Today marks ‘Day 63’ of my personal ‘Extreme Social Distancing Journey’ – meaning only going out for groceries or critical errands. My last day in a restaurant was March 12th.
Phase one: Confusion/disbelief. How bad is this going to be? Will it really affect our everyday lives? I didn’t know what to expect. Should I be buying mass quantities of toilet paper and groceries- because everyone else is? Where the heck am I going to find gloves, masks and hand sanitizer when even Amazon is sold out? Day after day I was glued to the news for updates, thinking everyone was overreacting and it would be over soon. I’m not sure if that was my optimism or maybe I was just in denial? How do I talk to my customers? How do I even reach them?
Phase two: We are on ‘lockdown’. So many people are suffering. We have no choice but to stay home and accept it. By doing that we help everyone. I couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing ‘we’re all in this together’ on every news show and even on the commercials. And weirdly, we were all in this together. And I think everyone started to embrace it. What else could we do? Helping by staying home is strange.
It’s been an interesting adjustment. I found humor in the daily group texts with Covid jokes and memes. I found joy in reaching out to old friends who I seldom speak with and checking in with loved ones every day or two. I found camaraderie in Zoom calls with friends and colleagues, virtual Birthday parties, Mother’s Day and Happy Hours. I found accomplishment in getting organized - fixing broken things, cleaning closets, drawers and garage, and cleaning up all my office files. All while working harder than ever at the KIR office, because it was just me there. I was maintaining, organizing, digging up all those forgotten projects, watching several webinars daily to try to innovate and scrambling to offer solutions to our customers. I found peace in being home in the evenings, gardening and appreciating the ‘farm’. And I found clarity as my body rested better than ever. Nowhere I “had” to be, no planes to catch. I created a new groove to follow.
There is a lesson here and there are no bags under my eyes!
Phase three: Now that things are starting to open - its time to get back out there! I’m looking forward to getting back ‘on the road’, and having meetings and connecting with our customers’ experiences through all this. But I now realize that being ‘overscheduled’ and the stress that comes with it will not be a part of my new normal.
Phase four: Looking ahead. How do I leverage the benefits of my month of social distancing into my new normal?
- Downtime – Let my brain and body rest and recharge. I will continue to get more, consistent sleep.
- Getting pesky organization projects done is a weight lifted and creates efficiencies in my day to day life which removes frustration
- I have instituted a new/different structure to my days that seems healthy. I sleep a bit longer if I need to, do housework a bit more and stay at work later. I don’t rush out to dinners and other engagements.
- My dogs love me more
- I learned more about and connected better with my family. Zoom meetings with close family will become my new norm! I love seeing my 89-year-old Dad every week.
- Social connections are hugely important for a healthy and happy life. But I don’t always have to go out to find them. I am focusing on the meaningful ones, which I find are very close to me or just a phone call away. When I am home, I will be more thoughtful about where, when and why, I go “out”. I feel more settled in myself.
Maybe I should take a month a year or a week every other month to stay home and go nowhere except the grocery store like I am now. Could I really do it through?
I need to find a way to remember how I feel now so that I can remember why I need to do this.
I know that so many have suffered deep loss and financial wreckage through this crisis. The loss of human life is unreal for many of us who have not experienced it first hand. I expect there will be many moments when that will all flood in over the next year. There is always that fear for our families. I am very cognizant of that and do not mean to minimize that reality in trying to find a benefit for myself. My heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones. We lost John Prine among many greats in our society who I never knew but touched me. I am incredibly blessed to be able to get through all this as I have. Not reaping the treasures that make me a better person and community member would be a loss. I always believe that being a better me, every day, in every way, makes me more able to support others.
So now, while I am “busy” getting ready to safely reengage, I am listening to Essentialism by Greg McKeown, which may actually help reap the treasures of this experience.
The concept he centers on; less but better.
As he quotes in the book, “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" poet Mary Oliver
Please share your thoughts with us:
- What benefits have you experienced?
- What has your process been?
- What ideas do you have to carry forward from this?
- What can we all do to help each other?