It was exactly one week ago, on Monday. I was standing in my microscopic kitchen, talking to my partner, Wes. I said,
I have a feeling life as we know it is about to completely change.
I was closely paying attention to the news overseas and had a feeling that the tidal wave was inevitably coming our way. I was beginning to urge my employer to let us all work remotely. Things were happening faster than anyone could keep up with, and most were barely paying attention.
Two whole weeks ago, I had powered through hours of video editing, course creation, and more. I had launched my brand spankin’ new negotiation course. I was on top of the WORLD.
And then the rug got pulled out from under us, just as I suspected it might.
It’s been hard to shake the anxiety, hard to focus, hard to feel like you can do anything you put your mind to….. it’s just been freaking hard lately.
Shared Experiences Matter
One of the reasons it has been tough to double down on any work is because I keep scrolling through social media to see what people are saying. I think, in a way, we seek out social media to validate that our concerns are real, that our friends are taking this seriously too; it shows us that our anxiety is not overreaction.
Psychologists say “When we share a common experience, it bolsters our sense of belonging, and this in turn makes us feel life is more worthwhile.”
Simultaneously, the people who chose to go out to bars on Saturday and go to brunch on Sunday truly have blood on their hands, and it’s hard to look away. It’s like the concept of watching a car accident, you want to look away, but it’s so startling that you can’t.
If you want to learn more about the research behind why we can’t look away from a tragedy, check out this article.
Find Ways to Reset
During a normal, non-crisis week, you might see the ‘Gram full of “Mondays are for fresh starts” posts, and, that sentiment may be especially true during a crisis. When the last week has been haywire with anxiety, frustration, terror, anti-productivity, etc. — there are ways to find a reset button.
Last night, I recalled feeling burnt out — drained of emotion, wanting to cry but couldn’t, my heart was racing.
It was like I’d gone through the stages of grief at hyperspeed.
I cleaned up my studio apartment as best as possible and decided I would treat the new week as a way to create change for the tone, mood, and environment I was in.
I put appointments on my calendar to wake up, walk the dog, make breakfast, check emails. I was trying to create an itinerary that didn’t have gaps for scrolling alarming news articles or sitting in a panicked state in bed.
Thriving in the New World
You’ve probably seen a ton of tips floating around for working remotely, and I won’t bore you with the go-to list, though I do agree that changing into real clothes and making sure you have a “groove” is of gigantic importance that you might underestimate.
Here are some things that I have done:
>> Listen to a funny podcast on your walk
Go for a morning walk, a lunch time walk, and an evening walk (just before the sun goes down) and listen to a funny podcast
>> Schedule an actual lunch break
- Put your Slack status as “on lunch – be back at [time]”
- Close your laptop.
- Take a real break and eat something.
>>When working, use a noise app
I installed Noizio and I play “Sunny Day” or “Paris Cafe” or “White Noise” and it’s less distracting than some rap music but still gives me a feel for being in a non-silent office environment. Zone in!
Noisli is another good option!
>>Read a book
If you’re anything like me, a good book is a little escape. Find time to get cozy, drink tea, and read a good book. Set a timer. Put your phone away from arm’s reach.
>>Speaking of arm’s reach…
Try to put all things you might need while working within arm’s reach! When you’re stationed at your desk, it’s likely you’ll need a phone charger, computer charger, water bottle, etc. If you don’t have these things, you’ll have to keep getting up to retrieve them, then you’ll get distracted.
Honestly, this past week has been an enormous test of:
- How much can I slow down?
- How gentle can I be with myself?
- Can I give myself grace if I am not fierce and focused?
I appreciate you all. I wish you light and comfort during this unprecedented time.