By Liz, sheltering in CT

This past week, I had a coworker ask me a question while we were on a call. She said, “Are your days really any different now, since you work from home anyway?” She asked because, like the majority of companies with the capability, mostly everyone in my place of employment is working remotely for the foreseeable future. It was a good thing we weren’t on a video conference so she couldn’t see me roll my eyes.

I am incredibly lucky to have a day job where I can work from home. And of course, my writing job means I work my second job from home as well. But as I reminded my coworker (while trying to tamp down the sarcasm), I do leave the house most days to do things. Things like the gym, dinner, yoga, writing at a cafe, taking my dogs out, going to concerts, you know, normal things.

So last week was, as it was for everyone, weird and unsettling and anxiety-causing for me. CT was one of the states who shut most things down pretty quickly. As a result, I’m going out only for groceries, taking the dogs for walks, and like everyone, mapping out a plan for when the TP eventually runs out, as it surely will.

On the other hand, I’m not one of those people experiencing an overabundance of free time. If anything, my workdays have gotten longer and more nonstop because of the crisis (and I’m not complaining – I know I’m lucky to have a job) so it makes the days seem to blend together even more while keeping the crisis top of mind. When I do need to make a run to the grocery store, I’m quickly reminded of what’s going on when I have to be counted to get inside and need to stand behind a yellow line when checking out to maintain the proper distance between me and another shopper. It feels like one of those movies that I usually avoid because they give me anxiety – I’ve never been a fan of end-of-days types of movies, and I couldn’t even watch Birdbox. My trains are still running outside my window, which is comforting.

I haven’t watched the news much. I’ve contemplated turning my news alerts off, but feel like I need a heads-up if someone decides the world is literally ending. I hate being caught off guard for things like that. I’ve also not been writing. Which has bothered me all week, but then I decided that I had to be nicer to myself. I watched a video of Gabby Bernstein and Glennon Doyle where they talked about this very thing. I’m paraphrasing Glennon, but she said we have to take care of ourselves and should never put aside our feelings because we think we have to create the next great piece of art. Sometimes, we need time to adjust to what is. Then we can create.

(By the way, every woman should pick up Glennon’s new book, Untamed. Reading it was one of the things I accomplished this week and it was worth not making my word count.)

So I’m going to start fresh this week – writing my daily word count, online workouts, getting outside more. I’m also going to be kind to myself if I need a break, and keep watching and reading uplifting things. I may go out to try and find toilet paper.

But the answer to my coworker’s question is a resounding yes. Of course my days are different. Not as different as our healthcare workers, or retail and restaurant workers, or anyone else whose work life has been upended by this. Even if I’m still inside most of the day, working on multiple computers, everything around me – around all of us – has changed.

We need to be smart, and take care of each other, stay grounded and keep ourselves emotionally and spiritually healthy, so we can keep our physical health. We need to be kind to ourselves and others. We need to support local businesses as much as we still can, even if it’s ordering delivery for dinner tonight.

And for the love of God, we need to stop hoarding the toilet paper.

Readers, share what you’re doing to keep yourself sane and healthy during this crazy time.

30 Thoughts

  1. Thanks for that, Liz. I was feeling cabin feverish yesterday, combined with a bit of disgruntlement about the direction of my career. Today (as often happens to me in the mornings) I realize the direction will come to me when I’m ready for it. And my daily walk might turn into two! Hang in there.

  2. Hubby and I have been doing some baking. However, you can only do so much of that since there are just the two of us. We love photography, but the spring weather hasn’t decide to show up with spring on the calendar yet and it’s done just about nothing but rain which makes that limited. We bundle up and take out to the porch to catch some of the migrating birds until the cold sends us back inside. Today our excitement is a trip to Wal-Mart which is now having a senior hour for shopping every Tuesday from 6 to 7 a.m. Isn’t that a grand thing to do – wake up before the chickens to see if we can spot a bundle of paper towels (have the much sought after toilet paper). 🙂

    However, I am not complaining but to feel blessed that neither of us or sick. We are both physically able to get up and about on this early drizzling morning. Also glad my Mom hammered into me the value of a stocked pantry.

    Whatever you do today, please be safe, considerate of others and wash your hands. <3

  3. Yes, stop hoarding the toilet paper!

    I don’t know that I’m doing much different. I’m still getting up early, getting my words in. I spent 20 minutes on the floor last night just petting Koda. No book, no thinking, “I have to get up,” just giving him attention (he loved it).

