I am still getting used to the WordPress app. I thought that by scheduling this post, it would have been published automatically last Monday at 8 a.m. Guess I should have checked before this! I wrote this post over a week ago before we were all put in social isolation so I’ve made a few edits. The target date for things to open up again is April 1st. My guess is that we’ll still be in isolation till May 1st or longer.
I want to come out of this period feeling good about how I used my time. I don’t want to just GET through this crisis, I want to GROW through it. I don’t want to drown myself in the fear and negativity; I see this time as a gift, an opportunity to get more deeply connected to God, to myself, and to my husband.
Here is what I’m grateful for:
- It’s not summer and so hot in the apartment that all I want to do is go to a mall or coffee shop and chill, both literally and figuratively.
- The power’s on so I have lights, hot water, a working landline phone, and let’s not forget, the internet. After being without power for almost three days in September 2018 due to a tornado, I think I’d rather be sick with a flu for a few days and have power than to be well for three days in a blackout.
- My family and friends are, so far, unaffected.
- We are both retired so our income won’t be affected by not being able to go to work.
- I have a treadmill, stretch bands, weighted balls and a variety of exercise videos so I can keep in shape at home.
- Because we’re not eating out, I have a lot more control over my food intake so I can lose that last 5 pounds to get just under my goal weight.
I have the type of temperament that thrives on structure and planning. I would roughly sketch out a routine for the coming two solitary weeks and post it on my fridge. There needs to be an element of discipline in my life if I am to feel good at the end of each day. To achieve this during my quarantine, I would do something from my “want to” list only after I’d completed at least one household chore and one or two things on my “should do” list, depending on how long the item took. If one of the activities involved more than one hour of sitting, I’d set my timer for about 45-60 minutes then get up and move around. I wouldn’t enjoy my two weeks much if I let myself get a stiff back and neck from too much time in one position.
Since I don’t live alone, much of my time is spent doing things with my husband: watching movies, watching educational videos and playing games. While we are doing these things, I am making knitted and crocheted squares to create blankets for charity.
If I were in the situation I described in the opening of this post, the first thing I would do is make two lists. The first would be a list of the things that I needed to do or that I “should” get done now that I had all this time with no committments or demands on me. The second would be a list of all things I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had time or made time for until now. I’d keep both lists handy and add to them as I thought of other things to add to either one.
Most of the things on both of these lists would be activities I do sitting down. Too much sitting is not good for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into here. As I mentioned above, I wouldn’t do a sedentary activity for more than one hour at a time. I would set my timer for one hour each time I started this type of task on my list. When it went off, I would get up and move around for at least 5-10 minutes. You could do some stretches or put on some music and dance – but not for more than one song unless you’re in good shape! I tried this last week for the space of three songs. I walked around for three days like a very frail 90-year-old lady. I felt all of my 62 years plus a decade more!
Between my sitting activities, I am making a conscious effort to get up, stretch and do at least one chore that involves some movement. I’m continuing my daily treadmill routine that I began in 2017. I need to make a habit of strengthening and balance exercises.
One of the things on my “should do” list would be digital de-cluttering:
- Delete saved emails from email lists I subcribed to and never got around to actually reading; some of these have emails dating back five or more years.
- Organize my browser bookmarks. Since I use Safari on my iPad and Firefox on my Linux laptop, that would be quite the sorting exercise, putting them into folders and deciding which ones to simply delete.
- Detect and delete duplicate files on my external hard drive. Fortunately there are utiilities for that!
As for my “want to” list, my plan would be to do the more actively creative things during the day when I had more energy. I would listen to my body and take naps when I felt like it, even for just 20 minutes. There are creative activities I enjoyed but haven’t done in over a year; these include guitar, keyboard, virtual pottery on my iPad.. Most of my creative energy these past eight months has been devoted to writing.
I intend to devote most of my evenings to light entertainment. Apart from the evenings I spend watching movies with my husband,I have novels on my bookshelf that I bought but have not read, not to mention loads of e-books on my iPad. After 9:00, I’d be better off to shift to print books if I want to fall asleep sooner rather than toss around for an hour or more.
This is good advice that I’ve not followed so far. I’ve been getting to bed way too late so I need to get my routine back on track. I feel much better and my brain is less fogged if I get to bed around midnight and get up around 9 a.m.
Though I mention this at the end, it is the most important part of my day now. It never goes on a list any more than breathing would. It is the foundation of everything good and worthwhile in my life. I start my day with my usual hour of prayer, spiritual reading and journaling and end my day with another period of prayer. During this social isolation time, I punctuate my day with brief periods of prayer between other activities or while my husband takes a nap.
The things I miss the most are: daily Mass and spending evenings at Tim Hortons with friends., After a couple of more weeks of this isolation time, I’ll really missing the freedom to go out whenever I wanted. I’m an indoor girl so I wouldn’t miss being outdoors. I’d just miss the places I like to go, like the library, coffee shops and craft stores.
So, what about you?
- What, if anything, are you grateful for in this challenging time?
- Do you have any kind of structure or just do whatever comes to your mind in the moment?
- Are you enjoying your sollitude or are you seeking any and every distraction from spending time with just your own company by spending most of your time talking on the phone, texting or browsing social media?
- How long would it take you to get a bad case of “cabin fever”? How would you cope with it?
- If you were to tackle a task that’s been weighing on your mind for a while, what would it be?
- Would you do something creative? Assuming you had the necessary material at home, what would it be?
- If you didn’t have to work and had no income concerns, would you find the prospect of being isolated at home for a month or two appealing or abhorrent? Why is that?