Remote, Day Nineteen - To Do

To say that our lives have been disrupted in the last few months is an understatement. Many of the illusions of safety and security have been stripped away and we are left with a general unease and outright anxiety about where things are going. Our usual patterns of life have been impacted and some of us have felt that more than others. Even so, we’re all in this very historical maelstrom together and the way forward is the same for every one of us - focus on what you can control.

Do what you can to maintain your good habits. If you had routines that helped you before, try to stick with them. And if you didn’t, now would be a good time to establish some. Whether you are an employee that has found themselves working remotely for the first time, or someone who is recently unemployed and unable to look for work - take control of what is in your circle of influence. Ask, what can you do for others and what can you do for yourself. Build structure into your life so that the chaos outside doesn’t seem so traumatizing. Our patterns matter. They are what our days and our lives are built of.

Get up at the same time every day. Do some exercise. Especially if you are feeling more stressed than usual. There is no better way to reduce cortisol than physical activity. Meditate, if only for a few minutes. Even if you’ve never done it before, the benefit to investment ratio is worth it. Continue to get ready and dressed as you normally would. Whether you are working from home or simply staying home, you’ll feel better about the day. Keep things clean. It’s the slow, small breakdowns of personal order that contribute to negativity and depression - and we can’t afford that right now.

Build time into your day for making and learning. Pick up a new hobby or try your hand at an old one. Draw. Watch some tutorials about something you’ve always wanted to try and then try it. There is a wealth of free material online to learn about everything from video editing to flower arranging to calligraphy to coding. Listen to a podcast or read a book about a topic that sounds fun or interesting. Practice the things that bring you a sense of flow. Try to make and share something. Work on that personal project you’ve been wanting to start.

Get outside if you can. You have to keep your distance from people, but it’s still Spring and there are still beautiful days out there. Do some yard work or plant some flowers. Go for a walk. Be present and try to find small moments of gratitude. Write down three things every day that make you smile. Journal about the good and the bad. Writing things down helps us to hold on and let go at the same time.

I get that everyone can’t do all of this. Maybe you have small kids at home. Maybe you’re on the frontlines of this and too busy. Even so, try to do what you can. And to be clear, I’m not advocating for some program of super-regimented, 112% grind on personal growth (unless that’s your jam). But if there was ever a time that we needed to feel that we have agency and ownership over our lives, it is now. We are what we practice, and if we practice anxiety and worry then we’ll be anxious and worried. If we endeavor to grow through the challenge and struggle, then we’ll find ourselves in a better place when this is done.