Today marked the beginning of week 4 of working from home/social distancing/quarantine/lockdown for me. In the interest of staying positive–and finding a theme that a) starts with f, and b) isn’t an obscenity–I will devote this post to a few of my favorite things about this surreal time. So here it is:
Janet’s Top 6 Favorite Things About #QuarantineLife
- Calm. You’d think that with a deadly virus lurking just beyond my driveway, I’d be freaking out. You would be wrong. Even though I’m working full time from home and am busy most of the rest of the time with writing, cooking, and washing dishes (note: I do miss takeout. I think I spend half my free time doing something kitchen-related), I’m way more relaxed than I was when I was working in the office. I’m sleeping better, too.
- Time. I have an extra hour a day that I would normally spend driving to and from work. I also have break times throughout the day. At work, my breaks consist of surfing the internet, reading Ask A Manager, and avoiding anything good for me like exercise or writing. At home, I spend my breaks exercising, doing household chores, preparing food, or reading–activities that give me more free time at the end of my workday or are intrinsically rewarding.
- Solitude. Pre-quarantine, I was almost never alone. I might get two or three hours alone on weekend mornings before husband and son (a/k/a the night owls) got up. About half the time, I’d be so exhausted that I’d get up late and maybe–maybe–get an hour or two to myself. Now I have the house to myself for almost half my workday. For a natural introvert like me, that is a blessing.
- Simplicity. #QuarantineLife may not be exciting, but it is so much simpler than normal life. Decisions are constrained and therefore easy to make (see The Paradox of Choice and any article about decision fatigue). I can do whatever I want–as long as it doesn’t involve going anywhere where there are other people. I can eat whatever I want–as long as I have the ingredients on hand. I can wear whatever I want–which for me, ironically, means an easier choice, because I’ll always choose yoga pants and a t-shirt. I’m not going anywhere, so they don’t even have to be color-coordinated. Shoes are, of course, optional.
- Sanctuary: The world beyond my driveway may be spinning out of control, but here in my little cocoon of happiness, I can decide what I hear, read, and watch. I’m spending my time with the people I love most (even though they’re obnoxious and occasionally smelly), in the place I love most (home). The outside world is just that–outside.
- Introspection–or maybe head space. Slower pace and fewer choices = mental space to think, to process, to consider what matters most in my life and how to get more of it when this craziness is over. I also find myself wondering what about our culture and lifestyles will be forever altered by this pandemic. I don’t have answers, but thinking about it is fascinating.
So how about you, dear reader? Are you finding anything good in this long, strange trip?