When I initially heard about the restrictions to control the transmission of CoVID-19, I brushed it off without much thought. I mean, how was it even remotely possible (see what I did there?) for people to not go to work, school or continue with their daily routines. The world has never stopped for anyone. But it was something we needed. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve shivered if I heard someone cough on the train. But, I wasn’t sure if it would work. Despite all our apprehensions, on March 16th we were asked to work from home from the next day. We all knew it was the right thing to do, but we had so many questions. We said our byes and stepped out of the office one last time to do our best to make the situation work for us.
The first week was good. I do most of my household chores and meal prep during the weekends. We started working from home on a Tuesday, so that week was taken care of. I missed my workouts. I missed going to a place to zone out of work and zone into my personal life. But it wasn’t a big deal at that time. It was an insanely productive week and I was thrilled at the amount of work I was getting done. Things at home were taken care of already. At work, we were picking up tasks based on conversations we had in person, so it was going well.
And then came Week 2.
From the second week, things started to get challenging. Personal work and Office work and other activities were overlapping. I was struggling to draw boundaries. It seemed like I was doing a lot of things but not finishing up any of them. The lack of exercise, talking to other people, and moving around, in general, left me frustrated. I never thought I would miss my morning commute to work. I missed being in a place where I could concentrate on just one aspect of my life. Working hours eventually got extended and I was not able to time block any activity. Despite the million apps, communications were tricky – especially in my line of work. Things were spiraling out of control and it was overwhelming. The absence of things – which never mattered before was making a huge difference.
From the third week, I decided to take control of things. That illusion of power is very empowering. I decided to bring some semblance of routine that would work for the new normal. Yes, this was not the best situation – but it was what it was. So, I tried to change a few aspects of my work-from-home life to see if it made a difference. I did what I love doing – Made a routine and stuck to it. I tried to be flexible but not too flexible. I tried to plan my days so that I knew when I could start and stop. This helped me find time for other things for the rest of the day. I knew there could be a way to manage things without stressing out. I decided to go for a walk/run 4-5 days/week. So I got a chance to step out and get some fresh air while social distancing. I found time by managing things better.
It was around week 4 or 5 when I found myself enjoying this new routine. Earlier, I would tell my friends that I wanted all of this to be over so that we could get back to work and our routines. Others echoed my thoughts then. But after getting used to the new normal, I realized that I was comfortable with how things were going. Yes, I do want things to go back to the way they were. But, I wouldn’t mind a few more days of cozying at home with all the time in the world. It was a case of Stockholm Syndrome – my friend commented. I wouldn’t disagree!
All this while, I felt that my life was on pause because of the lockdown. I thought I’d have to wait for all this to be over before I could do anything. I always associated relaxing with movies, shopping, going places, meeting people, and enjoying food. Though it seemed like my hands were tied, I thought about all those things I could do at home. Yes, it was not the same as going out, but there were quite a few options at hand. I spent more time doing things I love. I created sheets for all my meal prep ideas and organized my cooking Trello boards. I had fun reading through so many baking recipes and in choosing my snacks for the working week. I was able to walk/jog every day, to help zone out from the work and zone in back to my life. I watched so many movies and series and even got time to rewatch my favorite episodes of Friends. Just kidding. I’m rewatching the entire series, right from Season 1. I was consistent with my journal, so much that I did not realize I’d missed posting on my blog. I got so much more time to write. It was nice to take every thought and explore what was happening. Things were not bad.
My life was pretty hectic earlier and I liked it that way. So this episode helped me appreciate how things can move at a slow, yet steady pace. It felt good to not keep myself occupied all the time or run behind some deadlines or the other. I took the time to have my coffee. I enjoyed staring out of my balcony, stayed a little longer at the park gazing at the sky, took time to enjoy every meal, and caught up on all my lost sleep. I could stay up all night because I wanted to finish the book I was reading and I could get up in the morning and soak in all the sun before opening my laptop. I realized I could dictate how I spent my time and what I did with it. It felt like I got back time which I had missed while chasing other things in life.
I started enjoying the time I spent with myself. It felt satisfying. I’ve tried to spend time doing things I like and to relax in a way that makes me feel at ease. But this time it felt like life was moving at a 0.5x speed. As someone who enjoys a fast-paced life, I did not expect to enjoy taking things slow. I did not expect to enjoy the simple pleasure of living within the comforts of one’s own home even in the middle of a pandemic. It helps to clear our minds and sort our priorities. I’ve started looking at the world with a new-found respect and I’m immensely grateful for everything and everyone in my life. I can’t believe that it took the world to come to a stop for us to acknowledge everything that we took for granted in our lives- from our morning coffees to being with friends and family!
Disclaimer: I’m grateful that I had the privilege of isolating myself and being able to work from home and manage to maintain a semblance of continuity without any emotional, financial, and health struggles. I pray for everyone who has been affected in any way. Despite being in a safer space, this post is about how the situation affected me. It might be nothing compared to the struggles of others, but I took this opportunity to share my perspective.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay