May 30, 2020
Are we there yet?
It’s the question I've all been asking myself since this all started. I don't think anyone really knows the answer. But, here's what I do know and I'd like to share it with you.
I remember taking long car rides with my parents — rides that seemed never ending to me at the time. We’d go to visit family or friends in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, and as a kid, I’d keep asking, "are we there yet?" My mom would tell me to just enjoy the scenery and that we'd get there when we get there. I've used this mentality in most aspects of my adult life.
A state of discontent is often temporary, but can feel endless, if you let it. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I've been on an emotional rollercoaster. For me, there have been more highs than lows. I've generally enjoyed most of my time at home and have been able to be really productive. Admittedly, it's also really hard not knowing if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. At times, I feel very trapped and unhappy.
I am enjoying certain aspects: more sleep, more time to cook healthy meals at home and exercise, more time to connect with family and friends, self-care, etc. I used to be so busy running around after work, from afternoon coffee catchups to spin class to drinks with the girls, and finally, dinner with my boyfriend. I don't know how I used to function on such little sleep and an insufficient amount of energy. For me, this has been a time to sit back, reflect, and appreciate. I feel fortunate to have a comfortable place to shelter, still have work, and be able to view this as an opportunity to be on pause. I know this is a massively stressful time for most people out there.
Here’s what’s helping me stay positive and productive.
Writing a physical list of things that I’ve been meaning to do, but just didn't have the time or motivation for before this, has been a great exercise for me. Some lists may be longer than others and some lists may have larger time-consuming tasks, but it doesn't matter, because this isn't a competition.
A way to approach this is thinking of healthy habits that you would like to adopt. I've been reading lots of books and magazines lately. I'm also okay with vegging out in front of the television to catch up on those shows my friends are always talking about. I schedule bath time twice per week, weekly facials and hair masks, virtual wine night with friends, and even date night in when me and the bae turn off our phones. Taking care of myself and having time to unplug is extremely important. Those can all go on the to-do list.
I'm now realizing that facials and pampering don't need to be reserved for that once-in-awhile trip to the spa. I've been taking the most luxurious baths every Sunday, and randomly in the middle of the week. I even invested in a few bath time essentials, like a bathtub tray that I can lay all of my essentials on (phone, book, glass of wine, etc). And while I indulge in a relaxing soak, I also treat my face to a clay or sheet mask. Sometimes I put slices of cucumbers on my eyes, even though I still don't know what that's supposed to do. This gives me something to look forward to once a week and takes my mind off of the things that I cannot do.
This quarantine has been such a good opportunity to spend more time with family and friends, despite having to social distance. While meetups have to remain virtual for the time being, video calls have been a great way for me to keep up with weekly family dinners and happy hours with friends and coworkers. And now I feel that I've actually been better able to schedule time to catch up with friends because I'm not busy after work every night and weekend.
Find something to do once a week that you look forward to. And challenge yourself to check off one task on your "COVID To-Do List" every week, or whatever you feel is a reasonable deadline. I've been trying new recipes and high intensity workouts with friends on Zoom. A friend of mine is finally going to start that blog she's been talking about. Another friend just started learning Italian for when he's finally able to take that trip to Venice. So many of my fellow-knitters have been finishing gorgeous cable sweaters and blankets like no tomorrow. Everyone has things they'd like to do, new hobbies to start, passion projects to take on, and people they'd like to spend more time with. And when this is all over, instead of feeling that your life was wasted while being on hold, you'll feel refreshed and accomplished.
Stay well! Stay strong! Stay connected!