COVID-19 Got You Working From Home Now? Congratulations! Here’s How To Embrace The Transition.

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Doesn’t it feel like we’ve lived lifetimes in just a matter of weeks?

Well just for fun, let’s think back to not so long ago (like last week) when you were up to your eyeballs in To Do Lists: work projects, home projects, kids to pick up and deliver to after-school hobbies, groceries to get, loved ones to care for, chores to do and relationships to try to maintain on top of taking care of your SELF. Those were dizzying times but THAT was our normal.

This is different.

This is shock and awe. This is fear and knee-jerk reactions. This. Is. Survival.

That? Was busyness for the sake of looking ‘productive.’ That was how our society has always functioned to maintain its economic and social health.

Influenced by capitalism’s obsession with productivity and profit goals, our jobs made us feel that everything was urgent and had to be done yesterday. We were expected to hold work’s objectives above all of our own. All of us struggled to fit our lives into the space between getting to work and school where we could all be ‘productive’ to varying degrees of success. It was never easy. The more people you took care of or the more pots you had your fingers in left you sacrificing your mental health to fit it all in around that 12-hour chunk of your day devoted to getting to work and doing your job well-enough to earn a living.

That shit was insanity, people!

In comparison to the palpable fear and anxiety you see and hear from every person you see, it might not seem like our predictable little lives drove us insane.

But when you think of how little time you had for the REAL things that matter when it comes to being alive, it makes you wonder what ‘In Life Before Coronavirus’ was so goddamn urgent in comparison to the way this week feels.

If you’re fortunate enough to be asked to work from home, the difference now is that time is finally as flexible as our lifestyles have become. It’s more acceptable to shift active hours around than it was in the old paradigm where social obligations and old-fashioned bosses dinged you for daring to show up late because, god forbid LIFE happened on your way to work. Being given the opportunity to experience this kind of freedom is the silver lining of this pandemic.

Adjusting to life during this pandemic is maddening because of the uncertainty coming at us from literally every direction. Very few people are comfortable with uncertainty. Especially when forced upon them at the expense of the world as we knew it.

On a macro (but most importantly micro level because it’s more acutely relevant to our sense of purpose), we’ve lost the sense of control we realize we valued so much to curate our lives to our liking. We feel like we’re no longer in control of our day, our week ahead, our month, our futures. To a degree, I’m sorry to say that this is true. There’s only so much we can do.

We cannot know if we or someone we love will suffer or die from this pandemic and we cannot know how this is going to further alter the interconnected world economy. That’s the worst part.

What we can control is how we choose to view the day-to-day experience of coping with our new reality. If this is going to be our new normal for the rest of the year? You’re better off embracing the hidden gems of this experience in the context of what you were once too busy to have access to. If you can look at it from that perspective, your gratitude for these once elusive things will pull you through this, I promise.

Come with me as we look at the upside of the downturn:

  • Upside #1: You can get more regular sleep: Suddenly, we have time to ourselves in the morning before work. You know what that means? Extra sleep! Remember sleep?! It’s this elusive thing that you never get enough of when you become an adult and have to juggle conflicting responsibilities. This scary time is actually such a gift because we can get more sleep without having to rush around to get ourselves and everyone else ready in the mornings before rushing out of the house to be productive. If you work at 9am, set the alarm for 8:30am for the first few weeks to reset your body as if you were on vacation. You’re going to need extra rest. Once you feel recharged, proceed to the next opportunity.

Here’s a list of the virtual tools I used to teach myself a language during my commutes:

Upside #6: You can exercise during the day instead of squeezing it in (which never seems to work, let’s face it): Your gym might be offering online classes so take one in your living room. Invite a gym buddy to watch the same video or join you via video chat to hold you accountable. If no one thinks that’s cool (that’s fine, some folks aren’t feeling motivated) take a walk or a bike ride someplace new but keep your distance from people. Set a calendar reminder to do this at the same time each day if possible. Being cooped up all day for months on end might drive you nuts if you don’t move. You’ll also really benefit from rekindling your relationship with nature. Try to do it without headphones so you can tune in to nature, (which isn’t freaking out like we humanoids are).

As days turn into weeks you’ll find more of these simple pleasures that were totally impossible just weeks ago. Actually give thanks for them. It will be hard to give them up once you’ve tasted the freedom of remote work.

Despite this stressful time, there is a definite shift in possibilities happening here. It’s happening within each of us, within our nations and around the globe. We all have something in common now, even if we don’t speak the same language. We’ll have stories to tell each other for years about how we survived and came out stronger, more rested and better educated when this all shakes out into what it will.

There will even come a time when we look back on our experience of mass quarantining with a bittersweet fondness for the way it broke us open and left us with lasting positive change in our lives.

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Plan to be spontaneous! Exploring the balance between being a control-freak & a free-spirit on the road to Financial Independence.

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