I started teleworking last Friday, and like many of you I’ll be home for the foreseeable future. I’m bouncing back and forth between serious anxiety about the virus and reminding myself how much I have to be grateful for. I’m fortunate that my work can be done from home – and in fact work is busier than usual. I’m fortunate that we have enough space at home for two of us to work in, without making each other crazy.
I’m a homebody anyway; I always feel like I should be going out and doing more, so social distancing means I don’t need to feel guilty about staying in. But I realize I have friends and co-workers who will have a much harder time teleworking every day than I will, especially those with young children.
I’m reading a lot less than I expected. You would think all this down time would give me way more reading time, but it’s actually harder for me to sit down at home and read. Maybe it’s the stress and worry, or maybe it’s just that when I’m home there’s always other things for me to be doing.
After one week, here are some nice things about working from home: no makeup, I can wear what I want, no waiting for the bus, listening to music while I work. The downside is sitting in one place all day. I’ve been going for long walks every day, so I don’t feel too shut in — I’m grateful it’s spring and the flowers are blooming.
If you’re new to teleworking, there’s plenty of advice out there, like carving out a distinct space in your home, setting specific hours, and getting up out of your chair frequently. I’ve been setting my alarm at the usual time each morning, so I can get up, shower, and either go for a walk or clean up around the house. It feels better than rolling out of bed and going right to work. The two big challenges for me in teleworking are distractions — internet, stupid phone games, and blogging — and keeping myself out of the kitchen so I don’t overeat.
The uncertainty of what’s happening scares me. How long will we need to avoid people? Will our parents, friends, and relatives get sick? Obviously there are huge global issues though I’m trying not to focus on those too much since I can’t do much about them. I think many people are struggling with what they can do right now, other than sitting at home alone. I gave blood. I donated to a school fundraiser to send art supplies home to families that need them. I’m checking in with family. It isn’t much.
In the long-term, there may be some positives that come out of this time, like a stronger sense of community, and the benefits of slowing down and taking more time for ourselves. And for Americans, realizing we aren’t always going to be able to buy whatever we want, whether it’s toilet paper or Tylenol. I hope as a country we go back to listening to experts, giving science the weight it deserves, and expecting more from our government.
What are your comfort go-to’s in this uneasy time? This weekend I sat down with a few hours of BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. I’m not trying to read anything too heavy, and we’ve tried to keep our TV watching light as well (looking forward to new Brockmire and Top Chef). And there’s always wine and dark chocolate.
I hope you’re all staying in and staying healthy. Take care of yourself.