Someone asked me last week, “so, it’s been nearly a month in quarantine. What new habits have you formed?”
My first reaction was disbelief. Had it already been a month? What was I doing? I felt like I’d been in a holding pattern, kind of floundering about from each day to the next. Sure, I was working full days and using the extra time to do things like work out (and floss-- I’m actually really proud of that), but how was I adapting?
The truth was, I hadn’t. I was struggling because I somehow had the expectation that I could just tweak my old routine a bit and continue with the same habits as before, despite the fact that everything else around me had changed. I was trying to get the same results, the same satisfaction, and the same outcomes but under mostly different circumstances. It’s like riding your bike off the street and into a lake then wondering why it’s no longer an effective transportation method. It seems obvious, but when things shift that much, you, too must shift.
I realized I hadn't felt very settled because I was using a measuring stick from pre-quarantine times for my sense of productivity, fulfillment, and accomplishment. Those outdated perspectives were robbing me of any appreciation and recognition for what I was actually doing. I took some time the other day to write down all the new things I’m doing in this environment that I should feel proud of:
Taking Taco on long walks
Keeping the apartment clean
Taking vitamins every day and honing in on what my body reacts to and appreciates. I’ve started taking collagen and biotin supplements and have seen slight improvements in my hair growth.
Taking great care of my skin. Between the water, serums, toner, and masks, my skin has never looked better
Working out everyday
Paying close attention to the times of day that I was most productive and where in my apartment I found the best flow
Finding creative ways to enforce boundaries between work and personal time (e.g., I do not bring my laptop into the bedroom or living room. The kitchen and dining room are designated work spaces).
All the time I’ve spent with friends and family virtually. That takes effort and time, and instead of panicking alone in my apartment, I am choosing to be with people I love.
Thinking. I’ve been able to get clearer on my goals over the coming months. Truth be told, this came when it was ready. I tried to force it, it didn’t work, and I just felt crappy. Let it come on its own.
It’s important to note a few things. One: there is an actual global crisis happening. Right now. Like outside your door. Any and every feeling is ok. And it’s understandable to face challenges in finding stable ground. Two: you do not and should not feel pressured to use this newfound “free time” to craft your legacy (or whatever big thing you feel like you should be doing right now). We are conditioned to believe that busyness=productivity=fulfillment. Which is untrue. There is value in the space itself that has been created as a result of this great pause. It’s ok to just… be. That is an accomplishment, too.
This period in time is not going to feel the same. The more we try to make it fit and resist the new shape, the more we will suffer. We’re not going to be able to recreate what we had under “normal” circumstances. But what we CAN do is adapt and see things from a new perspective.
What is here now that you can appreciate? Did you feed yourself? Did you go for a walk? Did you talk to a friend? Take some time before bed tonight to pat yourself on the back for all the things you DID do today and think about how your patterns fit into the current reality.