Less than 3 in 10 Americans are able to or have the capacity to work at home. Unfortunately, the coronavirus crisis makes telework the only viable option for many, while others are forced to go without pay, or are even laid off entirely. I work a few part-time jobs and have been working from home during the pandemic. I thought it would be interesting to track my days during this time and show how I try to make each day count during this bizarre period.
Remote work for me officially started on Monday, March 16th. If you live in Massachusetts, you may remember that this was the last day that dine-in service at restaurants was still legal in the state. Because everything was operating as expected for one final day, I stationed myself in a sparsely populated cafe and worked my hours from my laptop. I got up periodically for water or other café treats and my only complaint was that the wooden bench was too hard. That evening, my boyfriend and I went out to eat at a restaurant in a somber farewell to our current lifestyle.
My second day of remote work caught me in a sullen mood. The cafes had shut down and I had to confront the reality that I would be working every live-long day from home. The sky looked glum and gray and occasionally shed a few chilly tears. I belong to the rare breed of worker that relishes the daily, long walk to the office as well as enjoys a desk in a shared space…. In short, I woke up feeling resentful and resistant to my new reality. Trying to fight the situation will only yield negativity. I did not live well today and that was my own fault. I resolved to accept my situation and start seeing the positive aspects of spending time at home.
Have you ever seen the Disney movie Tangled? In the beginning of the movie, the princess Rapunzel is trapped in her tower. She enjoys her seclusion and fills her days with activities, chores, and song. While she could have moped around and detested every last inch or her confinement, she found joy in all that she could do. On day three of my limited self-quarantine, I tried to take the Rapunzel attitude. I woke up this morning and did some exercise. I made breakfast, worked for a few hours, and then baked a banana bread! Luckily, I happened to have all of the ingredients stockpiled and, I must say, this loaf is my finest creation. Later, my boyfriend and I took advantage of the warm-ish, sunny weather and took a stroll outside. Day 3 was beautiful and a much-needed reminder that all days are not doomed to monotony.
An occupied mind is a happy one. Outside of my remote work hours today, I found myself absolutely consumed in a project. What project? Incidentally—my blog! With some extra time on my hands today, I sat in bed and toyed with the many features of the WordPress.com site and gave my CuirousWordsBlog.com site a total makeover. In addition to finding posts on my blog feed, you may now also search for posts by theme. Although most of my day was spent in bed, my mind felt energized. When your mind is engaged and content, it doesn’t matter where you are.
I heard a rumor today that several state governments were considering following California’s lead in putting a “shelter in place” order into force, which essentially means that people are required to stay at home. At the time, I feared that Massachusetts would adopt the order, which could lead to further panic. In anticipation of this, my boyfriend and I broke our isolation on this day to make one last stop at the grocery store. Having fresh produce, enough of the essentials, and some comfort food really can put your mind at ease during the uncertainty.
It’s the weekend! I took advantage of the nice weather to complete a long run. I went pretty early in the morning when there weren’t so many people about. Again today, I engaged in my hobbies including revamping my blog and cooking (more here).
This morning was sunny, yet frigid. Instead of going outside for exercise today, I decided to do a short (not-very-well-organized or executed) workout at home. Then, because I wanted to move around a little more, I paced up and down the hallways of my apartment building and incorporated a few squats, lunges, and leg lifts along the way. The day was rather lazy, but it ended with a nice home cooked meal, wine, and dessert.
One week down, how many more to go is unclear. When the colors of your world begin to look monochrome, it means that it is time to shake things up. They say when working remotely it is best to stick to a routine. However, in these desperate times, I feel that for my sanity, I will need to go the extra mile to do something unique or special each day.
I hope you too, Dear Reader, can find something special to enjoy, celebrate, or engage in every day of your shelter/quarantine/social distancing and in many more days thereafter.