I’ve always found the first rays of sunlight magical- but even more so in recent times. Today marks exactly 3 months since I started this self- isolation/ quarantine or whatever you may call it. I came back from my last business trip with a throat infection and fever on February 27th, 2020 and since then normal life was no more. Naturally having been in 7 airports and more than 8 flights in 2 weeks. I self isolated for 14 days and by the time I got better, it has become the new norm with nighttime curfew imposed across the country.
Although it was clear how tough the situation is, it took me until end of March to come to terms with how different our life will be for the next God-knows how many months or even years- that’s when I emptied my carryons from all the travel size kits, flu medication, socks and all the things I kept there to make last minute packing less disastrous.
Everyone’s life has changed in the past 3 months, for some it has been unbearably painful and for others less so. So far, I have been quite fortunate and I’m praying it stays that way.
Naturally, I made so many plans to make this time as productive as possible. Some of my plans never saw the light of day and others turned out to be more successful than I anticipated.
So I just made a list of the main events/ facts in my quarantine life which will sound quite banal for some; but still quite exciting for me- and for that I’m deeply grateful. I’m making this list at 5 A.M. so it might be a bit more random than intended.
Disclaimer: Please note that there will be no mention of work or anything related to it in this post or any other post no matter how significant or insignificant the changes of my work life have been.
1. I have come to realize that little things matter now more than ever.
I always thought walking was an activity without any tangible results. Yet I followed a friend’s advice and I started walking around every night after dinner which made me realize that I have never been anywhere around our place before- I actually got lost twice in the first week (less than 1km away). This has proven to be therapeutic and calming with the welcome side effect of losing 4kg without going on any special diets. This was the only time I ever got out of the house for 2 months so I was quite excited to go for walks- which is normally so unlike me.
2. Since we’re spending so much time at home, try to get rid of all the negative energy clutter brings.
Like everyone else, I reorganized the kitchen cabinets which made cooking much more ergonomic (I’ll explain more in point 4.) I packed the things I haven’t used in a few months in boxes and put them away which took a couple of days to do for no other reason than that I’m quite slow when I’m doing things I really really dislike (my most exciting Easter vacation to date). Joke.
3. Making the effort to setup something today, can keep you comfortable for a very long time.
I had everything crammed up inside closets for a long time now which made using the dressing room for any other purpose impossible. I finally cleared the floor and couch in the dressing room and turned into a practical work space/ relaxing space for early mornings and evenings. It took a couple of weekends and a few IKEA orders to be able to do that. I used Marie Kondo’s book to be able to sort things in less space in a practical way- which proved to be quite beneficial.
4. There’s no better time to become more independent and healthy when it comes to eating habits.
I have been cooking all meals at home- that is more meals than I have cooked in almost 3 years of marriage. This definitely has something to do with the weight loss- I always ask myself if I’m really really hungry before I have to make something to eat. I also cleared up the cabinets and learned some techniques to end up with less dishes to wash and a clean working surface in the kitchen (makes me less reluctant to cook the next meal). I was probably the last in the world to learn to make popcorn as well (great snack for evenings and very easy to make).
5. Self-care is therapeutic so ditch the harmful habits you’ve acquired with your busy lifestyle.
The maximum I have gone without hair treatment was 6 months and at that point my roots would look terrible- now it’s been 8 months actually so I had to start taking care of my hair again after years or counting on the lazy yet toxic treatment option. I’m halfway there- still a few more months for this to pay out. Lessons learned are quite obvious- a healthy scalp is key, drinking water always makes a huge difference, all the natural oils are still there in the face of all chemical products for a reason, and I still swear by Viviscal for hair growth.
6. Appreciate every little space in your house and the joy it can bring.
I started using our balcony last week- as in I just put a chair and a small table and had coffee there which proved to be quite therapeutic especially in early morning- watching the sunrise. I also realized we are in desperate need of comfortable outdoor chairs- still need to do some research to get a couple of those.
7. Now is the time to save and not indulge in emotional shopping.
My wishlist has never seemed so meaningless. Other than my IKEA orders (mainly for the kitchen and the dressing room), a few shampoo and oil refills, and some books I’ve had on my list for a while, I have done zero shopping in the last 3 months. One of the things I am really proud of- let’s hope it lasts.
8. It’s ok to feel down sometimes- our nervous system wasn’t designed to handle this effortlessly.
Despite being so fortunate and nothing major happening in my close circle during these tough times, I realized that I have become more emotional, irritable and stressed out. I’m exploring new things to work on that without damaging any relationships because everyone else probably feels the same way and can do without this right now.
9. We might literally have to live with our choices every single waking minute- keep that in mind.
I think this time has made me reflect on my choices in the past few years- I am insanely grateful for every single choice I have made- even those I didn’t really make. God has a great way of showing you that things wouldn’t have worked better anyway other way. I have always been grateful before, but now it’s a new level of gratitude and peace.
10. Kind words and gestures should mean more now than ever so don’t overthink them.
I’m trying as much as possible to connect with those who have been a huge blessing in my life- one way or another. I’m quite grateful for my family and close friends and all their love and support but also to those who have touched my life without even knowing. It actually makes ME feel better when I try to make someone else feel better.
11. Finally, whatever rules you make are meant to help not burden you.
This is all new to all of us, so let go of the lists and the rules when it starts pressuring you instead of helping you. I know there were days when I didn’t wash my hair, or ate an entire pie or stayed in my pajamas all day (actually this is mostly everyday) because I didn’t have the energy to do whatever it is that I should do. I know I also decided to give up writing because I felt it’s not for me, yet I started typing this at 5 A.M. today on my phone because I felt like it.
P.S. This is in no way making light of the situation- different people have different coping mechanisms.