Quarantine struggles – finding the good in difficult timesDiary . Tailoring
Everybody’s life has drastically changed over the last couple of months in an effort to bring a halt to the spreading of the Co-Vid19 pandemic. Having so much time at one’s hands and so few opportunities of entertaining oneself with shopping or going out, it can feel quite overwhelming to keep a healthy daily routine and not fall into a rut.
As my family is generally more introverted I feel quite comfortable being at home and apart from me not driving to work anymore or stopping by the stores for highlighters or tights, my daily routine didn’t change much and with the warmer weather, I found plenty of other things to do. However, around the Easter celebrations when I reduced my weekly work hours and had the first spurt with my paper in marketing, I began to struggle with motivation and my daily routine. Knowing myself as an experienced procrastinator, I felt really discouraged and kind of disappointed because by now, I should know better!
One step at a time!
While beating myself up over my solely self-inflicted suffering, I realized that even when I am at work and highly motivated, I can only do one thing at a time. No cellphone, no other websites, no extended conversations with colleagues – just one task. And I applied this habit, which I formed at my first job, to my procrastinating as well. So instead of cleaning that corner of my room while occasionally browsing on my phone and then unloading the dishwasher, I would clean my room until I was satisfied. After checking social media, I would listen to some music and go for a walk, followed by some basic household tasks like cleaning the kitchen and doing the laundry. What’s the difference between those tasks? It lies in the execution! I try to actively engage in these activities and commit to them until I am happy and only then I move on to the next one. I don’t shift them around or try to multitask. Alternating between active and passive tasks helps me stay mindful of what I am doing not matter how productive it truly is.
I’ve been working quite hard on my social media usage as I spend so much time on platforms I dislike and all my consumption is passive. I never put anything out there. I feel like I’m just consuming, not paying attention and I leave likes and upvotes on posts I barely remember. By the end of March, I created accounts at forums I’ve been frequenting and started joining the discussions and contributing to the communities the first time (which is shocking, given how much time I had already spent lurking). I find that very strange, to be honest. But it’s such a great opportunity to find out about one’s level of education.
The fear for my and my loved one’s health also got me into working out a lot more. While downward-facing dogs may not cure COVID, getting up and moving really helps combat stress and anxiety. I always liken stress to feeling like you’re being attacked by a saber tooth tiger – our cavemen-brain want’s to run, while our modern smart-ass recedes to swiping on our cellphones on the couch. What I pseudo-scientifically explain with the analogy does have a more evidenced explanation as to why exercise lessens stress, which is mentioned in this article.
As simple as this sounds now, that I have figured it out, I know that over time I will lose sight of those mindset goals. I learned to place several reminders for myself, that help me get out of ruts before I even realize I am stuck in one. This can be through friends or your partner, but also your therapist or mentor who can see things from an outside perspective and measure your behavior against your personal best. Another great way is journaling or simply making short notes each day. Draw a smiley for great days, an arrow for working out, or dots for cooking a nourishing meal. You can also place some motivational books visibly in your room or put the link to your favorite video onto your home screen – think of it as a first-aid-kit.
No thing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.Epictetus (Discourses, 108)
I wrote this quotation down several days ago but was reminded of it just today. By the time I am editing this (way after the initial draft^^), I’d like to share my favorite Youtube Creator The Art of Improvement who has just published his e-book on stoicism in which he mentioned that parable as well.
(disclaimer: no affiliate program or paid advertisement whatsoever – just a fan)
Now let’s continue…
Just as we need to slowly build up the strength for our exercise routines, knowledge in our field, or the mental stamina to complete huge projects, we need to work on ourselves on a regular basis and in manageable heaps.
Smaller repetitions over time do wonders, not only for your glutes or vocabulary but also for your mental health and building character. So let’s do the HIIT training for our papers and treadmill for our work life, while not forgetting that sometimes tired feet and sore muscles signal that we need some active procrastination!
Please do let me know how you coped during the last three months and thank you so much for reading!
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