Embrace the Difficulties to Find Your Groove
The era of a Quarantine lifestyle has certainly been straining on all of us. We all know the rules by now: stay home if you can, avoid personal contact, cover your face in public, and so on. In my own personal life, however, these major changes couldn’t happened at a more inopportune time.
Now don’t get me wrong- my wife and I are incredibly lucky to still be able to work remotely, doing the best we can while minimizing contact with the outside world. However, she is going on 8 months pregnant which, in a normal world, is a scary enough thing to experience. We’re currently going through the same motions of anticipating a first baby that any other couple would; registering for gifts, getting a nursery together, planning the gender reveal party, etc. The difference for us (and for many other couples right now) is that each of these tasks comes with extra precautionary measures. We put on our masks in the parking lot before entering the furniture store, searching for items to decorate the baby room while trying not to touch anything. The long-anticipated baby shower with the ones we love? It’s now happening virtually through our computer screens. And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, our friends and families will not be able to see our little boy until we are out of this whole mess, which at this point could still be months away.
Yes, I am fully aware that these problems all seem very trivial compared to those of the hard-working men and women who don’t even have the option to stay at home, and even more so for those who are out of work at the moment. But for anyone who might find themselves in a similar position right now, I am urging you to find a system that works best for you in order to make the days more manageable and minimize unnecessary stress related to your job or personal life.
In attempting to balance all the different aspects of our ever-changing lives during this difficult time, I think back to something I remember from when I was a child; the age-old question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, of course, is one bite at a time. So, like a to-do-list for life, I’ve been checking things off my list one at a time in order to manage the chaos. And I’ve found that the small feeling of accomplishment this provides helps to navigate each task independently and keep me on track, which has led to greater feelings of control and comfort in what has become an otherwise unpredictable situation.
Along with my elephant checklist, I’ve found merit in designating specific times and locations for each thing that needs to be done. For example, we’re all familiar with the difficulties of working in a space that you don’t have the ability to focus your attention fully on your work. Whether you’re attempting to work from the basement, kitchen, or living room, there are always a million different distractions just waiting for you to take your eyes off that invigorating spreadsheet on your computer screen. So, I had to make the decision- work gets done in the office and ONLY in the office, and the rest of the house is designated for recreation and family time. I’ve found that designating a room for productivity allows me to keep my focus on work and minimizes frustration that often comes with the overlap of personal and professional spaces.
Everyone is dealing with their own struggles right now. Just like managing the chaos in supply chain to get food, hardware supplies, and toilet paper to the stores, we are all managing the chaos of our own lives, doing our best to stay connected and afloat while picturing the day that things get back to normal. While no one knows when that will be, we’re all doing our best to make sacrifices and adjustments up until the day we once again feel safe to shake hands, give hugs, or have conversations from a normal distance. And I can’t wait to do all of those things with friends and family, in-person, at my son’s first birthday party.