How’s your lockdown going? I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had this much
quality time with myself ever. How many weeks have we sheltered at home here in the Bay Area? Oh right: Six. Full. Weeks.
And only about six more before we slowly enter into the modification period.
I’m not complaining. (Am I? Could I?) Whatever Dr. Anthony Fauci says, I’m on board. While my higher self sticks to the rules, my lower self wonders, occasionally, whether I have it in me to keep on keeping on like this.
Then comes the reality check
When I watch the news and see the faces of medical staff on the frontlines, I don’t even have to think about it. I’ll do everything I can to stay out of their way: staying home, social distancing, wearing masks when I have to go out. Handwashing frequently and using my elbows.
***A deep, immeasurable thank you to all medical teams on the front lines, confronting the coronavirus face-to-face. I pray for your safety and well-being and your families, too.***
Let’s review: Isolating felt a little like being on a staycation
The staycation phase of mandatory isolation ended about four weeks ago. That first two-week period was met with TV bingeing, catching up on movies, staying up late, and eating a lot of saltine crackers.
Next came the decluttering and beautifying stage. There were places in the house that needed my attention way before COVID. With isolation, they became glaring eyesores.
I’ve known for months that the reading chair area of the bedroom needed some beautification. By removing some decorative storage boxes surrounding the oversized reading chair, that area became open and calm. I added artful objects to the wall above the standing reading lamp and cleared books off the nearby copper table made by my friend Carl. Now it’s a serene and pleasant place to sit and read and be.
A couple of Sundays ago I tackled the shelving unit on my side of the garage. I realized the baskets of electrical cords and light bulbs were better stored in unused drawers in Russ’ workbench. I made labels for the drawers, so we’d find what we were looking for with ease. Now there’s empty space on the shelves.
I LOVE empty space! It feels luxurious when things aren’t crammed together. It’s sort of like how I don’t like the hangers in my closet to touch each other. Ah! A moment of Zen.
Next: Facing my reluctance to face Mondays
I decided to tackle something else I’ve been curious about: Why do I wake up Monday morning feeling dread or high anxiety? It lasts just a few minutes but, uff da, it’s odd. After all, I’m a morning person. It’s my favorite time of the day. And I love, love, love my work with clients. So why do I have those short minutes of panic?
I could blame COVID-19 on my early Monday blue moments. Maybe I’m anxious about facing another week of a pandemic.
But if I’m being honest, I wake up on Mondays feeling this way a fair amount of time. I have good intentions of using Friday to get ahead on writing projects, but that goes awry and those mostly non-urgent writing projects often don’t get done. I want them to be done, but I can’t always do them on command.
The truth is, a big part of writing is blanking out, giving the brain a rest, staring out the window, going for walks, being quiet, and away from the keyboard.
I’m expecting a lot from Fridays–being lazy and productive at the same time. I feel the residue of that conflict when I wake up on Monday morning with Friday’s To-Do list on my mind.
Doing what I can to start the week on a softer note
While in isolation I’ve had plenty of time to ponder this situation. There’s probably more pondering to do but in the meantime, I decided to help myself in kind ways.
The roses are in bloom. On that Sunday afternoon, I asked Russ to cut some roses from the garden. They always look better when he cuts and arranges them. Soon there were red, yellow, white, and peach roses in a clear vase on my writing table. They were so smiley looking. Hopeful and dear.
Maybe a new outfit would ease the COVID Monday blues
Next, I headed to the closet and pulled together an outfit to wear Monday morning. My intuition told me to.
It seemed a bit weird to me because I never pick out an outfit the night before wearing it. When it comes to getting dressed, I wing it. It’s a creative act.
On Sunday I knew wanted to wear my dad’s tie on Monday. I’ve been thinking about him a lot. But I needed more than a tie! I zeroed in on my light gray J.Crew Tippi sweater, a nice plain background so the geometric design in the tie would stand out.
Next, I tossed on my COS cotton black and white print collared shirt as a jacket. I liked the pattern mix. It gave the black and white outfit some energy. This outfit would be a fun play on menswear attire.
I’d wear my Vince black trousers which are a little more slouchy fitting than usual. I’ve lost a couple of pounds even while consuming childhood comfort snacks like animal crackers.
No sneakers for this outfit. I’d wear my Rosa Mosa oxfords with white laces. I had my Monday plan in place.
How did my COVID coping skills hold up on Monday morning?
Monday morning arrived and I felt, well, neutral.
Not great, but not too anxious. Could it be that my Sunday night self-care paid off?
I made my coffee and headed to my writing table where I was greeted by Russ’ roses. I looked out the window, pulled out my Morning Pages notebook, and started my
therapy writing practice.
I paid attention to the rest of the day. It was a decent day. I felt positive. I wasn’t hyperventilating with joy, but I felt plenty darn good.
Another Monday is put to the test
One more Monday has arrived since wearing that black, white, and gray outfit with my dad’s tie. This Monday I awoke with a few minutes of that panic feeling again. Not as strong as usual, but it hadn’t miraculously disappeared.
I’m confused about Mondays and other days of the week, too! I probably have more time to stare out the window and feed my writing self, but at the same time, I miss my one-on-one client time.
The problem of balance isn’t a new one. I know I have to sort out Fridays and my expectations of them. I need to find a balance between writing projects, time to work on new ideas, and time being out in the world creatively interacting with clients. I want it all!
What I decided to do this Monday was to go easy on myself. And that felt good.
Is it possible to rearrange one’s thinking like rearranging a seating area in the bedroom?
So during this isolation, I’m wondering if it’s possible to end the week on Friday with the feeling that it’s enough. I’ve done enough. I didn’t finish everything and I never will, and it’s okay. Could that be a new reality? A skill I learn during COVID? I will ponder this balance thing that’s been on my plate most of my life, but I won’t solve it today. I’m good with that.
I’d love your thoughts. Plus, you could really help me out. What are you doing to be kind to yourself during this time? I’ll be here taking notes. Do share! And stay safe, my friends.
I’m blowing you a kiss from Sonoma!