Going into this COVID-19 quarantine adventure, I wholeheartedly thought I was going to make The Most out of all this extra time. It’s not that my state’s stay-at-home order has changed that much for me (I already work from home), but it has kept me from leaving the house for more than a quick grocery pickup.
No girls’ nights out, no family visits, no brunch (well, we’re having brunch at home now — I’m not a complete savage).
All this staying home has given me several extra hours a week, and as a mostly optimistic person who generally tries to make the most out of less-than-ideal situations, I almost immediately started rattling off everything I want to get done with the extra time:
- Pay some attention to the seriously aesthetically pleasing writing journals I bought before this crisis.
- Get our garden and outdoor spaces ready for the spring and summer seasons.
- Clean out my closet and send the donations to ThredUp.
Well, here we are two weeks into my state’s stay-at-home order (and about three weeks into my own quarantine) and my poetry and story journals are sitting on the nightstand but there’s no ink on the pages, I looked online at new pillows for the patio for about three minutes last week, and my ThredUp donation bags are still in my closet — empty.
What’s the deal? Why am I not getting anything extra done even though I (supposedly) have more time?
Well, I’m not feeling any more inspired to write than I did when I didn’t have extra time, nor do I have any more energy to sort through my clothes.
What I am feeling, though, is the stress of trying to work from home with a baby and my husband and my dog quarantined in the house right along with me. Anxiety about my family members and friends who are essential workers, especially those in the medical field. Worry about what all this is going to really mean for the economy when it’s over.
So, instead of doing super productive things when I’m not working (you know, aside from the normal cooking and cleaning and blaaaahhhhh), I’ve mostly been:
- Enjoying the hell out of a girlfriends’ group text (nonstop hilarity and support).
- Having FaceTime visits with family (they get cranky when they haven’t seen the bebe in a while!).
- Zoning out to new (Little Fires Everywhere) and new-to-me (The Goldbergs) television
Don’t get me wrong; I still want to do the other things and I’ve made small strides toward getting them done (like moving the journals from the dining room table to the bedroom nightstand), but I’m just not going to put as much emphasis on them as I did in the beginning. I’m not going to tell myself that I should be doing all of these things with my extra time, and I’m not going to feel guilty about not having done them all when this coronavirus nightmare is over.
I’m going to let myself feel the stress, anxiety, and worry because they are very real, very valid feelings and deserve attention, and I’m going to do what works to cope with them.
Right now, what works isn’t poetry or spring cleaning; what works is talking with friends and comfort television…
…and maybe that’s productivity after all.
This post inspired by fellow Psych Central contributor Ann-Marie D’Arcy-Sharpe.