OK, I'll admit it: readjusting to "these times" has been a little more challenging than I anticipated. In an earlier post, I had playfully taunted the new WFH folks, waving my self-employment flag and flaunting my I've-been-WFH-for-years veteran status. But a few weeks later, I have also had to come to terms with the fact that WFH during non-pandemic times is still not even remotely the same as WFH during a pandemic.
In times B.C. (before COVID), the occupational hazards of WFH included: less frequent showers, more frequent loungewear, old coffee mugs and dirty dishes accumulating in the "office", not leaving the apartment for days, feeling like every day was a work day and every day was a vacation day simultaneously. But now, in times A.D. (anno dirunitas - or, in the year of the long duration (and yes I'm totally cobbling together bad Latin)), hazards also include: bouts of acute existential dread, compulsive news-reading, and an even worse disconnection from any sense of what time or day or month it truly is.
Over the weekend, I was struck by the renewed need to get back to the basics. So, I created this daily checklist for this upcoming week and wanted to share it, in case any of you wanted to join in with me. Similarly, if a checklist feels like a good thing to try this week, but these items are not quite what you need to focus on, feel free to create your own checklist!
Invent & wear a new outfit
I bet many of you have been stylin' the loungewear look for a while now. At first, it probably felt pretty cozy & comfy; but now, at least for me (and after years of heavy loungewear usage), I plain ol' miss dressing up. B.C., at least I could come up with interesting outfits to wear to arts events and parties. Now that I've lost my normal reasons to get fancy, I need to make it part of my routine instead.
Make a donation or send a tip
Even though my income situation feels precarious (like most folks out there), I still have enough to spare to help others out. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to donate or tip on the COVID19 resources page. Even if it's only $5 a day, it can still make a tiny difference. In fact, I've received a couple of tips via the FLX virtual tip jar, and I know for a fact that it feels pretty dang uplifting.
Write & mail a letter
First, it is almost always delightful to receive a handwritten letter in the mail. Second, the amount of time it takes to write & mail a letter is almost always at least half of what you'd think. Third, recent tweets about the US Postal Service, calling its usefulness or legitimacy into question, definitely motivates me to make sure I keep buying stamps and keep having a reason to visit my favorite post office to see my favorite postal worker, Kate. (I will wave from a safe distance!)
Look out the window for 15 minutes
Call it mindfulness. Call it meditation. Call it appreciating nature. Call it zoning out. Whatever it is to you, the simple act of intentionally doing nothing and thinking about nothing in particular is very important these days. As much as I was tempted to say "avoid reading the news" or "one hour of no screens" as the daily prompt, I realized picking something more proactive would be better instead. (Plus I have a new bird feeder setup to watch!)
Check in with a vulnerable friend or loved one
Last week, I had a nightmare that a loved one had died lonely & alone, and part of it was that I had neglected to call them. I woke up filled with that weird false dream remorse, which was very unpleasant, but it also made me pick up the phone and call. So, if there is a friend or family member who you know would love to hear from you: send that text, write that email, or give them a call.
15 minutes of exercise
Duh. But still. It's hard. In the midst of the continued efforts to settle into this new living situation, I've lost my space where I had a small dance studio. Dancing is my favorite way to get my heart going, but it's tough for me to get jazzed about dancing in a 4' space on carpet. But, dangitall, I just have to make myself do it. And this week doesn't look especially great weather-wise, so I might have to look into local streaming yoga classes on the new Health & Fitness calendar here.
Attend a virtual event or webinar
Yep, this is totally self-promotional. But, to be even more bluntly honest, as much as I scour the internet to find local virtual events to add to the calendar, I haven't exactly been the best at following through and attending more than one or two a week. Part of it is that, yes, virtual events just aren't the same. Perhaps it's that they actually make you miss being around friends and folks in real life more than if you didn't see them at all. (And I have more thoughts and ideas about this, but I've decided to dedicate a post to this later.) At any rate, the folks who are putting in the effort to make their events virtual deserve to have audiences who let them know that their work is appreciated and valued.
All in all, sometimes there's no shame in taking a deep breath and getting back to the basics. So, [deep breath] wish me luck!
Photo credit: Maxwell Harvey-Sampson