On November 26th, 2019, Poppy revealed the title along with the tracklist to I Disagree on Instagram.
"Don't Go Outside" tackles themes of apocalypse and isolation from the outside world, continuing themes present in the previous track "Sick of the Sun". The song also touches on fearmongering and mass hysteria in the news media, a theme that would reappear in the song "If It Bleeds", which Poppy described as the "distant relative" of "Don't Go Outside".
"'Don't Go Outside' was written in 2 parts. The acoustic section at the beginning was written a year before we recorded the song as a whole I stumbled up the voice memo on my computer. I got very emotional when I found it again and knew I needed it for the record." - Poppy in a 2020 Reddit AMA
The song also has an alternate message, likely representing Poppy overcoming this fear. After the second chorus, she reiterates "everything will be okay" several times followed by a reprise of "I Disagree", "Fill the Crown", "Concrete" and a melodic callback to "Anything Like Me".
"A few of my favorite records do call backs to songs on their albums, I wanted to [do] my take." - Poppy in a 2020 Reddit AMA
Beginning in March 2020, the song experienced a renewed interest amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, following the announcement that Poppy would have to postpone the Eurasia dates of her I Disagree Tour due to the pandemic. She would comment on this in an interview with Apple Music:
"Thematically this is more about a victim of mass hysteria in the news media and living in constant fear, which ended up playing out interestingly in 2020. I didn’t predict any of that, just for the record, but it ended up coming true for the world."
- Blame Candy guitarist Chris Greatti, who co-wrote the song with Poppy and various other songwriters, also performed the guitar solo in the song. He released a video on his YouTube channel demonstrating the solo.
- This is the longest song on I Disagree, being 6:06 long.
- Chris Greatti has stated that "Don't Go Outside", "Sit / Stay", "Anything Like Me" and "Bloodmoney" are his favorite songs from I Disagree.