Hey y’all—how is everyone holding up? I am doing okay, which I think is the best we can hope for right now. I am so grateful I have my health, a job to pay my bills that I can safely do from home, and that this happened after Spring Forward so that we have daylight until almost 8pm. My heart and prayers go out to anyone on the front lines fighting or doing essential work during COVID-19, those that are ill or have ill family members, and those that have lost their financial security.
Truthfully, I haven’t been in the mood to sit down and blog much, but I thought I’d check in today and share a little bit about my life lately during these unprecedented times we all have found ourselves in. (I have been sharing a ton over on Instagram, though! So if you’re looking for fun content, definitely follow me there.)
Earlier this week and last week, I was consuming news pretty much 24/7—I was scrolling Twitter, constantly reading articles, all my text conversations were about the virus and resulting crisis. I realized this was making my stress levels skyrocket and since then, I’ve been limiting the amount of news I consume. It has helped so much. The other thing that’s really helped me is making sure I get fresh air every day—I usually take a long socially distanced walk after I wrap up the workday, and on the days when the weather is nicer, I keep my window open to circulate some air in my apartment.
Since I am not physically sick, I have been focusing on my mental health. I have been trying really hard to be nice to myself, and not beat myself up too much about the little things—it is what it is if I sleep in, or don’t put on my full face of makeup, or eat more than one cookie. I have made sure to check in often with others since I live alone, and like I mentioned above, get fresh air when I can.
Since it’s been a while since I posted, I thought I’d check in today and share a little bit about my life lately during COVID-19. I’d love to hear how things are going for you—drop me a note in the comments below or shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re all in this together! x
01: VACATIONS LOST /
Like many, many people, I know a few of my vacations will be cancelled. While I am really sad about those vacations that will be lost, it’s an easier pill for me to swallow since so many others are in the same boat—it’s not like everyone else can continue to go on vacation while I am stuck at home. I also recognize that my vacations will one day, hopefully, be rescheduled—and when they are, they will just be that much sweeter.
What I struggle with the most about living in this pandemic, is that there’s no saying when this all will be over—and so I’m not sure when I can reschedule these vacations (or really plan anything into the future). I would love, love, love to have a vacation on the books to look forward to taking when it’s safe to travel again, but since no one has a crystal ball and can say when that day will be, I’ve decided to hold tight on booking any travel for now.
I’ve officially cancelled one vacation—a long weekend to Charlottesville with three of my friends from college. We are lucky in that I was able to get my Marriott points back, so we lost no money from cancelling. But man, I am bummed. It would be so nice to run around the best college town, eating all my favorite food, and spending a few warm spring days at the wineries with my girl friends. Even though this was a “simple” trip, I really hope one thing I take from this experience is to never take the simple things for granted again.
I also think my two May vacations are probably on the chopping block—a sisters trip to Las Vegas and a trip to France with my best friends from college. I was so looking forward to both of those trips, and while I am sure there is a sliver of hope left, I am also trying to be realistic and manage my own expectations. One silver lining with both of those trips is that we hadn’t done a ton of planning for either, and I always get most excited when I am doing the research about places to eat and things to do. Since I hadn’t sat down to do a ton of research, potentially cancelling them for now is a little less painful since I hadn’t done a ton of day dreaming about them yet.
Ironically, when I said I wanted to travel less this year, this was not what I had in mind. When this is all over, I am very much looking forward to a nice long vacation.
02: WORKING FROM HOME /
This whole experience has validated to me something I already knew about myself—I love going to the office and wouldn’t want to work from home long-term. (Yet here we are.) While my job was flexible before COVID-19 and I often worked from home on Fridays, there’s something so different about working from home when it’s your choice and only a day every now and then vs. everyday.
Before I continue ranting about working from home (calling a spade a spade, hah!), I do want to say I know I am so lucky to work for a company that allows us to work from home and one that moved to a work from home environment over two weeks ago, before most others followed suit. I also know I am so lucky that I can do my job from home and it hasn’t even lead to a decline in productivity—I can do everything virtually that I was doing in the office. So for these things, I am grateful.
That being said, I don’t think that feeling of gratefulness is mutually exclusive with my feelings of frustration about working from home.
For one, my apartment is really small, so I don’t have room for a proper desk or a table. For the first two and a half weeks at home, I worked from my couch, and while it was fine, it’s hard to have the space you’re used to relaxing all of a sudden become the place where you need to be really productive. Since I think we are in this for at least another month, I ordered a small table to function as as a desk so that I have a true work station. I think this will make a world of difference! I also chose this specific table because it folds up, so I can easily put it away at the end of the day. Putting my work stuff in the linen closet after my work day is over has really helped me move from work mode to relaxation mode when I’m done for the day.
The other thing I really struggle with about working from home is just the social stimulation from being around other people all day. I am an extrovert and genuinely love going to the office everyday to see my coworkers. I work in a meetings-heavy culture, so we are still very connected via Zoom video calls, but it’s not the same. I also think it’s way easier to get work done when we’re all at the office—you can grab people in the hallways to chat quickly and whiteboard in a room together when a challenge pops up. I can’t wait for the day we can go back!
One silver lining about working from home is that I have an extra 90 minutes or so in my day since I am not commuting to the office. In the mornings, I have been sleeping in later, and in the evenings, I have been shutting my computer off at the end of the work day and taking a nice long (socially distanced) walk around my neighborhood. Since I work and live alone, getting out of the house has been key for my mental health. While I am walking around, I usually call my mom or have a phone date with a friend so I feel like I am on a walk with someone!
I think this week of work from home will be kind of a bummer—on Thursday of this week, I was supposed to head to Atlanta to work my second Men’s Final Four! That was a highlight of my year last year, and I would have loved to see that project to completion this year. Hopefully next!
03: THE BRIGHT SPOTS
While overall, I would say I am really mourning the loss of my normal life, I do want to acknowledge that there have been some bright spots in all of this.
For one, this whole experience has really reminded me that life can change on a dime and to not take things for granted. I remember back in February, my coworkers and I were talking about how someone tested positive for COVID-19 in Seattle and how that was so far away from DC, so we were fine. I don’t think I realized the way this virus would impact my reality—I was so, so naive. Within a few short weeks, it’s touched pretty much every aspect of my life. But even once this pandemic fades, and it will one day, I want to remember that something else could come and change my life on a dime one day again, too, and that I should really appreciate my life and not take things for granted, even the simple things like hugging a friend or walking next to a stranger on the street.
For another, while we are all going through this alone, we really are in it together—while it has been extremely isolating physically, it has been extremely unifying socially. Because I’ve found myself with a lot more free time, I’ve been able to connect with friends and family via phone, text, social media, and FaceTime more than ever before. It’s been great to check-in with friends I haven’t talked to in a while, and grow closer with those I talk to all the time. I’ve also been using this time to create even more content over on Instagram (including my first IGTV videos!) and have absolutely loved connecting with friends and followers through that platform, too. It’s given me something to focus my energy to other than stress, and for that, I am so grateful.
And lastly, while I am so sad about the impact COVID-19 is having on the restaurant industry in particular, whenever I grab takeout from my favorite DC restaurants, it has brought me a lot of joy. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know I don’t love cooking and eat out pretty much every meal. While I cannot wait to be back at a restaurant again, being able to grab some of my favorite foods has been so, so comforting during a time of drastic change. I am also trying to support all my favorite places as I can so I can go enjoy delicious food and drink at their establishments when this is all over!
I hope you all are staying healthy, both physically and mentally, and socially distanced during this time. And if you’re on the frontlines fighting COVID-19, thank you so much for everything—we as a society will never be able to repay you. x