Living during a pandemic
To say that this year has been tough is not new or unique, but it sure is true.
I know I’m not alone in struggling with the fear of the pandemic, with the heartbreak of racism, with the weight of work, with the deterioration of mental health. The last time I posted something here, it was tips on maintaining productivity and a little sanity while working from home. It felt like an upbeat cheer for finding success in the midst of a strange time.
But, Reader, that already seems like a very long time ago. Today, I’m just trying to take it day by day without losing my ever-loving mind.
One day at a time
During a recent Zoom call with a business mastermind group, I confessed that I’m still learning—two years after leaving corporate life—to let routines go when they’re no longer serving me. There are days when a checklist from “make coffee” all the way through to “evening gratitude journal” is what I need to feel grounded and productive. But there are also days that seem to require both a long morning hike and an afternoon nap to keep me feeling like a competent human being.
I’m realizing they can both be right. Today can be whatever I need it to be.
With unending uncertainty about the future and so many of my pre-pandemic self-care tricks (impromptu lunch with my sister, book club in a friend’s living room, dinner and drinks with my parents, a weeknight movie) off the table . . . It’s okay to take each day as it comes, doing what I need to feel like the best possible version of myself before I see another headline that makes me want to punch a wall or find another canceled vacation that’s still showing up on my calendar.
Protecting what’s most valuable
That means some days I log nine or ten hours at my desk, and some days I only check my email to make sure I haven’t missed anything urgent and then take myself for a long walk.
And—maybe most importantly—I’m learning to count both those days as wins. I’m trying not to worry about the things I’ve left undone while I’m on a trail or enjoying a novel. My mental health is just as valuable as any item on my to-do list, and not just because it’s a means to staying productive the rest of the time.
What good is it to make it through 2020 if I end the year feeling completely burned out or hollowed out?
I’d love to hear from you! How are you holding up? What is helping you survive (or thrive!) during this strange and difficult year?