Soooooo, almost a month (but what easily feels like a year) later, this is what I have to show for my best intentions in my last post. Yeah, I was pretty good for the first couple of days, but then Covid continued to tap on my window every morning when I woke up. Even though I thought I was being easy on myself with just a short list of 6 simple tasks to do every day, I quickly found that Covid's incessant tap, tap, tapping just kept pulling my focus, slowing me down, and draining my energy. Every day became its own microcosm of what felt like a week's worth of decisions needing to be made. Every day required deep breaths before reading the news. Every day greeted me with a world that felt pretty darn different from yesterday's world.
And now, the strain of staying home and being isolated from friends and family is steadily changing over into the even more difficult nature of wading through so much uncertainty during reopening. The decision fatigue is real folks. So, looking at my valiant attempt at reinventing my daily routine--yet again--I needed to re-reinvent my approach. I needed to generously revise my expectations:
Take a shower
Also applicable: floss, put on real pants, eat breakfast, stretch, take a nap, sit in a different part of the house, do the dishes, etc., etc.—take your pick. It's these little things that are so easy to put off until tomorrow because today handed you more than you're used to or more than you feel like you can handle. And it's OK. But try to remember that these little things, as much as they are easy to put off, are precisely the things that help keep you grounded and sane. (And just for fun, check out these adulting merit badges.)
This is a no-brainer, but it hasn't been all that enticing for much of this spring. <cough cough snow in May cough cough> And if you're nervous about running into people, this is a perfect opportunity to find a new hiking trail or park that might be a little less popular but all the more worthwhile to check out. I recommend looking at the Finger Lakes Land Trust interactive trail map. Otherwise, porch-sitting and yard-lounging are great options.
Be kind to yourself
This is the real doozy on this list. And I'm going to be candid about this: pre-Covid, I definitely had workaholic tendencies (and I know I'm not alone). Optimum productivity was the be-all-end-all. Burnout was #normal and almost weirdly expected. And the strangest part: I have worked from home for much of my adult life, but working from home during Covid is not the working from home I used to know. For many, the transition from office to home was understandably surreal. Since that transition didn't apply to me, I thought I'd be immune to a change in productivity. But NOPE.
So, yes, I've been struggling with complex feels around my own productivity and motivation and coping mechanisms. And again, it's OK. A lot of significant and profound change is happening and happening in quick succession. There's a ton of mental and emotional strain involved. And one more time, it's OK. There's no need to add to that strain by trying to hold yourself (or myself, for that matter) to #normal expectations. And lowering expectations is not a sign of weakness or fault. It's actually the most wise thing to do right now.
To wrap things up: may our expectations be reasonable and our self-compassion be plentiful. Hang in there everybody. Hang in there.
Photo credit: Maxwell Harvey-Sampson