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.