New year...same us...
I could have sworn I was just belting out the remix of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas at the top of my lungs to an audience of my cat. And now, it’s that time of year again: the new year. The past two years have been both a speedy blur and an agonizing slow race. We have all been in a perpetual state of limbo and anxious unknown. Many of us walk the tightrope between work and home, attempting to balance the two that have now become an unidentifiable mess. Initially, I enjoyed not having to drive my commute and being able to snatch a 7-10 minute nap on my living room couch in between sessions. But as we continue to navigate this new foreign world of the pandemic, I’m definitely starting to run out of steam. Thankfully, I know I am not the only one and I have noticed clients, friends and family expressing similar things. Below are a few that seem to come up often:
1. Time is but a construct. Recently, a mechanic asked me whether my car had received certain services. I told him that I thought they had been done a few months ago…or it could be two years ago. I honestly can’t recall which. I have chatted with many folks who are struggling with memory and clearly identifying time-oriented activities. Yay us.
2. Sleep is elusive. Apparently, I am part of the insomnia club (are there t-shirts?). Despite engaging in the sleep hygiene practices I encourage clients, it has been a frustrating process identifying what is most helpful and how to maximize my hours of rest.
3. Work and home are one and the same. Working from home certainly has its advantages. Though, I am noticing many of us find our previously identified lines have begun to blur into one another. I have to be mindful of stepping away to have a meal, scheduling in a break, and not working outside of my typical hours. It seems that there is an unspoken belief that because we are home, we have more time for work? I sure haven’t noticed any additional hours in the day.
4. Social skills? What are those? As social beings, it has been an adjustment to alter our level of interactions with others and find ways to engage with loved ones from a distance. Nothing like birthdays and holidays celebrated over Zoom.
I have done a few things to attempt to remain grounded. I continue to wake up at the same scheduled time to get ready for work. This includes doing my makeup and putting on clothes I would typically wear to work. I have now set more boundaries around my time and don’t guilt myself into offering much earlier/later availability than I typically would. More recently, I have begun to set aside time in the morning to enjoy my coffee and breakfast, away from my work area, and will not eat meals at my desk in front of my laptop. I try to make sure that I set aside time to wind down, place my phone on Do Not Disturb (it is perpetually on that setting), and have a nighttime routine. I continue to attend my own (virtual) therapy sessions, as it is helpful to process the anxiety, fear and grief that have persisted during this time.
It is important to remember to take care of yourself and be safe as we adjust to the everchanging rules. Things are confusing and unknown, but remember that you are not alone.
How are you staying grounded during the pandemic?