There were obviously things about quarantine that were horrible…and still are because being frank, we aren’t done with the Pandemic yet. But there were a few things that I started doing during quarantine that I might not have given myself time to do or wouldn’t have tried if we didn’t have to pump the brakes this past year. There are things that I am certainly going to carry out of the tail end of this and I’m sure there are some that, if you reflect, you might want to too. Here are mine and I would love to hear yours in the comments.
Morning walks: This is something that I started doing to wake up on time. One of those little tips people gave about working from home was to try and simulate your commute. Mine was to take my dog on a walk for 1-3 miles, depending on my timing. I love to run but I’m going to be honest, I don’t like doing it in the morning. I get stiff and I like to hydrate before I run so for me going on a run first thing in the morning is miserable. However, walking my girl is the perfect way to move into the day peaceful with either a podcast or my book, a cup of tea and my little, hairy bestie.
“Work Family” is bullshit: This phrase is emotionally manipulative regardless of if its intentional or not and if you hear it in an interview you should try to run. I love many of my coworkers and at most jobs I have made friends. But Work family often tends to be a way to prioritize work over family. Your family is your family. Work is work and you don’t have to be part of some emotional system to do your work properly. The kid running behind the zoom call is family, not an overly demanding coworker.
Being intentional with my Time & Who I Spend it with: Slowing down gives you time and makes you really realize what you are doing with it. I’m sure many of us have suddenly felt it slow down over the past year. It did give us time though to really consider what we are doing with it (When we can’t do our typical going out, eating out, ect), when we are doing it (I definitely considered when the store would be the least crowded) and who we do it with (If we were allowed to see people other then the ones we live with). These restrictions really made me consider and realize who I missed and who was just…there and didn’t do anything for my mental health or wellbeing. Who was I still texting when there wasn’t much to say and why? If we are who we are around having a considered circle is important.
Taking Breaks During the Workday: When working from home I think we were all sneaking in the things we had to do through the day. I remembered an old habit I had through my school years. I would have a task, finish it, get up make a cup of tea or step outside. Switch my laundry, do a quick little sprint around the block, do a writing prompt…whatever for five to ten minutes. Obviously, I can’t do that back in an office but I do intend to continue taking short baby breaks. No one is meant to work nonstop for 8 hours and we aren’t productive that way. Measure out your tasks and take mini breaks in between them so that when you come back you can refocus now that you’re refreshed.
Opening & Closing My Blinds: I know this sounds simple but opening and closing your blinds when you wake up and go to bed can actually do a lot, most of all when its dark most of the day or even in the summer when its light for long periods of time. This sort of action creates signals to your body and provides a more radical change during the night and the day. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you should do is open your blinds to let in the light/ outside world. Even if its not bright it will let in the outdoors. At night when you put on your pajamas or whatever, close your blinds to make your space ready for night.
Read & Educate Myself: Outside of my profession. Okay so I’ve always been kind of into this or have at least been in my 30’s. There are so many things and subjects out there that I am interested in and really there is something for everyone out there now. I took the time to read more, listen to audio books and podcasts and really come at educating myself as a main part of my life. We are natural curious creatures, that’s what makes us the species that we are. Nurture that in yourself.
Engage in a Meaningful Project: I love being an activist. I’m not as engaged as maybe I should be in some things but in others I’m very engaged in my everyday life. A coworker recently told me when I showed her my biodegradable deo tube that she loved how thoughtful I was about everything and I swear no one has compliment me in a way that was so touching in a while. One of the things I did that I want to continue to do is to take steps in my life and my habits that benefit myself and others. I have been cutting waste out of my life, have no plastic in my bathroom, room, and kitchen, made my spending habits change, made my closet sustainable….all of this is part of one big project; cut something out that’s harmful or start something that’s beneficial to myself, the planet, and others.
Finding New Hobbies: One of the best things that I have discovered/ realized in my new life is that I am allowed as an adult to try whatever the hell I want. There is no time line on starting something new. I didn’t realize that my main hobby was actually going out and eating until all of the restaurants were closed. Yes I’m looking forward to going back to bars and restaurants but I also was forced to try new things to keep myself engaged. Trying and finding new hobbies shouldn’t stop when you go to college. You should be trying new things all the time and you’d be surprised that you might like things you didn’t when you were younger or before the pandemic. This is another thing that is super important to engage your mind.
Having Mealtimes: Okay so I’ve always cooked a lot but before this the people that I lived with were always on different schedules. There wasn’t really a mealtime with everyone. I liked setting a mealtime when everyone was home and engaging in food and conversation together in our own space. It was a special occasion but it wasn’t going out so it was more relaxing on just your average day.