It was bound to happen. Ever since the mysterious virus known as Covid-19 began to make news at the end of 2019, work/life balance – always a precarious knife edge on which to exist – has been reinvented and re-examined for so many of us. (Hopefully, the examination will continue as we have learned a few things in the last year-plus.) Sociologists and their academic cousins will examine 2020 for a number of years, I’m sure, but I think we can all agree that living through “unprecedented times” was not a whirligig of fun. Oh, sure, working from home in your jammies sounds like fun (and it was, for about a week), but then things just got – weird.
For me, the most difficult thing about life during the pandemic has been trying to figure out how to navigate these new channels without buoys or running lights. None of us have known what we were doing (“unprecedented times,” remember?), but we all have been trying our best to keep home fires burning, work moving forward, and family members feeling secure.
Quite frankly, it’s been exhausting.
Without a definite dividing line between home and work, my tendencies toward perfectionism and my “beagle attitude” (“Like me! Like me! Do you like me? How about if I chase my tail? Do you like me?” Ugh) have made a difficult situation worse in terms of me working too hard for too long and not articulating when I needed a break.
We all need a break.
There are many ways to do this before you need to consult an attorney regarding a plea bargain. Maybe you need to sneak off for an afternoon. Maybe you need to say “no” to the next four things you’re asked to do, regardless of what they are. Maybe you need to make a “to do” list (or my preferred alternative – a “to done” list).
I know I’ve been ignoring my own advice and experience lately. I find myself having an extremely short temper (ugly character trait there), being unable to find solutions to minor problems (that comes from being on “high alert” for a slap-solid year), and having a less-than-stellar attitude (see previous parenthetical remark).
The pandemic is still out there, but my household is vaccinated, as are many of my friends. I hope to go see my parents (who are also vaccinated) for the first time since August in the next few weeks. This completely Bizarro-Land school year comes to a close in the next month and I plan to spend the summer reading, thinking, and doing massive amounts of playing. But I can’t wait that long to do a few things to get (sanely) through the next month.
We all need time to heal.
When you can’t take care of others because you have nothing left to give – well, that’s is the time to treat yourself like a plant – just like a daffodil, you need water and sunlight. Your emotions are just more complicated.
Walk. Pet a cat. Ride your bike. Paint a picture. Put on Motown and sing into a hairbrush. Listen to a guided meditation. Eat some fruit. Light a candle. Knead bread. Eat cupcakes for lunch. Listen to Cole Porter, if that’s your jam.
Whatever you do – heal, Divas.
So we can heal the world.