OnMyMind

The healing power of quarantine

Two weeks alone, after a stressful winter, is replenishing, a chance to daydream and to think about how much space we need to live

Sixty-something years ago, in a communist state in Europe, a friend's father was imprisoned as a young man. For a few years he was held in solitary confinement, alone in a room where the lights were never switched off, rescued only by a game. In his head, he played chess.

It's a sobering and necessary image I carry with me for two weeks in room 204 in the Park Regis hotel. I have twin beds, an exercise mat and fine whisky. Nope, quarantine is anything but jail. Isolation is not necessarily imprisonment.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 10, 2021, with the headline 'The healing power of quarantine'. Print Edition | Subscribe