Summer turned on over the weekend. It miraculously happens every year during Memorial Day weekend. Our chilly and overcast days became hot and sunny overnight.
Incidentally, my mood also made a major switch. I felt GOOD this weekend. Like, the best I have in months. I felt happy and had plenty of energy to do a bunch of stuff on what would normally be a lazy weekend day. It’s all tied to the sun, I’m sure. I feel like an extra fussy houseplant. I need plenty of direct sunlight or I wilt.
It really makes no sense that I live in one of the top 10 cloudiest states in the US.
The nice weather has meant I’m spending a lot more time outside, which is a mood booster for me even in less sunny weather. I’ve been either going for a run or a walk every day this month, and spending tons of time out on the front porch reading, scrolling on my phone, or just hanging out with a cup of coffee.
This is good for me. I need to keep it up so I can get the most out of these short summer months.
It’s weird to admit that I’m sort of thriving in quarantine. Normally I have a lot of anxiety about things I should be doing and places I should be going. But when everything becomes limited to what I can do with what I have at home, life becomes a lot simpler and the FOMO disappears.
Five years of working from home has taught me a lot about being a successful homebody. Let me share what works for me to take care of myself, maintain my sanity, and enjoy some quality time at home.
Read that stack of books you’ve been avoiding. Somehow I’ve managed to collect a LOT of books that I never ended up reading. And now that my local library is closed, it’s the perfect time to get into it. It feels great to finally make a dent in that old collection. I’m finding new favorites and clearing out the duds from my shelves (making spaces for new reads!).
Take your vitamins. Yep, I’m another person here to tell you that CBD helps me get through the day. I love the brand Not Pot in particular because their gummies are vegan, they’re woman-owned, and (most importantly!) part of their mission includes criminal justice reform—each month they help pay someone’s bail. I start every day with my CBD gummies and daily vitamins from Ritual to help me feel like a healthy, well-adjusted human.
Spend a little time cleaning every day. Anyone out there recently started cooking at home more and is SHOCKED by the number of dishes you can dirty in a single day? This drove me crazy for a while when I first started working from home, until I instated a rule of cleaning the kitchen for 15 minutes each day. It even functions as a nice break to get you on your feet and move around a bit if you’ve been sitting on the couch or at your desk for too long.
Get some fresh air and take a nap. These are my two favorite self-care activities right now. I feel like it’s kind of a no-brainer that taking a walk or sitting outside for a few minutes each day can make you feel like a different person. Naps, however, seem to have a little bit of a bad reputation. Naps are for lazy, depressed people and babies, not healthy, functioning adults. I’d like to reclaim the nap for us all. A good nap can feel so luxurious and restorative. It can reset a bad day or be a healing mental break if you’re feeling scattered. When you nap, you’re exclusively focused on comfort and rest. I can’t think of a more complete act of self-care than that.
I feel oddly normal for how weird things are in the world right now.
My life as a from-home worker hasn’t really changed much. I’m still working from my couch, still wearing my daily uniform of leggings and hoodies, still spending my free moments with my usual hobbies of cooking and reading, still taking care of my health with yoga and walks around the block.
I even think my anxiety levels have lowered. Most of the items on my list of Things I Should Be Doing have been erased for me. No mundane errands, no social events to stress about and cancel at the last minute, no family get-togethers that I’d really rather not attend.
I am worried about family and friends. I am worried about the huge numbers of people who will get sick and die. I am worried about everyone who works at grocery stores and restaurants and small businesses. I am worried about everyone who is facing dire financial circumstances. But it all feels so big and out of my control that it’s not worth spending the energy to actively worry about it, so instead, I go about my regular day.
I’m focused on the very simple things that I can do. Stay home. Check in with my friends and family. Support my favorite local businesses when I can. Take care of my own health and wellbeing.
I’m even a little hopeful that just maybe, the chaos of these moments will push us toward something better. We’re all experiencing how horrible a capitalist system is at dealing with this problem. And we’re seeing how we actually can have nice things like paid sick leave, work from home days, and universal basic income.
I truly hope we don’t go back to business as usual once this is all over. I’d much rather create a new normal.
I’ve been working on putting together a new playlist every month but never got around to sharing this one from November—aka the unofficial start of seasonal depression season. I missed making a playlist for December and haven’t gotten around to making one for January yet, but since we’re still in the thick of winter gloom and a collective post-holiday hangover, I think this playlist is still pretty appropriate.
Are you willing to embrace that truly slight inconvenience — and maybe pay a few dollars more — so that a person’s job is significantly less shitty? Think about in practice: are you willing to wait five more minutes for an Uber so that, when you get in, you know that your drive has health insurance and is making a living wage? Are you willing to pay $4 more for your yoga class (YOUR YOGA CLASS!) so that your teacher, who you likely venerate, can have some semblance of the stability/peace you yourself are attempting to find BY GOING TO YOGA??? Are you willing to have slightly less so that others can have significantly more? Or, as I like to think about it, do you actually care about other people?
Lately, lots of us are thinking and talking about burnout. How our work and daily routines are making us tired and sucking the joy out of our lives. We’re starting to think about what actions we can take to alleviate the feeling of burnout in our own lives. But this article asks us to think about how our actions can create burnout in other people.
In a small sense, that means respecting the boundaries of our colleagues, friends and family in a golden rule type fashion (do unto others…etc). But in a larger sense, that means buying into systems that respect those boundaries and allow us feel like real humans instead of meaningless cogs in the capitalist machine. And maybe MAYBE making a small, slightly uncomfortable impact on our own lives in an effort to make a much larger, game-changing impact on someone else’s life.
I think this idea is so important and one we don’t often think about. Don’t we all just want everything cheaper, faster, bigger? If it comes at the expense of another person’s wellbeing and financial stability, personally I’d rather have it a little more expensive, slower and smaller.
I found this article courtesy of Jocelyn K. Glei‘s newsletter which always has really great links about work, creativity, and making your life more enjoyable.