“Go Easy on Yourself: This is Hard”
I am writing this on Day 17 of our PAUSE City-wide quarantine. Like you, I have been pretty much sequestered in my home, taking trips to the store as needed, but pretty much in and around the house all day every day. Work, for me, now consists of Zoom video conferencing, phone calls and emails. I haven’t ordered take out in days, and that means that I’m cooking a lot more, and washing a lot more dishes. The pivot into a stay-at-home life has indeed been a bit of a challenge for me, as it has probably been for you. So, today I want to share with our readers some strategies that I’m learning to cope with this pandemic imprisonment. Without maintaining some form of system during this forced downtime, this thing has the potential to unravel and become a mess. Please feel free to email us some of the strategies you are using to get through! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Is NOT a Vacation
The first couple of days were fun. Schools were closed. Your job closed and allowed you to work from home, and in the confusion of the first few days, cycles were discarded. You stopped setting your alarm to go off at 6am because you no longer needed to get up to go to work. You started sleeping later. Without having to get up early during the week, you started going to bed later. And bit by bit, you’ve lost the stringent regiment that you would follow week in and week out. Guys, this is not a vacation. It is imperative that we maintain a schedule. Keep your daily regiments in place as much as possible to avoid a lag in professional or mental productivity. Get up early. Set a chore schedule. If you work from home, schedule a lunch break, and an end of the work day. If you had coffee in the morning before work, have coffee in the morning before work. Keep to a schedule in order to get the most out of this quarantine.
Go Easy on Yourself. This is hard.
To date, five people that I know have passed away from this virus, another few are in bad shape, and still others are recovering. The nature of this virus and the quarantine is such that the losses haven’t hit home the way they normally would. You read about them on social media, but you can’t go to the hospital to visit or even pay your respects because of the lockdown. The news and the information and the detachment from it all can be overwhelming. We are losing people that we love, while trying to survive this thing by any means. Go easy on yourself. You are dealing with a lot. Take time to cry. Take time to mourn. But also, don’t overwhelm yourself with the enormity of it all. Unplug periodically in order to recharge your spirit. No one is asking you to carry this all on your own. You don’t have to answer every social media post. You don’t have to read every article. Your mental health is of the utmost importance right now. Take care of yourself.
Keep your Mind and Body Active!
When you’re working from home, it’s very easy to spend all day laying on your couch using your laptop, only to put the laptop down after work hours and grab the remote. Now, you’re spending all night laying on our couch watching Netflix. Think, for a moment, about what a normal Thursday would look for you. Waking up early, walking eight blocks to the train, down the stairs and into the station. Jostling with others to get a seat or a safe space on the train. Jostling to get off. Walking up the stairs. Walking four blocks to work. Walking, kneeling, standing and moving for eight hours a day. When you look at a normal day, what you might find is that you’re pretty active. Don’t lose that activity because you’re home! The quickest way to put pounds on is to lay around all day eating and watching television. Remember my first strategy point – THIS IS NOT A VACATION! Maintain physical activity throughout the day. Take a social distancing walk. Do pushups every hour. Choose to be active with intent, because all day on the couch is an unhealthy day. The same goes for your mind. Engage your mind daily. Read that book you’ve been meaning to get to. Start that passion project. An active mind, and an active body is a healthy person. And being healthy will help us all fight this virus.
Love on One Another
Lastly, make it your business to give love to the person or to the people you are quarantined with. I don’t care who you’re sheltered in with, it isn’t easy being around anyone all day and night for weeks. Be considerate. Give one another alone time. Be patient, especially with the children. Take this time to find new ways to connect. Understand that people deal with situations like this in different ways. Your spouse or partner may be experiencing this in a different way than you are. And, that’s okay. Be supportive, be non-judgemental, be a place of safety and protection and not a place of denial or complaint. It looks like this PAUSE isn’t going to be lifted soon. We are going to need each other more every day. So, continue to find ways to love one another.
I hope these strategies help. As I mentioned above, please email us at email@example.com to comment about some of the ways you’ve been finding peace in this time of chaos. Be safe.