I honestly thought I would refrain from writing yet another personalistic blog post about “life at the time of Covid-19”. Then Kelli Lamb asked me to write a post for her personal blog, and since she’s the editor in chief of my favorite online interior magazine… I couldn’t tell her no. Then I realized I was posting on Instagram about the life we’re leading at home, and it quickly escalated from there.
This blog post doesn’t provide a unique and fool-proof way to come out of lockdown with a sound mind, fit and recharged, nor it lists ten steps (I’m too busy surviving to come up with anything truly SEO-friendly).
On the other hand this is a list of things you could do in order to survive.
It starts from here.
‘Survival’ is the key.
This is a time when our wellbeing is under attack:
- physically, because we’re just at the beginning of a global pandemic that will last until 70% of the population will be immunized by vaccination, which realistically won’t happen for another 18 months;
- economically, the sudden global economic downturn has already affected the world, and the situation will stay bad for a while;
- psychologically, the uncertainty of our future, fear for our own well-being and the safety of our loved ones, a long period of social distancing are our travel pal, and they will stick with us for months.
In a nutshell: hand me the vodka bottle.
Within this context there is not point in setting lofty goals to achieve, because regardless of the commitment and effort we’ll put into it, life will probably keep on giving us the finger.
So, personally, I lowered my expectations to the bare minimum: surviging, breathing, eating, sleeping, etc. Incidentally this means I feel like a goddess whenever I accomplish anything!
Just to be clear, I’m not advocating for idleness (although there’s nothing wrong with it), I’m rather proposing that we should be very very generous with ourselves, and be even more mindful of expectations. Both ours, and other people’s ones.
The same goes for work. If your clients or your employers expect you to do the impossible at this time… defend yourself the best you can).
If you are self-employed, try to focus your little energy and resources on keeping it alive. It might mean pivoting your business, but mostly it’s about cutting operations to the bone in order to be sure you can perform them at your personal best. This way you ensure you leave a good memory to your customers… or certainly better then those businesses that decided to build whole e-commerce from scratch during a pandemic then they can’t keep up with logistics.
Routines save your life.
They’re not glamorous, they are seldom fun, they require time to catch. But they truly save your life.
Again, this works for both people and businesses.
Routines trick people into a false sense of security and control. If you’re doing the same things day in and day out, you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen today, which eliminates the paralizing uncertainty regarding your immediate future. Even if we don’t know for sure when this pandemic will be over, we can control what time we’ll wake up tomorrow, what we’ll eat for breakfast, what we will wear, and so on.
The more simple, natural for you to do, and pleasant a routine is, the easier you’ll get used to it. And yet conquering a routine provides an accessible success that will make you feel like you’re actually in control of your life.
For business, routines are about enforcing good systems (from order management to sanitizing procedures and safety measures) while reducing costs and the opportunity for mistakes.
Socialize less but socialize better
Humanity doesn’t perform that pleasantly under pressure, regardless of how many flashmobs and donations are publically arranged. Since social networks are a stage for humanity it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they aren’t very nice places to frequent at this time.
Personally, I find harder to deal with those channels that rely on words, because they welcome opinions. I find that reading them doesn’t help me cope with what’s going on, and it provokes extreme reactions in me.
The types of post that would lead me straight to alcohol poisoning (if I hadn’t stopped going into Twitter and Facebook) are the following ones:
- complaints by teachers about what is expected of them;
- obnoxious commentary on any Government pronouncement, and on any opinion about it. Nothing is ever good enough, even if nobody has any idea what good enough would look like;
- posts by people who aren’t parents, mocking parents because they’re going crazy at home with their kids (apparently it’s because we raised brats, not because any kid would go nuts if she went without socializing or outdoor time for months);
- pretentious posts (but I couldn’t stand them before either);
- posts exposing anybody violating social distancing. Get a life;
- every “it’s going to be alright” post. First of all, not everything is going to be alright, and spreading this false optimism is going to giving people an alibi not to be proactive. The way I see it, things will go according to what we do, not according to a predetermined happy ending;
- every post calling phase 2, a “new beginning” or “freedom”, etc.
By all means, if writing and reading these posts is helping you feel better, don’t make me stop you. You do you. But be aware of any signal from your psyche, because you don’t want to snap at a loved one you’re living with just because of something a stranger wrote.
Also, now it’s the time to find yourself, somebody, you like to have in your life, even just as a friend, and to spend more time talking with them about things you’re both passionate about.
It’s great to do good, but try not to harm yourself.
Let’s just say it’s not super-smart to extinguish your funds to support the businesses you love if that leaves you without money to pay the bills.
The same goes for emotional resources. They’re not unlimited so try to ration them, rather than extinguishing them on endless phone calls with people who’re in need of psychological support. You won’t realize it at first but they might drain you.
Once the communal feeling ‘we are all in this together’ fades, it’s time to take stock of the material and immaterial resources you have and need to navigate this crisis, then pace yourself as you spend them.
It’s not being selfish, it’s surviving.