Real Talk (Pandemic Edition)

If you follow my social media accounts, or have been reading my blog, then you know that I like to keep things on the positive side. I try to remain upbeat and to spread Light into the universe. That is my reason for being.

Today, I wanted to be wholly transparent on how this pandemic has been affecting me, because life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

For more than a month now, the world as we know it in North America has been transformed. I, like so many others, have been working from home (that is, those who are lucky enough to have that luxury). Most others are living in isolation as we globally practice social distancing.

I am not going to lie and say that this hasn’t affected me, impacted my lifestyle, my mental state. Although my wife and I are quiet, introverted people by nature, we do still enjoy being out in social settings from time to time. Our weekly visits to Starbucks, Chapters or the mall are now sadly missed. Earlier this week, as we headed out for our nightly walk, I looked at my wife and said, “Can we walk down to the mall? I know it’s closed, but I just want to see it.”

Although I am very grateful that I have the ability to continue working during this pandemic and maintaining my income, I have occasionally found myself being jealous of the folks who are not working and are all going crazy with nothing to do. I wish I could spend a few weeks reading, watching Netflix and baking. I know that I am much better off in my current situation, but it doesn’t preclude me from longing for an extended break.

Working from home has been nice. But I have still struggled with the grind of being on my own for weeks on end. While I still have multiple daily conversations with my coworkers, being isolated takes its toll. I had a few days where my brain went down some rabbit holes and I got caught in a downward spiral of negative energy. I’ve taken a step back and made some changes to ease my mental state.

I even got a new coworker to help keep me grounded

We get up at 6AM and do our meditation/Reiki. I start work at 7AM, ending around 3PM, giving me an hour or so of “me time” while my wife finishes her workday to go and do whatever I want (usually, it’s watch wrestling or read). While working, I have taken to playing high-frequency music in the background to boost my mental state. I listen to my favourite podcasts and take walks on my lunch hour. I’ll take a short break around 9-9:30 to make myself breakfast. A little later, I’ll make myself a tea or, once in a while, a soy chai latte. Adding some of these moments of downtime and self-care helped me. It’s not perfect, but at least I’m doing things I enjoy.

For those of us still working, it is important to continue with our self-care and to take pause from time to time. I’ve decided to take a few days off here and there to allow myself to fully decompress. It was nice to have a long weekend for Easter, but I realized afterwards that I would need to have a few more mental breaks if this is going to continue. I’ve booked three vacation days spread out over the month of May, giving me 4-day work weeks for the month, and a long weekend on 3 out of 4 weekends.

The world is on pause, largely. We should be taking the opportunity to pause as well. Take some time to make space in your world, both physically and mentally. Learn how to slow down and take a breath. Declutter your life – get rid of excess around you at home; clean out your computer/cell phone; break those old habits of always needing to do more and more and more and filling up every moment of your day.

While this may not be our permanent reality, this is our world for now. I fully expect that our world will never return to what we were living pre-COVID-19. Things will shift and change, and I believe that many of these changes will be for the better.

I can’t wait to see you after this is all over and to give you a big hug.

Be strong. Stay home. Stay healthy.

Be the Light.

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