try, they would do a much better job than anything I’m attempting to do.

I’m looking forward to things returning to “normal” someday soon (maybe?). But of all the things that I’d like to be normal again, the thing I’m looking forward to the most is my kids returning to their amazing teachers and therapists and me returning to being “just mom” and not a teacher!

How To Be More Comfortable In My Own Skin

I have always been the type of person who would never leave the house unless I was presentable. I’m not a high-maintenance person who spends a ton of time getting ready, but I’ve always made sure my clothes and hair looked nice and my makeup was done before I would go anywhere.

At the beginning of quarantine, I was still washing my hair every day and putting on all my makeup. Turns out, I wasn’t doing it for other people’s benefit. I was doing it because I didn’t like the way I looked without it. When I walked past the mirror throughout the day without my makeup on and my hair done, I didn’t like what I saw.

This time at home has allowed me to slowly ease out of this behavior. As I relaxed more and didn’t worry so much about what I looked like, I got more comfortable with the natural version of myself. I slowly started wearing less makeup. And now, there are days where I don’t apply any at all. (Although most days I still put some concealer under my eyes to cover those dark circles – I am a mom after all).

And my hair…well, I always felt like it needed to be washed every single day or it would get too greasy. I always envied those women who could go 2 (or more) days without washing their hair! But as I relaxed with this too, I learned my hair changed and adjusted to being washed less often. And it feels healthier too!

Quarantine Taught Me A Lot

If it weren’t for this forced down time, I never would’ve learned these (and other) things about myself. What have you learned about yourself during this time?

Trista Gangestad

Originally from Florida, Trista Gangestad and her family moved to CO ten years ago and live on a small hobby farm with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. She and her husband have 2 daughters, the oldest of which was born with Trisomy 18, a chromosome disorder. Trista has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and worked in Communications and Event Planning for more than 10 years before becoming a mom. During the pandemic, Trista discovered a need for clean burning candles that don’t emit soot or chemicals into our homes. She formed Clever Cow Candle Co. in 2021 and makes hand poured, 100% soy wax candles with clever, inspiring and sometimes sarcastic designs on the containers. Check out her candles at When this busy mom has time for herself, she enjoys sewing, crafting, shopping, drinking “candy coffee,” and watching guilty pleasure TV shows.

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