Quarantine, Routine, and Boredom

40 Days of Quarantine – Redundant?

We have the Italians and the plagues of the 14th century to thank for a word that has become increasingly prominent in the spring of 2020.

According to the CDC, quarantine has its origins in the Italian words quaranta giorni, which mean 40 days. In the 14th century, an effort was underway to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing. Thus, they were in quarantine for quaranta giorni.

How long do you feel you’ve been sitting at anchor?


Routines, ruts, and short attention … look, a squirrel!

Our “normal” routines have definitely been disrupted. We find ourselves trying to establish a new routine that may actually become a rut, since our options for what we can do are certainly limited.

Both routine and rut appear to be rooted in the word route, which is thought to be from the Old French word rute, which means road. So when you have a routine, you’re continuing on a regular path or route. When you are in a rut, you are on a long, deep track and cannot get off that route!

Feel better yet?

You might be glad to know that, quite by coincidence, April is Stress Awareness Month. Staying at home and keeping your distance increases your stress and your boredom – which further puts you at risk for losing your ability to focus.

Still with me? Good. Just had to check.

Charles Dickens first used the word boredom in what many experts think was a fairly boring novel, Bleak House, published in 1852. Of course, the state of boredom has been with us for a long, long time and actually goes back to the Latin word taedia.

Pop quiz: What other word is related to taedia?

So, yes, squirrels and shiny objects will get us through our routine, our rut, our boredom, and our taedia.

Hang in there! It can’t last forever, right???


Tell me, how has your routine changed? Are you staying focused? How many squirrels have you seen today?


Now that you are communicating more often via email and video chats, do you need help with your words? Let’s talk!

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