No matter how you quantify it, it's a really long time to be cooped up in your home, away from loved ones, friends, work, shopping, food someone else cooked, and mostly just the feeling of freedom to do the things you love. It's been a tough road, even for two fairly introverted people like myself and my husband. However, we learned along the way that you can and must adjust to your environmental limitations, and just keep moving forward.
So without further ado, here are 10 things we've learned in the last 60 days...
1) Having a solid routine is absolutely key to keeping the peace. My husband and I were both working from home during this time, and both needed access to the home office. So after a week of shuffling back and forth, for what felt like several dozen times a day, we came up with a schedule. He got the home office from 7am to Noon and I got it from Noon to 5pm. During the times we didn't have access to the home office we used the small desk in the living area, if needed, and also did other projects that didn't require the use of a desk. Of course we were both flexible with our home office time, and allowed for some compromises when needed.
2) Movement is essential! We may not be able to get to the gym, and some of us may live in the tundra and not want to go outside when the weather sucks (ahem!), but making sure we aren't sitting and being sedentary all day is an absolute must for our health and wellbeing. So do some yoga stretches in the morning, or whatever stretches you can do, or perhaps adapt your workout routine to your home environment. Frequently stand, and stretch at your desk, especially your neck, back and legs. Just move! I've taken to walking in the condo, continuously for 30 minutes twice a day, when I can't get outside due to the weather, and it helps.
3) As often as you can, get fresh air. I know it isn't easy to get outside and get fresh air, all the while maintaining social distancing protocols. Some people live in big cities where this isn't possible, and some people like me, live in areas where Mother Nature hasn't figured out it's Spring yet. But those times you can get out and get fresh air and maybe even some exercise, while remaining safe, do so! This may mean that you simply go out on a balcony, and that's ok too.
4) Use your time wisely. The temptation when working from home is to sleep in, work here or there, and do as little as possible in order to be considered "working". Well, at least that's what I am hearing from the masses. My husband and I are a bit too OCD for that kind of lockdown lifestyle, though some days it's really tempting. I find if you schedule your day, by making lists in a day planner or whatever you have, and you check off each task as you do it, you are more likely to get things done. I even list things like ~Have Morning Tea, Write, Read, Walk, Meditate~. Anything I plan to do that day, I write it on my list. My list is also broken down into morning and afternoon sections, as that is the home office schedule we have. It really does help, I promise.
5) Avoid excessive snacking! I think we've all heard of the Quarantine Fifteen and some of may being seeing it on our scales. We snack and snack and snack, and those snacks all seem to be processed foods because when we stocked up on groceries, we knew visits to the grocery store wouldn't come as often as normal and we got things that would last. Such as potato chips & cookies. We've all suddenly become such great bakers as well and we're now stuffing ourselves full of baked breads, cakes and other goodies. And then at the end of the day we find that we are having a difficult time buttoning our paints. Sound familiar?
6) If you have to go grocery shopping or pick up a prescription, please wear a mask. You wearing a mask protects others from germs you could potentially spread, and in return they wear a mask to protect you. You see how it works? If we all wear them, we all get the benefits of that extra layer of safety. If one of us is an asshat and thinks they are stronger than COVID and goes around spreading their germs, then we are all screwed. So do your part; don't be an asshat!
7) Some government leaders are less concerned with their death tolls than they are their economies. In the end, that kind of thinking is only going to make both worse. Think about that before you go to the polls. Really and truly think about what it means to elect or reelect someone who cares more about their bottom line than the life of your grandparent, parent, child, spouse, sibling or friend. It's pretty sobering.
8) This is a pretty good time to start something new. Whether it be a new hobby like model car building or taking a class on something you aspire to be better at like painting. Most of us, even with our work at home schedule, have extra time in our day to fill, so we might as well do something productive with it. It's also a good way to occupy your mind, so as not to be constantly thinking about how all of this sucks.
9) Be kind to others. Reach out to your loved ones and friends, with texts, phone calls, and video chats, whenever possible. A simple text to a friend to ask how their day has been or how they are holding up, could make all the difference. It doesn't take much to show people you care. Perhaps even consider scheduling a weekly video chat? And don't forget the ones who are stuck at home with you. I like to write little encouraging notes for my husband, and make him tea in the afternoons. Just little things.
10) Be kind to yourself and make sure you put in an effort to support your mental and emotional wellbeing. This is one of the things I most often see people neglecting during this time, and in my opinion it is one of the most important things we should be concerned with. There is no one right way to do this as we are all different and therefore our needs are different. For me, I've come to rely on my morning stretches and meditation routine. I also allow myself to be ok when I don't get everything on my list done (that's huge for me!) or knowing when I just need a hot bath and some music in middle of the day. And at the end of the day, even if it's a Tuesday, if I want a glass of *wine to unwind, I have one. I give myself room in my schedule to sit and read a book or magazine, do a coloring page, or watch an episode of a favorite show. Taking care of myself has also meant a lot of talks with my husband, who is my rock, and a lot of crying on his shoulder and letting him listen to my fears and hold me up. And I do the same for him. And it's being honest with yourself about your current state of mind and knowing when to say, I need help. There are resources out there to help you, so if you find yourself feeling like you need help, please get it.
And I'm sure there are many more things that this pandemic has taught us, if I really think about it. But in the interest of time, I'll keep it at a nice round 10.
What has this time at home taught you? Feel free to comment below!
*I wanted to clarify that by my saying this above "And at the end of the day, even if it's a Tuesday, if I want a glass of wine to unwind, I have one." that I am in no way promoting alcohol or saying you can fix a bad day or cover emotions by drinking a glass of wine or any other alcohol. PLEASE drink responsibly and know your limits!