    I am trying to spend more time in thoughtful reflection instead of hurrying to the next thing all the time though.

  4. Yes ma’am, all of this is so true! I also ask myself why, when it was my goal to stay home and read all day, that I can’t relax and do so. Part of it is adjusting to a new apartment, I moved last Saturday, part of it is being laid off indefinitely at the University where I work, there are no students on campus, so right now I am not needed, and part is feeling like I have to forage for what I need, Chewy is decimated and my only goal today is to find the cat food and litter the boys are used to as they like I, have had enough unheaveal in their lives to last quite a while!!!!!

  5. Not a lot is different, just somehow a little more orderly. Dan and I both work from home anyway. (He’s the one with the clean office) I’m maintaining my word count daily–sometimes going over if inspiration hits. Because we’re in Florida, going outside is pleasant. Like Kay’s mom, mine taught me the value of a well-stocked larder. (She didn’t mention toilet paper though, and the other thing we may run out of is kitty litter.) I’ve caught up with the ironing and am still staying within my WW point count. Haven’t done any baking though–too much temptation there. We take long, caffeine fueled rides along the beach boulevard at night. Quite eerie with the bars, restaurants, shops and even the beaches themselves all closed. Missing hugs from the grandkids. Stay strong. Be well.

  6. Nicely written, Liz, and as usual, positive encouragement. What has changed for me is not being able to go to the gym because that public commitment is what I need to work-out. My class partners provided me the incentive, now I have to rely on my unreliable self.

    1. Thank you, Marlyn, and I hear you. I’ve been trying to figure out my workouts too. Luckily a lot of my yoga teachers and gym peeps are doing classes on line.

  7. Stop hoarding everything. There is no need to hoard! Except books, but that’s not really hoarding. Life has been upended as we know it. Hubs is finding out shortly if he still has a job. My job is solid. Jax is confused as to why mommy and daddy are home all the time. Fortunately, we are both still working and have a paycheck (at least for the moment), so we are lucky.

  8. Yoga and petting my cat keep me sane. Or close to it. I’m also catching up on reading my stash of magazines that I never have time for.

  9. We’ve been doing Zumba on line and working in the yard. We were going for walks in a local park but the trails have gotten way to crowded.

  10. I’m adjusting to have my family home 24/7 and we are learning ways to give each other some space. At this moment one is in the basement watching TV, one is in the basement working. I’m upstairs. Lots of walks and a few drives to get us out of the house.

  11. Lovely essay, Liz — I’ve been trying to identify how things are different when my own daily schedule hasn’t changed much, and you nailed it. I’m glad the weather is finally warming up here so I can take regular walks easily and start clearing winter damage from the yard and gardens — while still making progress with my revisions!

  12. Being retired, we are always “at home”, but we are used to going out frequently. Hubby is a high risk guy, so he is staying in, period. I run what errands must be done. As soon as the WX gets a little warmer, we will be able to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. And I’ll be able to work in the yard (which I love to do, anyway).

    What I’ve heard from many friends is the need to be needed. Anyone who is used to doing for others finds this really hard since we are limited in what we can do. Be sure to call folks who are alone and/or elderly. This whole thing is much more difficult for them.

  13. I’m working from home, which is different, but I am definitely still working. So as everyone else is talking about all their downtime, I’m still trying to figure out how I will get everything done for work that needs to be done. I’m sensing working this weekend, but I’m hoping I’m wrong on that.

    I’ve been reading more and watching more movies. It’s not helping that my TV shows are trickling out new episodes since they had to shut down as well. I get it, but if anything would have helped right now, my regular TV distractions would have been nice. Oh well, I keep talking about rewatching my wall of TV on DVD. Maybe it’s time to dive into some of those shows again. A different show every night.

  14. If you really want to scare yourself about the end of the world as we know it, read “Year One” by Nora Roberts. One of the best books ever!

  15. Grokker made all their exercise videos free on Comcast so I’ve been doing them. Normally living alone and being retired is fine but I miss seeing friends at church and lunch dates. Texts, e-mail, and Facebook are good but I’ve been calling more people. So far I’ve gone to the grocery store each week. Stay safe, everyone.

  16. We are mainly staying home. We take a short walk but keep away from others. We all read a lot. We are watching the Murdooch Mysteries (DVDs) Canada mystery show similar to Bones. Just take one day at a time. We communicate via phone, text, and email with others for now. Stay safe but stay sane as well!

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